You my friend are a gentlemen and a scholar. From this point on I shall hound more targets until I have my come uppance.
As I previously mentioned, I would strongly recommend composing a list of the clearance items you are interested in with their DPCI numbers (such as the list I put together a couple of pages back). I keep a list on a note on my iPhone which has a shorthand name of each known Target clearance set, its DPCI, and the lowest price I have found it for as well as the store location with that lowest price.
At the bottom of my list, I keep a list of what each store has in stock in terms of Lego that is either on clearance or full price as well as the quantity. I.e. LA store = Mines of Moria x3, Helm's Deep x2, Forest PD x4, Jabba x1 etc.
Once you have a list, you should be able to search on Target's website for the names of the sets/DPCIs, and select the "Find in Store". The store inventory display will pop up and list each store address and phone number along with whether or not the item is in stock.
If any stores list them as "Out of Stock" or "Limited Availability", it *may* be on clearance in that store(s)'s system. I would try calling those stores and getting a price check on the DPCI(s). Press 0 for the store operator and ask for Customer Service, NOT the toy department, then request a price check on your DPCI(s). Of course, it's all YMMV - always is when it comes to Target clearance. This will save you time and gas and allow you to formulate a plan in terms of which stores to visit and in what order.
If a store lists "Not Sold At This Store", you know not to bother there because the item won't be in the system there (and will come up as "ITEM NOT FOUND" on the in store price checkers). And of course, if it comes up as "In Stock", then you know where to get it.
I don't even bother to use the "change payment type" trick anymore, I just straightforward tell the CSR person that I bought it at another store and want to return it because it's showing that it's cheaper at this store. Almost always, they let me return and rebuy it despite it being on clearance.
For example, Helm's Deep is $119.99, $129.99, and even $139.99 at other stores. It's $34.48 and $40.56 at two other stores. So I told the employee at Customer Service that it's cheaper at her store, so I want to return it and buy it here. They might tell me to go check the shelves for it and that they can't resell it to me, but usually they do anyway, or do so after I check the shelf, come back and tell them it's not on the shelf and kindly request with my sad face/puppy dog eyes if I can buy the one I just returned. Like Colt 45, it works (almost) every time. Results may vary, though. Good luck.
Edited by karkyco, 23 January 2013 - 06:44 PM.