Although not being able to find a product in supermarkets is often an unavoidable occurrence, it can tarnish a retailer's image in the eyes of consumers.
SN asked shoppers how they handle the disappointment of out-of-stocks and how it shapes their opinion about the local grocery store.
John Policka, 54, building contractor, Norton Shores, Mich.
"If I don't find what I'm looking for at a store, I'll leave and go elsewhere and look at another store for the same thing. I'd eventually start going to another store if that happened a lot."
Mike Stafford, 23, contractor, Muskegon, Mich.
"I don't have a problem with out-of-stock items too often, but when I do, it's usually for things like pop that are on sale at a really good price. It gets a little frustrating when I go to a store just to get something on sale and they don't have it. It seems like a wasted trip and I usually just pass on buying it until it's on sale again."
Dody Booth, 53, retired, N. Muskegon, Mich.
"If I'm in a hurry, I'll get another brand, but if I have time, I'll go to another store to get the brand I want. If it's a good-enough sale or deal on something that's out of stock, I'll get a rain check. A lot of stores seem to run out of larger items a lot faster than others because they don't have as much space, but shoppers still expect to be able to buy it if it's advertised, regardless of the size. I've come to learn that if it's a bigger item, my chance of finding it in stock is pretty slim."
Ilene Thomas, 52, human resources manager, Detroit
"It depends on what I'm looking for. If it's something that I've just got to have, I'll go somewhere else or get another brand, but if it's something that I only like one brand of, like salad dressing, and they don't have Miracle Whip, I'll definitely go somewhere else."
Larry Walton, 37, attorney, Toledo, Ohio "I get rain checks if I can't find what I need, but I have to admit that I don't always remember to go back and use them. I just went to get a tent that was on sale at Meijer the other day and it was out of stock, so now I have to wait a few weeks until a new shipment comes in. I was hoping to do some camping this weekend, but that idea's out now."
Amy Rickettson, 26, child clothing store owner, N. Muskegon, Mich.
"I don't think most grocers stock their stores well enough when they're having a sale. What's the most frustrating is when I shop on a Sunday after the grocers' ads have just come out and they don't have the sale items stocked yet. I'd think they should have those sale items stocked and on shelves by Saturday night if a sale starts on a Sunday."
Angela Scott, 21, single mom, South Bend, Ind.
"If I couldn't find the brand of pop I wanted, I'd just [get a] different brand, but there are some items that I like more than others that I might end up going to another store to get if they were out of stock. I notice that the sale items are the ones I have a hard time trying to find, especially when they're big sales. I wish grocers would have extra products in the back of their stores when they have things on sale. Surely by now they know that things sell out."