Monday, June 21, 2010

Rainchecks and Strategery...

I feel like getting a rain check is much like eating one potato chip. You can't stop with just one, and once you pop, you can't stop (thanks, Pringles). I just wanted to share the importance of getting rain checks when your store is out of a sale item and how you might use them strategically to save BIG.

It's not hard to get a rain check. If your store is out of a sale item, you simply go up to the customer service desk and let them know the EXACT kind of what they are out of (e.g., 12 oz thick cut harris teeter bacon), and they will give you a rain check for up to 3 of that item. The rain checks DO NOT expire. Ever. If the sale price is BOGO, they will give you a rain check for up to 3 "sets" of that item, meaning up to six items total. When you use the rain check later, you do not have to buy all 6 if you don't want, but you will have to do the BOGO thing, it won't ring up as half price if you just want one. Usually if I only get 2 instead of 3 items, they just keep the rain check, but once I had a lady give it back to me and mark "one left" on it. I'm not sure what the typical policy is on that though.

Now, save your rain check for one of two situations (or, occasionally, these two situations combine to create a "dream" rain check situation - hang on to your hats folks). First situation: you get a great coupon for that item that either is about to expire or can be used during doubles or triples. You can use your raincheck to get the item for the sale price, then use your doubled or tripled coupon on top of it. Second situation: mixing a BOGO with another type of sale. If you can add coupons to this situation, it can become a dream situation. Here's an example:

Months back, there was a BOGO sale on chuck roast. Great for stews and carnitas and they freeze really well. My store was out, so I got a rain check for up to 6 of them. A few weeks later, the same chuck roast was on sale for 50% off. So, imagine that the 2lb chuck roast was originally $10. During the 50% off sale, it was $5. Then, using my BOGO rain check I got them for $2.50 each. Now THAT is a great discount.

Here's a dream scenario from last week. MBA Smart Organic Ground Chicken. Normally sells for 5.99 per pound. It often goes on sale for BOGO, and once when it was on sale they ran out, so I got a rain check. Then, a couple weeks ago, it went on sale for 4.99 per pound. So, with the raincheck, they were about 2.50 per 1 pound package. But wait, there's more. Add $1 off printable coupons, which, they did take one coupon per package (this isn't always the case since one rings up as "free"). That brought it to $1.50 per pound. But wait, there's more! I got the ones that were expiring that day, which had $1.50 off coupons on the packages. Therefore, I got these packages of organic ground chicken for FREE! They were tasty in tacos, too.

One tip for using the rain checks - Make sure you tell the checkout person at the very beginning before they ring anything up that you have a raincheck (or checks) and what they are for. They have to do some different things at the check out to make sure you get the appropriate discounts. You can then wait until the end to provide your coupons.

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