Office Depot was humming with activity. Cars were pulling in and out of the lot, shoppers were browsing through the aisles and the employees running the cash register were doing their best to keep the lines of people moving.
The annual sales tax holiday in Tennessee started with a bang. The sales tax holiday has been going on since 2006, and saves shoppers an estimated $8 million to $10 million over the weekend. The holiday ends at 11:59 p.m. Sunday.
Jean Daniels was taking advantage of the tax holiday. She was shopping for school supplies for her two daughters.
“I think it’s a good thing,” Daniels said. “I think it is a good incentive for people. Truth be told, usually I try to avoid it, but this is kind of part of getting in the spirit of things.”
This was the first time that Daniels had been shopping during the sales tax holiday. Her family is usually on vacation during the weekend. The crowds weren’t as bad as she thought they would be.
She was persuaded by her daughters to go get school supplies during the weekend. The girls wanted to get ready for school, and had already seen a few friends getting their supplies too.
The sales tax holiday offers tax breaks on computers $1,500 or less, along with items like printers, monitors and keyboards if they are purchased at the same time. School and art supplies $100 or less are also exempt from sales tax and include items like backpacks, binders, lunch boxes and paper. Clothing items under $100 are also tax free.
Audrey Cashom, a senior at Daniel Boone High School, was out getting her supplies for the last year of her high school career. She has been going with her mother since the tax weekend started, but this year she went alone.
“It really helps,” Cashom said. “My mom used to shop for three kids. She doesn’t anymore because I was the baby, but it really helped her and her wallet.”
This may be the last weekend that Cashom sees for a while because she will be attending either the University of Chicago or Yale when the next holiday comes around. She also plans on taking advantage of the tax break on clothes by hitting up Kohl’s.
Shayne Piercy is a mom who has gone school shopping every sales tax holiday since they first started. She really enjoys when stores have sales on top of having a break from the sales tax.
“I’ve been every year since my kids were little,” she said. “I’m out here looking for anything at a good price. I coupon too, so anything I can get for a good price makes me happy.”
Piercy moved here from Florida, which has a similar holiday in place. She said the holiday was great for people who have kids, and helps her to save a lot of money. She also plans on getting some clothes from Kohl’s and Belk for her kids.
Parents and students weren’t the only ones getting ready for school. Teachers were also out taking advantage of the tax holiday.
Nicki Mechtly, an eighth-grade English teacher at Liberty Bell, and Shi Hui, a seventh-grade Chinese teacher at Liberty Bell, were getting all the supplies they needed for the upcoming school year. Monday is the first day that students will be in school.
“I am very thankful for the sales tax,” Mechtly said. “It happened to fall on a very good weekend for us. We were really busy all week, and we didn’t really mean to come today. We accidentally came today, but it was tax free and it was perfect.”