By Jim Smith

WATERTOWN (CBS) – It felt like the holidays in August this weekend as store parking lots filled up and customers scurried back to their vehicles with items they scooped up tax-free.

“We came here on purpose because it was a tax-free weekend to buy a new dishwasher. We waited in line for a few minutes, went in, and we were given a salesperson, who was terrific, and we bought a new dishwater,” said customer Ann Reynolds of Belmont.

The so-called Sales Tax Holiday is in effect Saturday and Sunday. Retail items for personal use up to $2,500 are exempt from the state’s 6.25% sales tax.

“We had a lot of choice, and the salesman was knowledgable and we got a fair deal and we didn’t have to pay state tax, so we’re happy,” said Jim Reynolds, of Belmont

Big-screen TVs were big sellers, especially as college students return to the area.

“A lot of college students are moving in this week, for sure. They are probably taking advantage of this weekend, buying a lot of stuff for their dorms, their houses off-campus, obviously, and we are taking advantage, obviously, as well,” said shopper Dylan Pitera

At the Watertown Best Buy, there was a line outside. Some of that was probably due to COVID-19 capacity restrictions.

Read: Retailers Prepare For ‘Particularly Important’ Tax Free Holiday Weekend

While the state does lose tax revenue this weekend, the hope is that it will give retailers hurt by the pandemic a badly needed boost.

For his part, Governor Charlie Baker encouraged Massachusetts resident to shop local this weekend, tweeting, “We’re helping support Main Street economies impacted by #COVID19MA by reminding everyone to shop local with #MyLocalMA!”

When asked if he thought people would be motivated to get out and shop this weekend, customer Steve Dichiario said, “Look at the line there. What do you think?”

Jim Smith

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