Understanding Rain Checks
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Understanding Rain Checks

Posted on Friday, August 5th, 2011 at 6:12 am
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So, you see an amazing sale advertised. You get in your car and rush to the nearest store location only to find an empty shelf. You stand, face to face with the empty shelf, wondering what you should do. Do you pick up the regularly priced equivalent next to the gaping hole that was once a great sale? No. You get a rain check!

What is a Rain Check?

A rain check is a paper voucher issued to customers when a sale (not clearance) item is sold out. The rain check allows the customer to either A) buy the item at the same sale price when it is back in stock or B) get an item equivalent to the one that is sold out at the same sale price. The idea of the rain check is to discourage stores from offering sales on very limited quantities of an item as a means of drawing customers into the store. However, there are some cases in which you can not get a rain check. These cases are when the store clearly advertises that there are “limited quantities” or that the sale is only  “while supplies last.”

How Do You Use a Rain Check?

Typically, you can redeem your rain check at any time for up to a year (but it’s best to double-check if there is a different expiration date). Since a rain check is not the same as a coupon, you can combine it with coupons. Therefore, having a rain check gives you the upper hand because you can hold it until you find a coupon for the same item that was on sale. Then, when you combine your rain check and coupon you are getting the best of both worlds. Just let your cashier know when you are redeeming a rain check at the checkout.

Where Do You Get a Rain Check?

If you find the ever ominous empty shelf where a sale item is supposed to be, head to the nearest customer service representative or cashier for assistance. If the item is really out of stock, they should either offer you a rain check or a comparable item at the same price. While grocery stores are required to provide rain checks (unless otherwise stated in the advertisement), other stores that provide rain checks include (but are not limited to)  Walmart, Target, CVS, Rite Aid, and Walgreens. Using rain checks really is as easy as that!

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