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

ALLISON MILES

By ALLISON MILES
Aug. 15, 2010 at 3:15 a.m.


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.

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