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Mistakes Everyone Makes When Shopping At Crate & Barrel

House Digest 10/6/2022 Ellen Kershner
sleek modern living room © Sheila Say/Shutterstock sleek modern living room

Crate & Barrel recently celebrated its 60th anniversary, and loyal customers have been drawn to the iconic brand's simple and stylish home furnishings for decades. PR Newswire reports that this international chain has a reputation for design-forward trends and quality customer service -- as of 2022, Crate & Barrel operates 89 retail stores plus eight outlets in the U.S. You can almost always find ways to save money when shopping at any of them, especially if you are familiar with their savings program and where to look for the best deals.

The company's credit card rewards program is one of the best-known savings opportunities. Crate & Barrel also offers zero interest if you pay off your balance within specified periods, with no annual fees to pay. It also has in-store and online holiday sales and clearance sections, free shipping on select items, and a price match guarantee. It is a mistake not to take advantage of these offers (and others like free interior design services) when you shop at Crate & Barrel. Here are some of the best ways to keep your wallet happy when shopping at this furniture and home goods chain.

Forgetting To Apply For A Crate & Barrel Credit Card

Credit card closeup © Rido/Shutterstock Credit card closeup

Most large retailers offer discounts to consumers who use their store credit cards, and Crate & Barrel is no exception. You can apply for a store card or Mastercard at one of its brick-and-mortar stores or online, and the process only takes a few minutes. According to its website, for every $200 spent at Crate & Barrel, CB2, and Crate & Kids, cardholders receive 10% back in reward dollars that can be used on future purchases. Or you can also use the card to get six-month special financing when you spend $749 or more at these stores.

You cannot get the 10% back in reward dollars when financing items, but you will not be charged interest if a purchase of $749 or more is paid off within six months. The company also waives interest charges for 12 to 24 months for purchases/orders from $1,499 to $2,999 and up. Those are good incentives, as the APR for the Crate & Barrel credit card and Crate & Barrel Mastercard were 29.24% as of August 1, 2022. Credit.com reports that the average furniture store credit card is close to 30%, so Crate & Barrel falls in line with that percentage.

Crate & Barrel's Mastercard has a few more perks and could be a better choice because it can be used in other places and has more features. Use it to get 2% back in Reward Dollars at grocery stores, and 1% back everywhere else you swipe it. This Mastercard also provides ID theft protection, airport concierge, and global services. Once approved for either card, create an online account or use the Crate & Barrel App to manage it and check your rewards. Cardmembers also get special perks, like invitations to exclusive sales and events.

Being Afraid Of Speaking Up

Couple and salesperson in store © VGstockstudio & antoniodiaz/Shutterstock Couple and salesperson in store

It is common for shoppers to have sticker price shock when looking at furniture prices, but haggling over prices is hard at some furniture chain stores. Crate & Barrel has a price match guarantee, so speaking up can be beneficial. The match has to be an identical item, and you will need to provide proof of the lower price. Angi suggests a bit of planning ahead of time. First, decide what you are looking for, and then do some comparison price shopping before heading out to the store. Educated consumers generally make wiser purchasing decisions and avoid spur-of-the-moment shopping mistakes by doing some research first.

You can also try searching for a lower price on your phone if you are already at the store, and do not worry about being discreet. Salespeople expect shoppers to be savvy these days! Ask for a price match if you discover a more affordable price, and see what the response is. Should the salesperson be unwilling to do this, ask for a manager. Remember that you will probably not be offered a lower price than a competitor's, though.

Missing Out On Those Double Rewards Dollars

Floating dollar bills © New Africa/Shutterstock Floating dollar bills

Harvard Business Review explains that stores like Crate & Barrel have rewards programs to build customer loyalty, so buyers and sellers can make out well in the long run. It is one of the main reasons customers apply for store credit cards, but it is important to understand how the system works and how to get the most out of the program. The Double Rewards Dollars lets customers earn twice the rewards on certain store goods, which can add up nicely for later purchases. For example, if a Crate & Barrel chair typically comes with $20 in Rewards Dollars, it might be marked up to $40 when it is doubled.

To benefit from this system when shopping in the store, snoop around for "Double the Rewards Dollars" offers beneath price tags. You can also look for these deals on the website -- both let you earn more rewards to get higher discounts on future purchases. Milled shows that Crate & Barrel sometimes has special sale events when all purchases earn double rewards, so keep an eye out for these announcements as well.

Not Taking Advantage Of Holiday Sales

Holiday place setting red plate © New Africa/Shutterstock Holiday place setting red plate

Crate & Barrel puts together some popular sales before and after major holidays like Christmas and Labor Day. Visit the website frequently in September and October to see what it has planned for the coming months to prepare for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa, and in January for post-holiday steals. According to HPD Architecture + Interiors, the first month of the year is always a good time to redecorate, and you can save a lot of money on things like towels, sheets, and other home linens. You can also stock up on wrapping paper, tree ornaments, and more.

In the springtime, search for bargains on items that make nice wedding gifts, as stores like Crate & Barrel have deals on kitchen essentials and cookware like pots and pans. May and June are great for barbecue and picnic supply bargains, July is usually optimal for low prices on indoor furniture, and the end of summer and early fall is the time to snag low prices on outdoor furniture. Consumers who understand how these patterns play out will follow and make the most of these sales. It is also smart to ask for gift cards or cash for your holidays and birthdays, then use them when the prices have dropped.

Missing The Store's Clearance Section

Sale signs in department store © Gorloff-KV/Shutterstock Sale signs in department store

This is often located on the second floor, but discounted items may also be throughout the store. After making your first pass, double back to ensure you did not miss anything! You might find off-season items to stock up on or to use for gifts. However, you might not find complete sets of things like place settings, utensils, or towels, so you may want to avoid these unless you don't mind mixing and matching.

Be sure to carefully check clearance items for damage and defects, since they might be discounted for these very reasons. There is always a sale tab on Crate & Barrel's website, too, with significant discounts in most every category of goods it sells. New items are added often, so check regularly and read the return policy. Many clearance items are marked "final sale," so you will not be able to return them even if you have a receipt.

Forgetting About Crate & Barrel Outlets

Hands holding shopping bags © Pencil case/Shutterstock Hands holding shopping bags

That Outlet Girl posts that furniture and home goods outlets sell items that have been returned, are overstocked, floor models, off-season products, and discontinued designs. Other reasons could be that the merchandise is slightly damaged, has manufacturing defects, or are just made-for-outlets. Crate & Barrel has them in 10 different states, including California, New York, and Virginia. If you are close enough to drive to one, it might make sense to bring a truck if you are shopping for furniture.

The Crate & Barrel Outlet webpage lists all of these on the left, and you can click each link to see where the different stores are located. It shows the complete addresses, store hours, and upcoming events. If you click on the "View Details" button on the right, you will also see a photo of the outlet. Some also have online ordering capability, so you might be able to order your outlet items online. You might be able to return Crate & Barrel Outlet purchases at regular Crate & Barrel stores, but always inquire about this ahead of time.

Always Paying For Shipping

Coin going into truck © Jakub Krechowicz/Shutterstock Coin going into truck

This store does not provide free shipping for minimum purchases, so if you spend a certain amount, you will not automatically have that fee deducted. If you go to its website's sale tab though, you will see that it ships certain items at no cost. All of its bedding ships for free, including sheets, duvet covers, quilts, and bed throws. Also, click on the sale tab and investigate its "all free shipping" link on the left side of the webpage. These items are then broken down into groupings like kitchen, serve ware, outdoor furniture, and more.

If you need to order from the website but do not want to pay for shipping for an item that does not qualify for a free ride, you can have your order shipped to your local Crate & Barrel store. You can then drive over to pick it up. This is helpful because you can save yourself a trip. Order it online and head to the store with the knowledge you'll be coming out with a purchase. If it is out of stock, you may have to wait a few days, weeks, or even longer.

Planning For DIY Designing

Family talking to salesperson © antoniodiaz & VGstockstudio/Shutterstock Family talking to salesperson

Home décor can be challenging for those who lack the talent for it, and Crate & Barrel's free design services can make the most of your space and save you time, effort, and money in the long run. You can ask to speak with one of their design associates, but you might have to wait a while for a turn if you do not call ahead to book an appointment. Online and in-store tools also offer 2D and 3D room views, mood boards, and swatches. Crate & Barrel also has an online design chat service if you want to explore your options from home.

The good thing about using a store's design pro is that they will be familiar with the products. You will need to do your own measurements and other tasks before ordering. Be sure to snap a few photos to bring in or take some pillows or other things you need to match if you plan to meet with an in-store designer

Not Making The Right Connections

Floating dollar bills © Fizkes/Shutterstock Floating dollar bills

You can nab additional deals if you sign up for Crate & Barrel emails and texts and connect with the brand on social media. If you sign up for its text messages, it will give you a one-time 10% off anything in the store discount. This is good for one calendar year and for full-price items only. There is a long list of exclusions, like previous purchases, children's books, and certain brands like Anolon, Mielee, and Swissmar. The store may also offer this discount with new email sign-ups, but check the website to make sure.

When you sign up for texts or emails, the store will send you messages that you may or may not want. Many people get the discount and then stop the messaging. Be aware that doing this means the store will not be texting or emailing you any special deals, though. Its Twitter feed sometimes has special promotions and coupons, too.

Failing To Sign Up Or Shop On Crate & Barrel's Wedding Registry

Newlyweds on couch in store © Antoniodiaz/Shutterstock Newlyweds on couch in store

Wedding registries include items that brides and grooms choose for guests to purchase, and these can be set up on Crate & Barrel. Your guests will get free shipping when they spend at least $99, and the gifts can be sent to them or your chosen address. Many items on registries are high-end with corresponding prices, but do not be afraid to add them to your list. Guests often pitch in to buy larger items, while others look for less expensive items like dishtowels or pillowcases. Choose a well-rounded selection of gifts with different price points, and link it to a wedding registry site like The Knot or Zola.

It is best to set up an account on the website well in advance and ensure all the items are in stock. Wedding Forward explains that the registry list is automatically updated once things are purchased. Couples who set up registries through Crate & Barrel also get 15% off purchases made for six months following the blessed event. This is helpful if you still need things your guests did not purchase.

Not Shopping Crate & Barrel's Sister Brands

Baby's room with furniture © Nesolenaya Alexandra/Shutterstock Baby's room with furniture

You can earn more rewards on your Crate & Barrel credit card by shopping at its sister brands, CB2 and Crate & Kids. CB2's inventory is more modern and budget-friendly, while Crate & Kids is for the (much) younger set. Like the brand's other websites, CB2 may have a pop-up with an offer for a percentage off for subscribing to its emails, but be sure to read the terms for the deal as there may be exclusions.

Like the Crate & Barrel website, CB2 has a special deals tab and free shipping on many items. Its inventory categories are also similar, with indoor and outdoor furniture, lighting, décor, and kitchen and bag items. Crate & Kids also accepts the credit card and sells furniture, accessories, bedding, and bath items. This site also has gear like backpacks and toys. Its gifts tab lets shoppers search by age, from newborn up to age seven. You can also shop by price and check its clearance section.

Being Clueless About Crate & Barrel's Return Policy

Confused looking couple on tablet © Antonio Guillem/Shutterstock Confused looking couple on tablet

Retailers have their own return policies, and some can have stricter guidelines than others. According to Lightspeed, these policies should be clear and easy to understand. The most important information in these specifies the number of days allowed to return the product and the kind of refund that will be received. Customers should also know what proof of purchase they need to provide (paper or online receipt) and the condition that the product must be in. Return policies should also inform customers about how and where to return their purchases, and if there are exclusions like certain brands and final sale items.

Crate & Barrel's return policy is more limited for rugs and furniture, and custom items cannot be returned or exchanged. If the issue is with the item's quality, they should be able to help you arrive at an acceptable solution. Final sale items cannot be repaired, exchanged, or returned, and plants cannot be exchanged or returned, either.

You have 90 days to return non-furniture items with a receipt, but you need to call 800.606.6462 for furniture return inquiries. When purchasing furniture or having it delivered, save yourself the headache by looking it over very carefully before bringing it into your home. If the furniture is damaged or defective, you can refuse delivery and contact the store. Also, remember to read the store's return policy carefully before making your purchases.

Read this next: Mistakes Everyone Makes When Shopping At Home Depot

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