Con: Tax-free weekend is a bigger hassle than it's worth

  • Tax-free clothingClothing items and their exemption status include:Tax-free

    Baby clothes

    Backpacks for use by elementary and secondary students

    Belts with attached buckles

    Boots - cowboy, hiking

    Caps/hats - baseball, fishing, ...

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  • Tax-free clothingClothing items and their exemption status include:Tax-free

    Baby clothes

    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

    Dresses

    Gloves

    Gym suits and uniforms

    Hooded shirts and hooded sweatshirts

    Hosiery

    Jackets

    Jeans

    Jerseys - baseball and football

    Jogging apparel

    Neckwear and ties

    Pajamas

    Pants and trousers

    Raincoats and ponchos

    Robes

    Shirts

    Shoes - sandals, slippers, sneakers, tennis, walking

    Socks

    Shorts

    Suits, slacks, and jackets

    Sweatshirts

    Sweatsuits

    Sweaters

    Swimsuits

    Underclothes

    Work clothes and uniforms

    Taxed

    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

    Football pants

    Golf gloves

    Handbags and purses

    Handkerchiefs

    Hard hats

    Helmets - bike, baseball, football, hockey, motorcycle, sports

    Ice skates

    Jewelry

    Laundering services

    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.