Con: Tax-free weekend is a bigger hassle than it's worth
Aug. 15, 2010 at 3:15 a.m.
Tax-free clothingClothing items and their exemption status include:Tax-free
Backpacks for use by elementary and secondary students
Belts with attached buckles
Boots - cowboy, hiking
Caps/hats - baseball, fishing, golf, knitted
Coats and wraps
Diapers - adult and baby
Gym suits and uniforms
Hooded shirts and hooded sweatshirts
Jerseys - baseball and football
Neckwear and ties
Pants and trousers
Raincoats and ponchos
Shoes - sandals, slippers, sneakers, tennis, walking
Suits, slacks, and jackets
Work clothes and uniforms
Accessories (generally) - barrettes, elastic ponytail holders, wallets, watches
Backpacks - unless for use by elementary and secondary students
Baseball cleats and pants
Belt buckles without belt
Boots - climbing, fishing, rubber work boots, ski, waders
Buttons and zippers
Cloth and lace, knitting yarns, and other fabrics
Dry cleaning services
Handbags and purses
Helmets - bike, baseball, football, hockey, motorcycle, sports
Leather goods - except belts with buckles and wearing apparel
Pads - football, hockey, soccer, elbow, knee, shoulder
Personal flotation devices
Rented clothing, including uniforms, formal wear and costumes
Roller blades and skates
Safety clothing, glasses
Shoes - bicycle (cleated), bowling, golf
Source: Texas state comptroller website
Between oversized crowds, rushes for last-minute items and other shopping issues, many people avoid shopping centers altogether during tax-free weekend.
Financial issues will keep incoming Victoria College freshman Natalie Smith home this year.
"I don't have any money," she said, with a laugh as she perused the Victoria Mall.
Smith has braved tax-free events in the past, however, and said the crowds made it an "experience."
Several years ago, for instance, a Houston Abercrombie & Fitch store brought in company models during the tax-free experience and, with the sheer number of customers in the store, things were uncomfortable.
You won't find Joe Licon inside stores during the weekend either, but that's nothing unusual. The retired roofer said he avoids shopping whenever he can.
"I'd rather stay home and watch sports," he said. "Baseball or football."
Many people simply choose to shop earlier in the summer than tax-free weekend allows.
Of the 9,009 people polled for the National Retail Federation's back-to-school survey, 47.6 percent planned to begin school shopping three weeks to a month before school began, according to a retail federation news release. Another 21.6 percent said they planned to shop two months before school began.
Victoria resident Lucy Littles said is one of those people who hits the stores early.
Stores often run out of items people are looking for, which means consumers - and the schoolchildren they're shopping for - are limited in what they can get.
"I like to get my shopping out of the way early," she said.