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How to pre-order merchandise

Pre Order Merchandise Couponing

As a couponer, there may be times when you know about a sale in advance – a sale that would get you a product for FREE (or better) with a coupon that you have – and you have a ton of coupons to use.

How do you “buy” a bunch of those items, without clearing the shelves?

Shelf clearing is bad coupon etiquette and something I strongly advise that you avoid – but I know how tempting it can be to pick up every single free item you can, so this is how to do it in a way that everyone wins.

How to pre-order merchandise

When you find a really hot deal, when matched with a coupon will get you a free item, the first thing you want to do is check your coupon stash. How many coupons do you have to use? How many do you need to use?

If you have 3, 5, or even 10 coupons, you probably don’t need to pre-order any merchandise.

However, if you have 20, 30, 50 or more coupons, calling ahead may be a good idea.

Call the store

Note: I have been able to pre-order merchandise from both Walmart and No Frills. I’m sure other stores will allow it, but I haven’t tried.

Ask to speak to the store manager (not an assistant). Let them know exactly how many items you need, and make sure that they know you will be using coupons to pay for your purchases. Keep in mind that items may not come in in time for the great sale price, so ask if the manager will still honour that price when the items come in.

Some stores may require you leave a deposit for your order, so you will have to pre-order your merchandise in store, and not over the phone.

Pick up your order right away
As soon as your order comes in, go and get it right away. The longer you wait, the more likely it is that the manager will just have the items put out for sale in the store.

It’s also likely that they will not allow you to pre-order merchandise again.

Not all stores are alike
The main thing to keep in mind is that some stores will not allow you to pre-order merchandise, for any reason. In fact, most stores don’t allow it.

But – some do, and if you’re lucky enough to find one of those stores that does allow it, you can save some serious cash!

Just because a Walmart in Toronto allowed someone to pre-order merchandise, doesn’t mean a store in Ottawa will allow the same thing. It’s all up to the store manager at each store. So call around and see if you’re lucky enough to have a store that allows this practice.

Don’t be a hoarder
If it turns out that you are able to pre-order merchandise at a store near you, that’s great! However, don’t use this as an opportunity to hoard free merchandise in your home.

Only order what your family can use before expiry (unless you plan to donate the excess).

If you pre-order merchandise, don’t go and take items from the shelves, too. Remember to also leave deals for other people. It’s the right thing to do!

Have you ever pre-ordered merchandise? If not, would you consider it?


  1. Jenn G

    Not that I disagree with donating… (I do it myself when I accidentally buy more of something than I can use) but when people preorder huge amounts to donate or for any reason, it often affects couponing in a negative way in the long run. When people redeem excessive numbers of a coupon a manufacturer will typically catch on that we are getting that item free with a sale price and will reduce the dollar value the next time around.

    It is the families who are not receiving donations but who are low income and couponing to make ends meet that are affected most by this, and it is a particularly sensitive topic for the couponers in my city.
    There was one person pre-ordered so excessively at all of the local Overwaitea stores a few months back (to donate) that strict restrictions were implemented. Why anyone would have the sheer volume of coupons required to do that is beyond me… but that’s a whole other topic.

    I guess my point is that even if people are being generous and donating, I hope that they will keep in mind that no matter how good the intention, any excessive ordering can affect all couponers, many whom are not much better off than the people being donated to.

  2. EKNG

    I never see coupons that offer free stuff and allow you to get more than one at the same time. Where do you find these coupons? I have only see this on TV in the states. Anyhow I am happy and very grateful for the freebies I get every now and then.

  3. Cheryl

    If you are using coupons which make the items free (or a money-maker), how would you put a deposit down?

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