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TIME2SAVE: What to do when an item is out of stock

by KASEY TRENUM Scripps Howard News Service, on June 11, 2013 11:00 AM

Question: I often arrive at the store for a specific sale item, only to find the shelf has been cleaned out. What should I do when a store runs out of stock?

Answer: With a little preparation and know-how, you can still snag some hot deals and avoid empty shelves.

First, ask the clerk what day their next truck will come to restock the shelves. Where I go, it comes on Thursday nights. This helps me plan my shopping trips and be more informed. Don’t be afraid to ask. Once you know this, ask the clerk what time you should actually come back. My store never has any of its trucks unloaded until the next morning, so I don’t bother running in to check anymore. I just show up first thing in the morning. This is important information to know and make a mental note of.

Next, ask a manager if they have ordered a lot of the item you’re after. If not, inform them that it is about to be a hot item. In most cases, they will be happy to bump the order up a little if they know that. Before the sale, use your time wisely. Use the extra days to plan and clip coupons.

Should you still miss an item even after all of this preparation, see if a rain check is available.

For superhot sales, rain checks are often not offered, but it never, ever, hurts to ask.

Should you still miss a deal, don’t fret. This happens and is all part of the saving-money game. Just remember that slow and steady wins the race. If you miss out on a fabulous deal, there’s bound to be another one just around the corner.

For more tips on saving money, go to Email

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