Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Kohl's Primer

Kohl's is my new favorite store. Their items tend to be good quality, and with careful shopping, you can get GREAT deals. I've gotten shoes for the boys for $3 a pair, children's clothes for $2-$3 an outfit, clothes for me for $4 or less each piece, men's polos for $6 each, bath towels for less than $3 each, king sized bed sheets for $10 a set--all those prices with shipping included!! It is not unusual to find items on kohls site for 80%-90% off, and then get another 15%-30% off of THOSE prices, with free shipping! Plus, they regularly do something called 'kohl's cash', when you get a $10 in store coupon for each $50 you spend. To get the best deals, though, you need to know a few things about kohls.

1. Get a Kohls credit card. Go to their site and apply. If you are approved, you will get your card number and limit immediately, and can begin shopping right away. Their card, like most store cards, has an outrageous interest rate. But Kohls has cardholder only coupons, both online and in store, almost constantly, including the all important free shipping on any order coupons. If you worry about your ability to pay off your kohls balance in full each month, then get the card, register it to your online account, and then buy a gift card. You can use the gift card to pay for your purchases, and as long as the credit card is chosen as your payment method, you can use the cardholder only coupons. Kohls will use the balance from any gift cards you enter before charging your credit card.

2. Check out sites or forums devoted entirely to kohls deals. I've recently discovered http://www.kohlsbargains.com/ . They post a daily list of items listed by percentage off. I also like the Kohls thread on slickdeals. These sites have done all the deal finding work for you, you just have to choose which ones to buy and purchase them before they go out of stock.

3. There are almost always discount codes for kohls.com. Both of the sites I referred to earlier post all known ones on their front page. You can use one percentage-off coupon and one free shipping coupon per order (in other words, you can't use a 15% off and a 20% off on the same order, even if it's different codes).

4. Kohls return policy is one of the best I've ever seen--If you bought it from kohls or kohls.com, you can return it to a kohls brick and mortar, period, with no time limits--there are reports of people returning items a year or even two years after purchase! If you have the receipt, they will give you your return credit in whatever way you paid--crediting your kohls card, a different credit card, cash, etc. If you used Kohls Cash, any amount you used will be creditted to a kohls merchandise return card (pretty much a gift card). If you EARNED kohls cash with the purchase, you keep your kohls cash, and the items are returned just as I've already described. If you do NOT have your receipt, then you show a photo ID and they'll give you a merchandise return card for whatever amount the item is currently ringing up. If you do not have your receipt but you paid with your kohls card, they can actually look up the amount you paid and credit your account for you (this may be limited to three months, not sure).

5. Kohls customer service is incredible. When some items I ordered arrived broken, I contacted them and they creditted my account. When a little girl's dress I ordered that was listed as a 'set' and showed a picture of matching bloomers arrived sans-bloomers, they credited my account for the entire purchase price and told me to keep the dress. When the computer choked last Black Friday (the big sale day the day after Thanksgiving) and cancelled my order, I reordered the items I wanted and customer service adjusted the total to the Black Friday sales prices. I have only heard of a handful of people who have had bad experiences with Kohls customer service, and hundreds who have had great experiences.

6. Kohls sites/thread vocabulary and frequently used abbreviations:

Email coupons Usually refers to $5 off any purchase coupons via email
When you sign up for kohls' email newsletter, HERE, they will send you a $5 off any in store purchase coupon via email. These can be used on any items, including clearance, and can be combined with kohls cash, % off coupons, etc. They take a week or two to arrive in your email box, and are usually valid for about a month. They are one time use coupons (you can't print out an extra--they are uniquely coded to work just once) and you can only receive one to an email address, ever. Many kohlies spend a few minutes each week creating a free email account and signing it up for kohls' newsletter so they always have a valid coupon available.

Kohls Cash Coupons issued by Kohls off a future purchase
Kohls Cash events usually last around 10 days. Generally (these are current guidelines) you get one $10 coupon off of a future purchase for every $50 you spend, after discounts and before taxes. The coupons are only valid on IN STORE purchases (though there have been reports of customers contacting customer support when they couldn't get to the store within the time frame and getting the Kohls Cash credited directly to their kohls account) and are usually valid for 10 days to 2 weeks, starting the day after the period when kohls cash can be earned (for example, you last Kohls Cash earning period was August 19-August 24, and the coupons are valid to be spend August 24-September 7).

SCT Secret Cart Trick or Save Cart Trick
Add the item to your cart, save your cart, log out, log back in, the SCT price should now be listed. This frequently only works on certain colors or sizes, and rarely results in a HIGHER price--if that's the case, remove the item from your cart and then re-add it at the lower price just before checking out.

BIS or SIS Back In Stock, Still In Stock
Frequently, kohls items that are sold out will come back in stock in a limited supply. This will sometimes happen a couple of times a day or a few times a week, with only a small supply of items available each time. As with any kohls clearance item, if you want it, buy it quickly--if you wait, it will most likely be gone. If an item you really wanted is out of stock, save the link and check it frequently--odds are, the item will come back in stock eventually, even if only for a few minutes.

PRD Basically a Kohls Item number
There are two types of PRDs--regular & Catalog. You can either search by a known PRD, or go directly to a PRD this way:
kohls.com/kohlsStore/clearance/PRD~123456/.jsp? (regular PRD)
kohls.com/kohlsStore/clearance/PRD~c12345/.jsp? (catalog PRD)
If you know the PRD of an item you want, you can just fill it in to the above and go directly to it. If you are bored, you can also just surf PRDs--make up numbers and check them out. Some have even written programs to do this for you. I'm not one of them :P

Kohlies Self Proclaimed Kohls addicts.
Refers specifically to posters on the slickdeals kohls thread, and generally to any kohls addict.

C4C Check for Change
This is an add-on for Mozilla firefox that automatically checks websites you choose for changes. Kohlies use it frequently to monitor items that have gone out of stock in hopes they will come back in stock.

Hidden Items that are not on the 'public' part of the site
These are usually items that are extremely limited in quantity, and for one reason or another kohls has pulled them from the main part of the site. So, if a pair of shoes is hidden, it will not show up when you go to the shoes section, will not show up when you go to the clearance shoes section, and frequently won't show up if you search for the item name in the search box. Sometimes, it will show up when you type the PRD into the search box, but not always. You must go directly to the item link, either by typing it in, getting it from your own bookmarks or favorites list, or following a link someone posted.

7. My best Kohls deal ever

My mom needed a new set of pots and pans. Kohls had a Rachel Ray set in Green for $159.99, with an SCT of $71.99. I ordered one, as well as a full-priced blue set, and received a total of $30 in kohls cash (15% discount + free shipping). When I decided not to keep the blue one (mom liked the green just fine), I returned it to store, and found out that the green was now ringing up for $35.99. I returned the green set & re-bought it for $35.99 - 15%. I got to keep my kohls cash. There was also a $30 Mail in Rebate. So I paid around $8 (after tax and rebate) AND got $30 in Kohls Cash!!!

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