TikTok users worry one store's policy will cause the economy to 'crash': 'You have to stop'

Kelsey Weekman
·4-min read
TikTok users worry one store's policy will cause the economy to 'crash': 'You have to stop'

If you’ve ever been to the department store Kohl’s, you know about Kohl’s Cash. It’s everywhere. That’s kind of its thing.

TikTok users have recently become obsessed with the concept because of the way it seemingly multiplies without limit.

Take it from user @notlikethecar, who casually asked while eating a bowl of noodles, “If inflation is real, explain Kohl’s Cash.”

In an even more chaotic fashion, TikTok user @fishie.fish shared a similar sentiment.

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“They can’t keep printing Kohl’s Cash. They hand that s*** out like candy. The economy is gonna crash,” she said, panicked.

So, what is Kohl’s Cash?

According to the Kohl’s website, it’s a currency you can accumulate during any “earn period” based on how much money you spend at Kohl’s in stores or online. You earn $10 in Kohl’s Cash for every $50 you spend, and, of course, you can only use it at Kohl’s.

If you’re shopping in person, you’ll receive a physical “coupon.” If you’re shopping online, it’s an email.

A YouTube video from the official Kohl’s account states that Kohl’s Cash is “always there to help you get a little more out of life.”

It can only be used during the redemption dates for the promotion on which it was earned, so it’s useless once it has expired. The dreadful feeling of missing your Kohl’s Cash expiration date has inspired at least one TikToker’s Halloween costume.

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Is Kohl’s Cash affected by inflation?

It is not legal tender, so no — although not much is known about how much money is lost or earned annually because of these promotions. It’s been around since at least 2013, so it can’t be that bad for business.

Rest easy, TikTok — Kohl’s Cash is not going to crash the economy. The economy can do that on its own. It’s a decent joke, though, subjectively speaking.

How did TikTok become so obsessed with Kohl’s Cash?

The first TikTok under the #kohlscash hashtag, which was shared in May 2019, explores what an essential currency it is for broke college students.

In the summer of 2020, a number of TikTokers created fake retail accounts to pretend to be brands like Kohl’s as a part of Alt TikTok.

Months later, the store’s official TikTok acknowledged the popularity of Kohl’s Cash and now calls it “our fave currency” in its bio.

“Kohl’s Cash is going to crash the economy you have to stop with the Kohl’s Cashhhhhhhhh,” one user wrote in the comments of a video.

The posts are now presumably seeing a resurgence alongside holiday shopping season, as tons of shoppers hope to redeem their earlier investments.

The #kohlscash hashtag has more than 4 million views under its belt, but many of the posts only have a few hundred views. It’s a small but mighty corner of the internet.

At the moment, the most popular posts are ones that often go viral for other brands — alleged retail “secrets” from the company’s employees.

In one such video, a former employee and TikTok user Heather Hemmert claims that if you go to a store and forget your physical copy of your Kohl’s Cash, a cashier may scan theirs for you, further cementing the idea that this currency is limitless.

She also claimed that you can still use it 10 days after it expires, which contradicts the store’s policy on the website. Still, commenters backed her up.

“Shopping at Kohl’s is like buying a used car. No one pays the same price for the same item,” one user wrote.

“I don’t understand Kohl’s math,” another said.

Kohl’s Cash may just have to remain one of the great economic mysteries of our time.

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