rain check

noun
|Updated on: 18 May 2018

Definition of rain check

1 : a ticket stub good for a later performance when the scheduled one is rained out
2 : an assurance of a deferred extension of an offer; especially : a document assuring that a customer can take advantage of a sale later if the item or service offered is not available (as by being sold out)

Examples of rain check in a Sentence

  1. The store offered rain checks when the sale items had all sold.

Recent Examples of rain check from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'rain check.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of rain check

1884

in the meaning defined at sense 1

See Words from the same year
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Financial Definition of RAIN CHECK

rain check

What It Is

A rain check is a written promise from a seller to a buyer. It guarantees that a buyer can purchase a product for a certain price at a later date, usually because the item is out of stock.

How It Works

Let's say the chocolate chips are on sale for $2 a bag at Walgreens this week. John Doe goes to Walgreens for the deal and finds the shelves bare, thanks to some extreme couponers. He asks the store for a rain check, which issues him a slip of paper allowing him to buy up to five bags of chocolate chips for $2 each any time in the next two weeks. John waits a week and comes back for the chips.

Why It Matters

Rain checks keep customers from defecting to the competition. Some states require stores to make good on their advertised offers by providing rain checks, because when a store advertises an item on sale, it is expected to have that item in stock. If rain checks didn't exist, stores could run ads for cheap items and never have to honor the offers. (Unfortunately, this rule often doesn't apply to auto dealers.) In some cases, vendors must print the words "No Rain Checks" in their advertisements if the stock is truly limited, putting customers on notice.


RAIN CHECK Defined for English Language Learners

rain check

Definition of rain check for English Language Learners

  • : a ticket given to people so that they can go to another event (such as a baseball game) if the one they were watching or planning to go to is canceled or stopped because of rain

  • : a promise to allow someone to buy or do something in the future because it is not possible to buy or do it now


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