For quite a while, weâ€™ve been given sweets for coins at supermarkets and not because we have 5-year olds as daughters, sons or nieces but because there is a coin deficit in the country. The deficit has been attributed to people hoarding coins for one reason or another. Other people have even suggested that the coin deficit is a creation of supermarkets who prefer to give you sweets, you didn’t exactly want, as change.
Other than the National Coin Week, there have been a number of initiatives by the central bank in partnership with merchants to get the hoarded coins back into circulation. The Coin Week was a good idea, but then that is not enough to recover the millions in 1-shilling denominations that are in piggy banks and purses.
So, Tuskys have adopted this idea of a voucher. No, the first time I saw those exchange points, I was dazed. It looks like a fueling station inside a supermarket. It is also being used by Uchumi at the moment. The brilliance though is in the fact that if they have no coins, all one needs to do is produce a card that once swiped assures you of the coins in plastic form.
I only wish they had a standardised card that can be used in all supermarkets as well as purchase points for retailers be it at a chemist, mtu wa makaa or better yet, the bus. That way, youâ€™d be sure that the matatu conductor doesnâ€™t get mad at you for not having change in coins that it’s his job to have.