RAINCHECK: A piece of paper given to a customer from a store that serves as a commitment to sell an out-of-stock item when it is restocked at the advertised price.
Rainchecks are given by all grocery and drug stores in the Pacific Northwest. This is what a raincheck from Albertsons looks like:
Some things to keep in mind regarding rainchecks:
Note the expiration date, which varies by store.
Stores will not give you a raincheck on a sale item marked “while supplies last.” They may also refuse to give you a raincheck on an item that is not advertised in their weekly ad, even if it’s tagged as on sale on the shelf.
Keep rainchecks in your coupon organization system. I have an envelope/section in my box for each store and I keep the rainchecks there.
You don’t have to buy the quantity listed on the raincheck, but you cannot buy more. For instance, if the quantity listed is 10, you can buy 9 (or less), but you can’t buy 11.
You can use manufacturer’s coupons with rainchecks.
The cashier should be able to give you a raincheck at the checkstand. Be sure to have the ad with you to make his/her job easier. It’s also a good idea to keep the ad or cut out the advertised portion and attach it to the raincheck in case there’s any questions or problems when you redeem it.
Be sure to tell your cashier BEFORE he/she starts the transaction that you have a raincheck. This comes straight from a Safeway cashier. If not, they may have to start the transaction over and they will not be happy.
You should be able to use a double coupon along with a manufacturer’s coupon and a raincheck.
You cannot get a raincheck on a Catalina promotion as stores consider Catalina promotions a “while supplies last” situation. You can, however, get a raincheck on a store sale item that triggers a Catalina. As long as you purchase the item(s) within the Catalina period, the Catalina will print.
Oftentimes, I get emails from readers who are super irritated that their store is cleaned out of a hot sale item. In most cases it’s actually reason to cheer! As an example, here’s how I scored six months worth of vegetables for FREE, all thanks to rainchecks:
A couple of years ago, Green Giant Vegetable Steamers hit the market. There was a $1/1 coupon released in addition to several fantastic store sales. Albertsons had the Steamers on sale for $1. Obviously, every couponer in Portland ran to their local Albertsons and stores were cleaned out within a couple of days.
On the last day of the sale, my husband and I both hit a couple of Albertsons, looking for the elusive Steamers. I had (4) $1/1 coupons in my hand. Because the stores were out and the sale was not a “while supplies last” sale, we asked for rainchecks. The cashier asked each of us what quantity we wanted listed on the raincheck. I could have said “4” since that’s how many coupons I had. Instead, I asked for “20” and my husband asked for “30.”
Since our rainchecks expired in 30 days, we just bought ourselves 30 days to get more coupons from friends and family. We spent the next 3 weeks stocking up on vegetables as a leisurely pace.
The moral of the story? Don’t get discouraged when your store is out of a hot sale item. It’s an opportunity to save even more with a raincheck (or several rainchecks!), especially if you have a lot of coupons. You get to fill your pantry (or freezer) and you’re not contributing to the frustrating “someone cleared the shelves” situation. Win-win for everyone!
Read more from The Ultimate Guide to Couponing in the Northwest here.
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