Sunday, January 20, 2013

Store Out Of Stock Problems and Solutions

Frugal Shopper Tip #5:
Want to buy an item but the store is out-of-stock? Ask for a substitution besides a raincheck.

A couple of our grocery stores offer points for purchases that give discount at the gas pump. One store, Martin's gives 10-cents a gallon discount for every $100 purchase. Also, every week, they offer higher discounts when purchasing select items.

Since we were running low on gas, I decided to do a couple of these gas deals at Martin's and get $0.40 off a gallon. One of the deals was buy 4 Puffs tissues and get $0.20 off a gallon. Being Saturday and the last day of the sale, the shelf was bare. Not one Puffs left, only Scotties tissues.

Usually, I just ask for a raincheck. But I remembered a friend who told me how she often asks for a substitution to use certain coupons. Rarely was she ever turned down. So I asked and they said yes. However, when the cashier rang them up, it was not the same price as the Puffs, $1.79 instead of $1.25 and she added that the product was not the same as on the shelf. (She went to the look at the products on the shelf herself.)

She was obviously tired of helping me and didn't want to be bothered. So I left, head down in disappointment. I still got the rain check. But I knew that I needed it that day so we could fuel up on gas.

My husband encouraged me and suggested speaking to the store manager. I really was hungry and wanted to go home and forget about the whole thing. Instead, I decided to check out the shelf myself and see if the cashier overlooked something.

Well, she was right that it was $1.79 a box. But intermingled with those boxes were the ones for $1.25 each. They looked exactly the same but one was 100 sheets and the other 70 count. Why would Scotties tissues do that to the consumer, I don't know why.

When I went back to customer service, they gave me $0.40 off, double what I expected. And I still have a raincheck for the Puffs deals. At the gas pump, we paid $2.55 a gallon.

So yes, next time I will remember to ask for a substitution when they are out of stock of the products I need for a deal. And to personally investigate when it doesn't work out. It seemed like a lot of extra work, but it really only took 5 minutes from start to finish. The final outcome, saving $10 at the pump, was well worth the effort!

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