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If you’ve spent any time looking for common household items like cleaning wipes, hand sanitizer, and toilet paper since the coronavirus outbreak, you know it’s been a frustrating experience. These items are seemingly sold out everywhere online.
As Reviewed’s resident Shopping Editor, I have spent the past (*looks at calendar*) five weeks hunting down sold-out products from household essentials to yeast for baking to Nintendo Switches, so that you, dear reader, can find the things you need and have them shipped to your door in a timely manner. Although we try to update these stories multiple times a day, hot products (think: hand sanitizer) can sell out shortly after we publish, making for a frustrating experience on both ends.
Every day, we sift through a number of retailers to find essential products that are back in stock. Some retailers have been great for this, while others not so much. Drugstores such as CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid are more likely to have items in the store compared to online, and at CVS specifically, something may look like it’s in stock, but when you go to check out, it will no longer be available.
Below are the stores we’ve had the most luck with when it comes to finding products for the masses, but there are other retailers that are good to check as well. If you have a Costco or BJs membership, you may find products (in bulk!) there, and if you’re only looking for a thermometer, you may have luck with the online FSA Store.
To help you find these essentials when everything seems to be sold out, I’m including exactly how we sift through each retailer to spot them. Often times, you can find fraudulent or price-hiked products, so it’s especially important to be hyperaware before you click “add to cart.”
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The office supply store, Staples, has become a hidden gem for finding household essentials. They sell a ton of bulk household items that can be a bit expensive up front but will pay off in the long run. Plus, you won’t have to worry about getting toilet paper for a long time—or you can share some with a neighbor! I have found Staples to be especially helpful for finding hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and disinfectant wipes and spray when they are typically sold out at other big box retailers.
When it comes to finding these products, I start by putting the product into the search bar (ex: hand sanitizer) and see what they have available. A ton of products will be shown with the words “Out of Stock” in bold, yellow letters, but don’t let that discourage you. If you check every page of products, you can typically find one or two options from either top brands or a few more unknown ones, like Boardwalk and Perk.
2. Office Depot
Office Depot is another office supply store that has been great for finding a variety of household essentials. Like Staples, a lot of the options will be for bulk products, but I’ve found Office Depot to be particularly great at having brand names like Charmin and Bounty in stock, as well as hand sanitizer (though some options may be in-store pickup only).
When you search for a particular product, you’ll find that a lot of the options will say “Out of Stock.” But with a little tenacity and by looking through every page of products, you’ll be able to find a few items in stock.
Walmart is one of the more reliable big box stores for finding toilet paper, thermometers, and dish soap. However, searching for these products can be a bit tricky. When you search for a product like toilet paper, Walmart will give you options that are either free delivery, in-store purchase only, or out of stock (which will be greyed out). But there’s also a ton of third-party sellers on the site that can be pretty misleading.
Many of these products are overpriced and sometimes fraudulent with reviewer claims of never receiving the product. You can tell that a product is from a third-party seller when it says “Sold & shipped by” below the price. Always check the reviews for these products, but I would avoid these items if you can.
I haven’t been as lucky when it comes to finding household essentials at Target, but on occasion, you can find some available items like hand sanitizer, hand soap, and tissues. Target’s search is easier to navigate compared to other sites, as you can filter by items that are available for shipping or in-store pickup, so you won’t have to deal with sifting though products that are only available to buy in store. The items available for shipping or in-store pickup vary depending on where you live, so keep that in mind while shopping.
5. Home Depot
This home improvement store was once my go-to for finding toilet paper, though it’s stock has now dwindled. But it’s still a great retailer to check for tissues, disposable gloves, and dish soap. Home Depot’s search is pretty easy to navigate, too, as it brings all the in-stock items directly to the front of the page and you can easily tell you can get something shipped with a green checkmark and the words “free delivery.”
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I’m going to be honest: Amazon is the last place I’ll look for any household essentials. Since it’s a popular stop for shipping items fast, most of Amazon’s inventory is sold out. Plus, the site is filled with third-party sellers offering questionable or fake versions of these essential items (I’ve spotted a few hand sanitizers misspelled as “sanitiser”). While you can read the few reviews for these items, they are iffy at best, so if you’re feeling hesitant, be sure to trust your gut and skip it.
Amazon is still one to check, though, as every so often you can find a household essential from a reliable brand like Lysol or Charmin. Just be sure to add it to your cart and order immediately—or else it will sell out.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/reviewedcom/2020/04/16/best-stores-buy-toilet-paper-cleaning-wipes-and-more-during-coronavirus-pandemic/5145120002/
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