Parents, teachers hit stores for tax-free weekend deals

School supplies list in hand and shopping cart in tow, Miran Tyrrell joined other parents and schoolteachers Friday in taking advantage of South Carolina's tax-free shopping weekend.

Through midnight Sunday, shoppers in Georgia and South Carolina can purchase school supplies, computers, clothing and footwear items without paying sales tax, although each state has certain restrictions on items that are considered exempt.

At Office Depot on Knox Avenue in North Augusta, Mrs. Tyrrell loaded her cart with binders and poster board for her daughter and son and the Scout troop she leads. She shopped midday Friday, avoiding crowds that she expected.

"I was thinking this was going to be a mess," she said.

Office Depot assistant manager Katrina Tillman said the store should be busier today. The North Augusta store opened at 8 a.m., an hour earlier than usual.

Frankie Miles, of Waynesboro, Ga., knew from past tax-free weekends to shop early. The Office Depot was the third stop by lunchtime Friday for Mrs. Miles and her daughter, Jasmine, who had shopped for clothing at other stores.

"With gas being so high, make one trip," Mrs. Miles said. "This is a good time to do it. That 7 percent adds up."

Amanda Philbeck-Keener used a $100 gift card on Friday that she received for being a teacher at A.R. Johnson Health, Science and Engineering Magnet High School. The gift card is meant to offset the cost of preparing her classroom and can be used through Aug. 9.

"I wish the card was more," Dr. Philbeck-Keener said. "I will spend above and beyond that."

This is the sixth year she has shopped during the tax-free weekend. The English teacher thought she was prepared for tax-free shopping but was surprised at the checkout counter.

The computer accessories she wanted to buy for her classroom included sales tax because they weren't sold in conjunction with a computer, one of the exceptions to this weekend's rules.

"Just use the $100," she told the cashier as she handed over the gift card.

Reach Meg Mirshak at (706) 828-2946 or meg.mirshak@augustachronicle.com.

IN GEORGIA

WHEN: Until midnight Sunday

What's Eligible

- Shoes and clothing $100 or less

- Single purchase of personal computers or related accessories or both totaling $1,500 or less

- School supplies $20 or less each for use in a classroom or classroom-related activity


IN SOUTH CAROLINA

WHEN: Until midnight Sunday

What's Eligible

- Clothes, clothing accessories, shoes, blankets, bed linens, shower curtains and pillows

- School supplies and book bags

- Computers, printers, printer supplies and computer software