To a certifiable bargain hunter, the terms “coupons,” “discounts,” and “rain checks” will spell euphoria, happiness, and will most likely also add a serious gleam to his eyes.
After all, these three connotations mean greater savings, bigger bargains, and more money left in your wallet after you are done with your shopping spree. So, what is the big deal?
Coupons are easy to get. Open your Sunday newspaper and take out the inserts, and the odds are pretty good that you will find a valuable cornucopia of coupons for anything from electronics to groceries.
Coupons need to be carefully scrutinized. Just like a gourmet hunk of cheese, they do have an expiration date.
Additionally, some spell out certain conditions that need to be met before the coupon value kicks in.
For example, some coupons specify that two like items need to be purchased, while others require the purchase of the item for the coupon is printed in addition to another item that is specified on the coupon.
This is very common in the grocery business where you may receive a coupon for $1 off a gallon of milk, which you will receive only if you also purchase a certain type of cereal.
Sometimes coupon deals may not be as great as they sound, especially if they are enticing you to purchase products you were not really planning on buying in the first place.
On the other hand, dedicated coupon aficionados will be quick to tell you that if you are extremely organized with your coupons, you will be able to reap great rewards, such as many dollars off at the cash register.
Of course, you do not need to wait for the Sunday newspaper to get your coupons. Many times retailers will have coupon pages in the front of the store, online, or send them to you via mail. Always check a retailer or manufacturer’s websites for additional savings!
Discounts are specials advertised by the individual retailers. Usually they are advertised in print media or on the television, sometimes also the radio.
These discounts are oftentimes a great opportunity to purchase a high-ticket item that you had on your wish list for a while, but did not want to pay list price for. Yet discounts are a bit of a double-edged sword.
The reason being is the fact that sometimes an item is not necessarily marked down a lot, and a store’s discounted price might still be higher than a similar item’s price at another store.
Before getting out your wallet to partake of a discount sale, do your homework and check the competition, especially if you are dealing with a high-ticket item.
Rain checks are the bane of existence for consumers. You might have read the ad for a great deal at your local store, obediently showed up on the first day of the sale, and then disappointedly started at an empty shelf.
It is true that sometimes a retailer simply does not anticipate how popular a sale will be, and therefore will not order enough merchandise to accommodate everyone. Retailers try to protect themselves against angry customers by stating in their ads “while supplies will last.”
Other times, you will not see this notation – usually in a grocery store ad – and this is where you will have a last chance to shine as the bargain hunter you really are invoke the rain check.
First and foremost you will need to get a sales clerk to help you hunt down the item, sometimes a sale item is stocked in two or three places at the same time, and just because you are looking at an empty shelf does not mean that there are not more in an end display somewhere else.
If the store really is sold ask, for a rain check, which simply means that when the next shipment of the item comes in, you will be able to purchase it at the sales price, even if the sale has long since expired.
Other times you will be able to ask for a comparable item to be sold to you at the sales price. Since this is more of a management decision, you might want to ask the floor supervisor for help on this one.