According to its website, Staples is the largest office supply retailer in the world, as of May 2011. The retail chain has a presence in 23 countries on five continents with an average of over $23 billion in sales annually.

If you are looking for office supplies for work or your home office, Staples is one of many retailers you can buy from. There are a few different ways to find out if an item you are looking for is in stock both online and in person.

Checking for Items Online

Open your Internet browser and visit Staples’ website. Look at the list of departments on the left side of the screen and click on the name of the department the item you want to buy is in. Browse through the list of results until you find the item you want to buy and then click on it.

Look underneath the price of the item to see if the item is available for purchase online. If it is, you will see a box in which to adjust the quantity you want and a button that reads “Add to Cart.” To purchase the item, indicate the quantity you want and click “Add to Cart” to determine if you want the item shipped to your home or to your nearest Staples location.

Click on the “Check in Store Availability” link if you see it on the page. Enter your personal address or zip code as well as the radius of miles you want to search and click “Search.” You will then see which Staples locations nearest you, if any, have the item you want to buy in stock. If you don’t see the “Check in Store Availability” link on the item page that means you can only purchase the item online.

Checking for Items in Person

Visit your nearest Staples retail location. To find the nearest location, use the Staples Store Locator online.

Look in the appropriate department for the item you want to buy. If you do not see the item on the sales floor, ask an employee in that department to check the store’s inventory to see if there are more of the item in the store’s storage area.

Ask an employee at the store to search the inventory of other nearby Staples locations to see if another store has the item you are looking for. If so, have the employee give you the phone number, address and directions to the other store, if possible. Visit the other Staples location and purchase the item you want.