Shopping On Tax-Free Weekend? You’re Getting Hosed.

I was in the mall earlier, and it was so fucking crowded I actually had to take my eyes off my phone to avoid walking into people, something I don’t normally have to do. No chance at catching a Pikachu when there’s someone three times your size shuffling forward at the rate of snail on valium in front of you and screaming children running around on the side of them, creating a human bottleneck. It was a nightmare.

I guess I should have expected this, considering it’s tax-free weekend here. Granted, our sales tax is ridiculously high – almost ten percent, and our roads are still full of potholes, and many graduates of our public schools (some of whom teach at our public university) can’t spell at a fourth grade level, so I have no fucking clue what we’re doing with all that money, but okay, let’s say ten percent.


I get it – the chance to buy things without paying that extra ten percent! Who wouldn’t want to run right out the door and buy everything they need for back-to-school or just their ordinary supply run?

A savvy shopper, that’s who. In all the years our state has been having tax-free weekend, I’ve never found a good deal on one. STORES DO NOT HAVE EXTRA SALES ON TAX-FREE WEEKEND. Keep in mind, when stores DO have big sales, they’re usually for at least 20 percent off, often 30 or 40. MUCH better than that dinky ten percent you save on tax, right?

Let’s say, for example, that you’re interested in an item on clearance for $10. Last weekend, Dillard’s had an extra 40 percent off clearance, so you could have bought that item WITH tax for $6.60. But hey, it’s much smarter to wait until today, increase the changes it’ll be gone, and pay that flat $10.

Most stores that have weekly sales start on Sunday and run through Saturday (including office supply stores, where a lot of back-to-school shopping is done). So by Saturday most stuff is sold out. The majority of the clothing stores I walked through today had everything at full-price. Unless you had a coupon, you were only going to save that ten percent on tax. Period. Penney’s had “doorbusters” which weren’t that great a deal and will undoubtedly be much cheaper if you wait two weeks and buy when it hits clearance. Also, that store just has shitty brands. Ever try to resell something you bought at Penney’s on eBay? Good luck, no one wants that crap.

I used to work in an office-supply store. We usually did not have the best deals the week of tax-free weekend, because someone in the corporate office must have known people would spend more anyway due to the tax-free weekend. Oh, we had a few sales, but they were closer to 20 than 40 percent off in most cases. After all, why actually reduce prices when customers already feel like they’re paying less?

Are you shopping on tax-free weekend? Do you actually think you are getting a better deal? Do you have numbers to prove it?

V. R. Craft is the author of Stupid Humans, a science fiction book series that asks the question, “What if all the intelligent humans abandoned Earth—and we’re what’s left? 


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