Couponing Etiquette Series: Scenario #4 Out of Stock merchandise

Scenario #4:

Out-of-Stock Merchandise

Samantha is new to couponing and she is just trying out the drugstores that everyone on her local blog keep raving about.  She takes note of the great deals for this week on some items that her family is really in need of and goes with her game plan in mind and coupon binder in hand.  The first item on her list is Tylenol.  She heads over to the medicine aisle and there is a large hole in the spot where the sale item should be.  A little annoyed Samantha moves on to her next item, body wash.  On the soap aisle she finds the same thing and again on the toothpaste aisle.  The store is completely out of everything she came in for.  Samantha asks a nearby sales associate if they have any extra stock of the products in the back.  He tells her that whatever they have is out on the sales floor for purchase and if they are out, they are out.  Frustrated and wondering why everyone brags about these stores so much, Samantha goes home, empty handed.

Man, have I been here before.  Getting excited about a deal only to find that the store is out-of-stock can be very frustrating.  Here are some tips to help you out if you are experiencing the same issues.


  • Check around the aisle where the sale item is kept.  Sometimes stores have sale items on the ends of the aisles to give them more exposure. 
  • Check behind and around the shelf that the item is on.  A few times I have found the item that I was looking for misplaced on a shelf below. 
  • I think there is a famous Far Side about a person asking a sales associate if they have anything in the back and they say, “No, we don’t carry anything in the back”. The next picture shows “The Back” with a whole pile of the item that the customer was looking for.  I worked retail for many years and know that it is impossible for any employee to know everything that they have in “the back”.  They should be able to do a check for you, or tell you when their next shipment will be available.
  • Try to do your shopping for “hot deals” early in the week.  I know that it can be a challenge to get all of your coupons clipped and your lists ready by Monday, but sometimes you are more likely to get what you are looking for.  “The early bird gets the worm” saying is true here.
  • Try to help your favorite stores be more prepared for large sales.  Make friends with sales associates at the stores you frequent.  Let them know that there are many couponers that come through their store and they might want to check the upcoming ads and order more of certain products that will be good deals.
  • Try other store locations.  We have the blessing in our area of having multiple drugstores close by our home.  If I can’t find something at one store then I will sometimes check at another one as well.

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