Target Rain Checks - Using Them to Your Advantage
Most people know that when an item advertised for sale is out of stock you can usually ask a store for a rain check. Then, when the item is stocked again, even if the sale has gone off, you can buy it for the sale price noted on your rain check.
At Target it gets even better. Check out the following actual rain check from Target.
Do you see that wording at the bottom of the rain check?
Choose a substitute and get the same % off on a similar, regular-priced item (i.e. doll for doll, shirt for shirt). Some exclusions apply.
(Some rain checks do not have the "choose a substitute" wording on them which obviously means you can't substitute an item.)
So in this example, the item is a blanket - regularly $44.99 on sale for $36.99 (18% off). Since they don't have the blanket, a rain check is available and you can then choose a different blanket (perhaps the one you *really* wanted) and get it on sale!
There are a couple of ways to actually get a rain check. Many times if an item is out of stock a team member has already placed a tearpad of rain check slips on the shelf by the item's location. You simply tear one off and hand it to any cashier and let them know how many of the item you want the rain check for. The slip is already coded for the item. (Do NOT just take that tearpad slip home and think you have a rain check! You have to trade it in for the actual rain check.) This is obviously the most convenient method.
If a rain check slip is not available, you can write down the DPCI numbers and have an associate look up the information to print your rain check. There are 9 digits in the DPCI number in format of XXX-XX-XXXX. You can also enter this number into the self-serve scanners in Target and it will tell you if there are any more of the items in the stock room that haven't been put out. Guest Services keeps a book called "The Black and White" that is updated each week with the sales ad. It has a picture of each item on sale and the DPCI number next to it for quick look-up. However, if you want a specific size, color, or flavor of something, I suggest you get the actual DPCI number from the shelf for that particular item. Guest Services can't always look up that specific information. You will be able to substitute different sizes/colors/flavors, but having the specific one you want will make it easier on you. (Keep this in mind for diaper sizes, etc.)
How can you use this information to your advantage? Well, let's take my recent shopping trip as an example. I needed to buy a birthday gift for a little girl. She likes Dora and ponies. I happen to find a Dora toy WITH a pony and thought it was perfect. But it was a little pricey and not on sale. So I looked around the aisle and found another toy in a similar price range that WAS on sale and (oh darn!) was out of stock. I grabbed a rain check slip and headed to a cashier to get my raincheck. I then proceeded to hand the rain check back to the cashier with the toy I wanted and said "I'd like to substitute this item since you don't have any of these right now and I need this item for a party today." Voila! I just got 15% off of my purchase for an item that wasn't even on sale!
When the cashier scans the rain check, the cash register will automatically search for an item that it thinks is suitable for substitution. If you have many items in your cart, you may or may not agree with the item that it picks. You can of course discuss this with a cashier and they can manually apply the discount to another item. YMMV of course on how this will be handled.
Any items listed in the sales ad that specifically say "no rain checks" will obviously not be allowed a rain check. If you really want that specific item however, you can still have Guest Services look it up for you and tell you what other stores in your area may have some in stock. It's not always completely accurate as it takes a while for the system to update when something is sold.
Most stores will not allow rain check substitutes on anything in the electronics department (like TVs or Cameras), but it could vary per store. It doesn't hurt to try or ask. You can usually do it for electronic games, DVDs, videos, etc. This can be a huge savings opportunity for newer items that don't normally go on sale!
Rain checks are good for 45 days. Next time you are in Target and see a little tearpad of rain check slips - grab one and trade it in at the register. It won't hurt to hang on to it - you never know when you just might need a similar item. Someone may even want to trade you for it!
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©2008-2009 Joakim Nygård
Includes images from the Silk Icon set by Mark James