No one likes to plan out the perfect couponing scenario only to get to the store and find the shelves empty! Unfortunately, with couponing on the rise (especially “extreme couponing“), shelves are bound to be emptied.
There are a few things you can do when you come across empty shelves:
1. Get a rain check.
A rain check is simply a slip of paper that you can ask for that will allow you to come back at a later date and get the sale price. Wait a week or two (but not too long, some rain checks expire) and come back when the item is back in stock and you can still get the great price!
2. Shop early.
Try to shop as early as you can. If the sale starts on Sunday, don’t wait until Friday to shop. Try to shop the same day the sale starts if you can.
3. Visit another store.
In my area, there seems to be a CVS on every corner. If one store is out of stock, drive down the street and shop at the other store.
4. Call ahead.
If your store is quite a distance away, it might be wise to call your store and ask if they have the product in stock before you drive out there. They may even be willing to hold one for you until you get there.
5. Price match.
Many stores, like Walmart and Target, will price match any advertised sale price. If your Walgreens is out of the $1 cereal, take your ad across the street to Walmart and show them the ad to get the same price there – they will likely have plenty in stock.
6. Talk to the manager.
Occasionally the store will have more product in the back that they have not put out on the shelves yet. They may be able to produce a few products that you needed. It doesn’t hurt to ask.
7. Wait for them to restock.
Find out which day of the week your store restocks the shelves and come back then!
8. Teach your friends coupon etiquette (and follow the rules yourself).
Be sure to teach your friends how to coupon the right way. They’re likely shopping at your store anyway! Remember to follow the rules yourself. If you don’t like empty shelves, then don’t be a “shelf-clearer”.
9. Don’t make assumptions.
If you see someone buying a large quantity of items, do not automatically assume they’re a shelf-clearer. They might have a large family that truly goes through 10 boxes of cereal in a week.
10. Skip the sale.
More sales will come around. Really! If you’re just starting out, it is really hard to pass up a great sale, but know that there are always more deals to come. It’s okay to sit one out.
I hope these tips will help you deal with finding empty shelves! Be sure to read my “Coupon Etiquette” series to find out the unspoken rules of couponing!