What is a rain check?

neil on 30/05/2012 at 12:00 pm, filed under General

On a recent thread, a user wrote about how they were frustrated that they were not able to get a Telstra $30 sim card for $10 . He pondered whether he can just buy it now, await another sale, refund the original, and buy again for the sale price. Sure, I guess you can but there is no guarantee that it is going to go on sale again.  Why not just get a rain check? Much to my surprise, some weren’t aware of this very handy bargain tool.  I must admit up until a couple of years ago, I had no idea what it was either.

There are often times when the two major supermarket chains, Woolworths & Coles advertise specials so popular that the items end up selling out. Any supermarket specials heavily voted on by OzBargain are likely to be out of stock. So what can you do?

  1. Go to the service desk and ask for a rain check on the out of stock item.
  2. They should check to see if there is any stock in-store but this rarely happens in my experience.
  3. The service desk will check the price of the current item in the catalogue or by scanning the item.
  4. They will write you out a rain check, slightly bigger in size than a business card.  On this paper, it will usually state the date, advertised price, product name, and the maximum quantity you can claim.

You have 30 days to redeem the rain check and are free to do so in any branch of the store. To redeem, just buy your product as usual but when checking out give the rain check to the cashier.

A selection of popular stores that do rain checks:

Note: Some stores have exclusions to what items you can obtain with a  rain check.  In the thread mentioned above, they refused to give him a rain check as they said sim cards were exempt from rain checks.  It’s always worth asking regardless of policy.


What’s the origin of the word “raincheck”?

The original raincheck was American. It was a special ticket issued to spectators when a baseball game was cancelled on account of bad weather. This raincheck allowed people to come to another game at a later date. These rainchecks have been around since at least 1884 (see the Oxford English Dictionary). So a raincheck has nothing to do with the check that means “to examine or establish something”. (We would more usually spell this one cheque). The meaning has changed considerably — first, it broadened to include a ticket issued at any outdoor event and the later it meant simply that you could take up an offer at a time more convenient. For example, if someone invited you to dinner, but you were busy you might ask to take a raincheck.

Source: ABC TV


Image credit: Simple Living Sherrie


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