Have you ever asked for a rain check? Do you ask every time that you can? Well, you really, really should!
But first, some of you may be asking…..”What is a rain check?”
A rain check is a voucher that extends the sale price of an item for you, so that you can return to the store on a different day, even after the sale ends and get that same item for the previous sale price. What this means is that if your local grocery has ran out of an item that was on sale that week, you ask for this rain check and you can still get this same sale price in the future.
For example, let’s say that Cheerios are on sale for $2 this week. You go to the store only to find them out of stock – instead of leaving sad and disappointed – head to the checkout or the customer service and ask for a rain check! You can then return a couple of weeks from today and take your rain check into the store, find the Cheerios that were on sale for $2 but are now back up to $4 a box. But at checkout, you hand over your rain check and they will adjust the price back down to $2.
It is not just the grocery store though! Many other stores also offer rain checks for items they sold out of and you were not able to get from clothing, electronics and more!
Why should I ask for a rain check?
Sales, saving money, and using coupons are becoming an increasingly popular activity for many households. This means that there are many more people going after the same sale items from something small to even larger items. This also means that those items disappear off the shelves very quickly or even very early on in the sale. So for this reason, rain checks are becoming even more increasingly necessary too!
For us, we are a big family! Running to the store at the drop of a bucket to grab the latest hot deal is just not going to happen; it makes saving money way too stressful! Instead, we go when it is convenient for us and if they happen to be out, then we will get our rain checks so that we can still get the same deal later on!
Another important reason to ask for rain checks is so that the stores themselves know that they are not keeping up with demand in hopes that they will increase their stock of sale items. Honestly, the stores do not want to have to give out rain checks. It hurts their bottom line as they cannot get those same items for the same discount that they did for the bulk order cost that they got for the sale! But many stores do not realize the impact their low stock on consumers or not keeping up with demand has unless there is something to alert them – like issuing dozens of rain checks on the same item.
So the benefit is not just short-term gain, but potentially a long-term gain if the stores in your area are keeping better stock because of it!
The process of retrieving a rain check is very simple. The hardest part is remembering to ask for one! We make a note on our shopping list to help us remember when we are in the store. Or if you have coupons that you intended to use with that sale item, your left over coupons will give you the reminder!
Once you are at the checkout, just simply say, “You were out of this item, may I please get a rain check?” The cashier is usually the one that writes up your rain check (some stores like Target do it all electronically!). Then simply slip your rain check in your coupon binder/organizer with the coupons that go with it for you to use the next time you are in the store.
When they fill-out the rain check, they will ask you how many you want. We recommend asking for them to write down a larger quantity, at least the amount equal to the number of coupons you have – and maybe a couple of more. Some items already have a limit – so ask for the maximum quantity allowed for the sale to be written on your rain check. By doing this, you keep your options open. When you actually redeem your rain check, you are not required to by the exact amount listed on your rain check. So if you ask for 10 of something on your rain check, but then when you return, you decide you only want 5, then you can get just 5. But by asking for a larger quantity, you prevent the opposite from happening where you ask for 5, then when you return to the store, you really wished you could have gotten 10!
Do rain checks have expiration date?
This answer is going to vary greatly from store to store and area to area. In our area, most all of our stores do have an expiration date that is 2 weeks, 30 days and 90 days out. This means that we have to “redeem” our rain check before then. However, this is a fairly recent change in our area, as we used to not have any expiration dates and so today there are still many stores and areas nationwide where the rain checks have no expiration dates. Just learn the policies at your local stores (knowing that they too can change at any time!)
Can I Use Coupons with the Rain Check?
Absolutely! It is not any different than when you buy the item on sale and then use coupons! It is the same thing. The only exception would be if the store themselves had a policy against it – but we have never ran into that, but we cannot say for sure nationwide at every local store.
So the next question you could be asking yourself is “what if my coupon expires before the item is back in-stock for me to redeem my rain check?” This is a tough question and one that will happen on occasion. If your rain check has no expiration date, then just hang on to it as the coupons for that item will most likely come out again soon, so then you can redeem your rain check with the coupons.
If your rain check has an expiration date and you think that there is a very good likely hood that your coupons will expire or that other coupons will not come out before your rain check expires, then you can raise this concern with customer service manager. Honestly, they will probably not be able to do anything, but there have been a couple of times for us that there was an item we really wanted, it was gone and our coupons were expiring soon. We explained to the Customer Service Manager our dilemma and they allowed us to “pre-pay” so that we can use our coupons! We just kept our receipt (with special notations and signature by the manager) and then returned to the store when they were back in stock. We tell you this trick, but this is a very new and rare approach to couponing when an item is out of stock, but it is worth trying for an item you really want!
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