How to Find Out When Hard-to-Find Items Will Be Back in Stock

Here's how you can figure out when Lysol, toilet paper and other products are back in stock.

You thought you had enough toilet paper to last a long time…until you checked in the bathroom and discovered you only have one small roll left. Unfortunately, in most grocery stores across the country toilet paper is sold out. So, what do you do? Thankfully, you can set alerts to figure out when these hard-to-find items will be back in stock.

These are the 10 best grocery shopping apps.

Why set up an alert?

If you’re trying to avoid visiting the supermarket or grocery store in person, then ordering groceries and essential products online is a great alternative. However, when products are out of stock, you can’t wait around forever wondering when it will be back in stock again. Thankfully, you can set up an alert that will notify you when a product is back in stock and will be available to be purchased. When you’re looking for products, check out these online grocers that are fully stocked.

How to set up an alert

There are a few different ways to set up alerts depending on the retailer. For example, if you go to Walmart’s website to purchase an item that’s out of stock, you’ll see the “Out of Stock” notification. However, for some products, right next to the “Out of Stock” notification is a blue button that reads “Get In-Stock Alert.” Once you click that alert, you can then submit your e-mail address and Walmart will e-mail you if and when the product is available to purchase. If you have some time on your hands, you can learn what Walmart stands for.

If you’re trying to buy a cleaning product on Amazon but notice it’s no longer in stock, you should see an “Alert Me” box. If this service is available for that particular product, you can click “Sign up,” and Amazon will alert you via e-mail to let you know the product is available. However, Amazon notes that “signing up to be notified does not reserve a copy of this item for you. When you receive the e-mail informing you that the item is available, you’ll need to return to to place your order.”

With Target, you’re able to set up notifications or use an app. “When an item is out of stock, we may offer the option to receive notifications when it’s back in stock,” according to Target’s website. “If this is available for an item, the product details page will display a ‘notify me when it’s back’ button. If you’re using the Target app, it will be a ‘notify me’ button.” Additional information can be found on its website, but Target also notes that “opting in to receive notifications doesn’t reserve or guarantee item availability, so you may want to act fast in the event the item goes out of stock again.” When making your list of things to buy, make sure you know that these are the 12 things to buy at Target.

Unfortunately, many stores including Costco, CVS and Home Depot don’t provide in-stock alerts. Also, make sure you’re not overstocking on essentials. Some retailers, like Costco, are no longer accepting returns.

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Originally Published on Reader's Digest