Of coin deficits and supermarkets

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Kenyan coins

 

For quite a while, we’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.

The key to change

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, you’d be sure that the matatu conductor doesn’t get mad at you for not having change in coins that it’s his job to have.

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