Parents, you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers.

Or just as likely, we’ve got questions and you’ve got answers.

Challenge: Parents On The Go: What's Your Strategy?

How In-Store Pickup Saves You Time and Money

Vote up!
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Email this article


Few activities exhaust me as much as shopping withmy kids. When my youngest learned to walk, such excursions reached an all time level of craziness that hasn't really subsided since. The expression "kids in a candy store," certainly applies; when stores display toys in their aisles, my frustration level hits an all-time high. You know the drill, a fifteen-minute trip turns into an hour plus, ending with me blindly grabbing things from shelves, carrying my children out of the store kicking and screaming. OK, most of the screaming probably comes from me.

"Never again" I remind myself at the end of each and every trip. "Never again."

With birthday parties scheduled weekly from now until pretty much eternity, I try to shop exclusively at Amazon and for all my gift purchases. I read reviews, try to make smart choices, and the quality of my gifts has improved since the early days. Yet, inevitably life gets away from me and I realize in a panic on a Friday that we have two parties on Saturday and no online retailer can deliver on time.

If I could just figure out what I wanted before arriving at the store, I could manage everything. But, wait? What's this tab on the website? "In-store pick-up." Genius! The new scenario: with kids in tow, I calmly walk to customer service, show them my email verification of the order, shove a snack in my kids' hands, and exit the store. Whaatttt? Game changer.

In-store pickup is online shopping without the delivery. Obviously, not all retailers offer this service, yet more and more do so every day. Personally, I have picked up purchases at Nordstrom, Macy's, Staples, Toys R Us, Home Depot, Dick's Sporting Goods, Sears, Target, and Kohl's.

In-Store Pickup saves you time and money. What you need to know:

  1. Store policies vary. Most retailers alert you within an hour or two that your item is ready to pick up, usually at the customer service desk. Check availability before ordering.
  2. Search online by checking the in-store pickup tab. Although, you may have somewhat fewer choices, the big retailers still offer more than enough items to make it worth your while.
  3. Use online promo codes. Disclaimer: I am not a paper couponer. If it's not on my iPhone or has an expiration of never (Bed Bath and Beyond), chances are I won't have one. Or, I will, but would have forgotten it at home. Online shopping makes using coupons so easy.
  4. Use Ebates (more on this in a later blog post) or other rewards programs to find coupons and get additional savings, up to 6 percent for the stores I mentioned.
  5. Stores generally have lower online prices for the exact same product at their brick-and-mortar stores!

I should mention that I still believe in shopping locally as much as possible to support the mom-and-pops of our community. Unfortunately, more and more of these businesses close their doors daily, and in some areas, you simply can't find that cute toy store anymore.

What are your experiences with in-store pickup? Do you wish more stores offered this option?

This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.