Dec 23, 2012 10:56 PM by Eric Ross
COLORADO SPRINGS- As many of you headed out to grab those last minute gifts, you may have noticed a lot of top selling merchandise advertised was out of stock.
Despite Sunday's paper offering big discounts, many were frustrated and upset when they arrived to find store shelves empty.
Holly Orlik thought her trip to K-Mart Sunday morning would be quick and easy. After all, she picked out exactly what she wanted to buy online before heading to the store.
"They had some toys that they (the website) said were available at the store," she said.
But when Orlik arrived at a Colorado Springs K-Mart, she said the items she wanted were nowhere on store shelves.
"I talked with an employee in the toy area," she said. "She said she's never heard of it (the toy) and that she stocks this area and had never seen it."
Katie Carrol with the Better Business Bureau says some merchandise shown to be in-stock in stores doesn't necessarily mean that item is in every store.
Web sites often don't update in real time either, meaning the product could have been sold hours before you arrived.
It's even harder to gauge a store's inventory with high dollar electronics like laptops and televisions.
A laptop in the front page of a Staples advertisement listed a Samsung laptop on sale at $279.99 through Dec. 25.
However, none of the three stores in Colorado Springs had the item in stock at 9:30 a.m. Sunday morning.
Staples opens its doors at 10 a.m. on Sundays according to their web site.
"It's deceptive advertising," Orlik said. "There's something wrong there."
However, the BBB caught something most consumers wouldn't realize.
"In the small print, it says ‘availability not guaranteed,'" Carrol said.
Of course, sale prices and deep discounts naturally attract our attention, causing us to miss fine print and company policies.
"It's always important to read the fine print," Carrol said.
Most "fine print" will contain key words such as "no rain checks" or "limited quantities."
Should you find yourself in a position where the item you want is out-of-stock, the BBB says you should ask the store about honoring the sale price when new inventory arrives.
You can also inquire about ship-to-store availability. This will allow you to order an item online and have it shipped to your closest retail store.
With Christmas two days away, it's too late for shipping. However, if you find that a store is out of a particular product you would like to have before Tuesday, ask the store associate or manager to do a district wide search for the product you would like to purchase.
Stores often have systems that allow them to check merchandise availability at nearby stores.
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