Starting Friday, another type of holiday arrives, one that spans three days and will offer its own unique form of stress relief. Although it won’t grant any time away from the worksite, it will still calm the nerves — well, hopefully — because it should take some pressure off the wallet.
We speak of the 10th annual Tennessee Sales Tax Holiday, a celebration of the family, a tribute to education and a reminder that little in life is free ... although some slices do come with welcomed discounts.
For any who have never participated — and we doubt there are many — the Sales Tax Holiday kicks off Friday at 12:01 a.m. and concludes at 11:59 p.m. Sunday. Essentially, it’s a once-a-year opportunity for shoppers to receive roughly 10 percent discounts on eligible items, most of which are related directly or indirectly to education — school supplies, art supplies, computers and clothing.
During the three-day period, purchases of these items can be made without retailers tacking on the normal sales tax levy.
It might not match some of the dynamic sales prices of Black Friday, but Cleveland and Bradley County shoppers probably agree with their fellow Tennesseans across the state — that a sale is a sale, and in the face of growing back-to-school expenses any savings, little or large or in between, is welcomed and much appreciated.
Credit this gift to the Tennessee General Assembly whose members launched the annual tax write-off in 2006. The holiday is even a part of state law — Tennessee Code Annotated 67-6-393.
Who’s the big winner during this three-day blitzkrieg of consumerism? Just about anyone who steps into a retail establishment, and the establishments themselves.
It’s a big win for parents who can supply their kids’ school needs with a little less impact on the pocketbook, checkbook or credit card.
It’s a big win for students because it guarantees a wider selection and better prepares their mood for nine more months of school.
It’s a big win for retailers because it assures a steadier flow of spending traffic that is needed this time of year because families have slowed their buying in order to put away a few extra dollars toward the arrival of the Christmas shopping season.
It’s a big win for the children of limited means whose blue-collar parents, or single parents, don’t rake in large paychecks so they don’t have the spending power of those in higher-paying jobs and careers.
It’s a big win for the outreach of civic clubs, nonprofit organizations and churches that sponsor back-to-school drives on behalf of the less fortunate, and in support of area schools located in modest neighborhoods where median incomes barely hover at or above poverty levels.
Eligible clothing items include shirts, dresses, pants, gloves and mittens, hats and caps, hosiery, neckties, belts, sneakers, shoes, uniforms and scarves.
School supplies include binders, book bags, calculators, tape, chalk, crayons, erasers, folders, glue, pens, pencils, lunch boxes, notebooks, paper, rulers and scissors.
Art supplies are clay and glazes, acrylic, tempera and oil paints, paint brushes for art work, sketch and drawing pads, and watercolors.
Computers include laptops, desktops, tablets, CPUs and components like monitor, keyboard, mouse, cables to connect components and pre-loaded software.
Discounts apply to items priced at less than $100 each and computers must be $1,500 or less.
Not all local residents will participate in the Tennessee Sales Tax Holiday. But those who do — and there will be thousands — will benefit from the softer side of state government, one that gives back to those who have earned this one-time savings.