I didn't know what a rain check meant until a few years ago. I occasionally saw "sorry, no rain checks" in sales ads, but it wasn't until a trip to Michael's that I finally learned what it was. I had bought a Cricket (you know, one of those paper cutting machines for scrapbooking and cardmaking). I bought my Cricket from an infomercial, and it came with two cartridges. Soon after, Michael's had Cricket cartridges on sale for under $30 (a steal compared to regular price of $89.99!). I was determined to buy a cartrige, but the kind I wanted was out of stock. I happened to mention this to the cashier, and she offered to give me a rain check.
Sounds great...What's a rain check?
And she proceeded to explain that it's like a coupon. I get a little slip of paper that says I can buy that item at a later time for the sale price because it was out of stock when I tried to purchase it.
But I've been very bad about utilizing rain checks ever since until recently. It never occurred to me that I could use a rain check at a grocery or discount store, until I saw little rain check tear-off pads at Target in the grocery section. And then I read an article in the December '09 All You about a reader who uses rain checks.
And that's when I decided that I would do the same thing!
So this past Saturday, I did some stockpiling. Target had canned goods at rock bottom prices, like the Del Monte vegetables I bought. They also had Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup on sale for $0.49/each. I was really excited about the sale on the soup because I had two coupons that I intended to use, too. But I was really disappointed because there were only two cans left, and both cans were VERY badly dented.
There wasn't a rain check tear-off pad for the cream of mushroom soup, so I took a dented can with me to check out. I showed it to the cashier and asked for a rain check. She offered to give me 10% off. Uh, no way (not for as bad off as that can was!). And that's when I learned that Customer Service offered the rain checks. The cashiers can't do it at the register at Target.
So after paying for my purchases (not including the beat-up soup), I took the soup to Customer Service and got my first Target rain check! Both of my coupons will save me $1/4 cans, so I got the rain check for 8 cans of cream of mushroom soup. So assuming Target replenishes their cream of mushroom supply by 1/1/2010 (the expiration date on the coupons), I will end up paying $0.24 per can!
One final note: if you get a rain check, look out for an expiration date. I don't remember Michael's having an expiration date on that Cricket cartridge rain check, but the rain check from Target is good through 1/6/2010.