I knew that many bricks-and-mortar stores with online storefronts let you order online and then pick up your merchandise at your local store -- saving yourself the wait for mail delivery. Sounds good to me. But since I hadn't yet taken advantage of this option, I didn't realize that many such stores offer service guarantees -- until I read about them at consumerist.com.

Here are three examples the website noted:

  • At Sears (NASDAQ:SHLD): "If your item is not delivered within five minutes, you get a $5 gift card. No fine print."
  • At Best Buy (NYSE:BBY): "If your small item is not delivered within one minute, or your large item within five, you get a $10 credit." (You have to follow a particular procedure to get the credit, though.)
  • Circuit City (NYSE:CC) was deemed to have the worst guarantee of the bunch, offering $24 if you don't get your item within 24 minutes of your confirmation email. The problem was ambiguous wording. Still, it's worth trying for this, as $24 isn't chump change.

And here are some other opportunities:

  • You may be able to pick up book orders you place at Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) at your local Borders (NYSE:BGP).
  • Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) offers "site-to-store" service, which is translated into "free shipping." You'll have to wait a week or two for your stuff to arrive at the store, though.
  • Even luxury leather retailer Coach (NYSE:COH) offers in-store pickup for online orders.

Maximize your odds of collecting by bringing time-stamped confirmations and receipts with you, along with a photo I.D. and the credit card you used. The folks at consumerist.com suggest bringing a stopwatch, as well.

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Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian owns shares of Wal-Mart. Best Buy, Borders, Sears, and Wal-Mart are Motley Fool Inside Value recommendations. Amazon.com and Best Buy are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. Try any of our investing services free for 30 days. The Motley Fool is Fools writing for Fools.