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Tax-free weekend: Nightmare or dream come true?
by Sarah Taylor
Aug 19, 2010 | 974 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tensions can run high during the sales tax holiday. Don’t let a shopping catastrophe happen to you. Shown are, from left, Victoria Trevino, Victor Hinojosa and Joshua Lee.
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It’s that time of year again. The annual statewide sales tax holiday, more commonly known as tax-free weekend, will take place this weekend, Aug. 20-22.

Tax-free weekend can be a great way to save when stocking up on school supplies and clothing items for the new year and helps those of us who are out of school and childless save a little as well. But too often, the holiday turns into a stress-ridden nightmare of long lines and frenzied customers.

Here are a few tips to keep tax-free weekend as it was meant to be:

Get there early

Managers at both Wal-Mart and Beall’s in Beeville emphasized this most when asked what advice they would give shoppers.

“I would tell people to be here before lunch,” said Rudy Fuentes, assistant manager at Wal-Mart. “[Shoppers] will be less stressed out, there will be shorter lines, less people, and it’ll be easier to find stuff.”

Beall’s has been running a tax-free special since Aug. 11 but expects to be busier over the upcoming weekend. The store will be opening two hours early Friday and Saturday in order to help customers take this advice. The store usually opens at 10 a.m. but will open its doors at 8 a.m. both days.

Stay calm

There may be certain items on your shopping list that you have saved for this event and feel it is imperative that you find them during the tax holiday. But one of the best things you can do to have a pleasant shopping experience is to be patient with the stores and take your time.

“We want to take care of the customers,” Luisa Pfahler, Beall’s assistant store manager, said.

Fuentes said one of his concerns is safety. Frenzied customers can easily trip over hangers and other clothing items on the ground.

“The employees will be watching out for that, and for stray carts in the parking lot,” Fuentes said.

Appreciate the extra safety measures, but it’s still important for your own safety to pick up after yourself and refrain from rushing.

Both Pfahler and Fuentes said that their stores have stocked extra merchandise to accommodate for the holiday. So, if you can’t find what you’re looking for, calmly ask a sales associate if the item may be in a different area or stored in a back room.

Remember, amid all the commotion, sales associates may be stressed out too. If you are friendly toward them, they will probably that much more eager to help you.

Both stores also said they will have larger than normal staffs working over the weekend.

Know what’s on the list

Just because you think of something as a clothing item or school supply doesn’t mean it falls under the tax exemption.

For example, bedding and other items for college dormitories are not on the list. Neither are certain sports clothing items such as football pants and helmets. See a complete list of tax-free items online at mySouTex.com.

Additionally, Fuentes said Wal-Mart expects its hard-hit areas to be underwear, socks, T-shirts and jeans, so if you’re looking for those items, plan accordingly. He also mentioned the store may run low on kinder mats.

Pfahler said Beall’s will have several sales and coupons available for customers as well.

Tax-free weekend can yield a successful haul of much-needed merchandise if a shopper approaches the stores with an effective strategy and a positive attitude.

Sarah Taylor is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 122, or sarah@mysoutex.com.
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