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DALLAS -- A phenomenon as liberating to consumers as credit cards and shopping carts is catching on in cities across America and making for odd shopping behavior. Customers, for example, have been seen lined 10 deep in the checkouts of a Wal-Mart Supercenter in Mesquite, Texas with kids in tow, just after midnight on a hot Friday morning.
The occasion was the Texas sales tax holiday for Back-to-School. One harried-looking Wal-Mart clerk said she'd never seen anything like it, comparing the crowds to the day after Thanksgiving. The same phenomenon was repeated at stores and malls throughout the weekend of Aug. 4 to 6, Texas' second annual sales tax holiday on Back-to-School clothing and shoes.
"It was just like holiday shopping. It was unbelievable. The parking lot was packed," said Rhonda Lewallen, director of marketing for Grapevine Mills Mall, located just north of Dallas.
The popularity of a sales tax holiday, initiated …