Extreme Couponing Tip: Substitute Out of Stock Items

Ever get to a product shelf to find it empty? If the item is something you need in the near future and you won’t be able to return soon, try asking the manager if you can substitute a similar item for the one out of stock instead of a getting a rain check. Try to be sensitive and logical; ask if a store brand can be substituted if one is available. Explain to the manager if you live a long distance away or you can only shop every once in a while, and remember to be polite. If the answer is no, rain checks usually have a 30-90 day date. Always shop with your coupon binder in case you need to get another brand and don’t want to pay full price and a generic not available.

Some stores may be a step ahead and offer a substitution up front, usually noted by a sign where the out of stock item was. Commonly it will state that the demand was greater than the supply, but customers may purchase another brand (usually the generic or store label) for the same price until more stock arrives. Other stores may have a tear pad with rain check requests for the specific item that’s out of stock.

Leave a Reply

24 thoughts on “Extreme Couponing Tip: Substitute Out of Stock Items”

  1. This really works!! I went to CVS and they were out of the correct sale priced item of Oil of Olay face wash so I got a similar priced item for the sale price instead.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I have tried it and gotten a substitute brand ,but they wouldn’t let me use the mfg coupon I had

  3. Earl Rogelio says:

    This is a good strategy.  I was actually given a brand name detergent when the brand on sale ran out.  The store manager approached me and asked if I would take the other brand instead.  I agreed and thanked him, because the substitution was worth more than the original product.  Sometimes you get lucky, and it always pays off to be polite, and to shop the same stores consistently.  The manager recognized me and knew he had already given me a rain check before, so he offered this substitution.  Thanks!

  4. Anonymous says:

    I would have never thought of this, but one of my favorite cashiers actually suggested it to me. I had a CVS coupon for an item that my store did not carry. He allowed me to use that coupon on a smaller item, since it was their own coupon. I got the small item free! It was awesome!!

  5. My CVS is really great at substitutions. They usually put them right by the counter to make it easier.

  6. Ty says:

    When I go to the store and they are out of a certain product, I always get a rain check.  The stores around me give rain checks that never expire!  I could use the rain check that week or 5 months later.  So it’s always a win win for me.  

  7. Anonymous says:

    This suggestion really works!
    One time, Pizzaz went to CVS and they were out of the case of water that was on sale.  Pizzaz began to panic.  Would Pizzaz have to drive to another CVS?  Would Pizzaz have to return to the same CVS?  What if Pizzaz got thirsty?  What would Pizzaz do?
    Well, Pizzaz asked the cashier if they were substituting a different brand and the cashier looked at Pizzaz like Pizzaz was asking her to explain Quantum Physics.  Once again, Pizzaz was faced with a dilemma.  Would Pizzaz give up?  Should Pizzaz just leave without water?  Not Pizzaz!  Pizzaz asked for the manager and knows that some managers like to feel important and to have their egos stroked.  Pizzaz explained that someone in ‘authority’ has the ‘power’ to substitute one brand of water for another and only he could wave his royal scepter to make it happen.  Did Pizzaz convince the manager?  Would Pizzaz obtain thirst-quenching water?  Pizzaz is happy to report that Pizzaz received a superior brand of water at the same price as the inferior one.  Pizzaz left with several cases of AQUAFINA!!!  Woo Hoo for Pizzaz!!!