Stores offered shoppers two kinds of relief Friday: shelter from triple-digit temperatures and a break from sales taxes.
Friday was the first day of Oklahoma's sales tax holiday, which requires all retailers to sell clothing and shoes priced under $100 tax-free. The sales tax holiday continues through midnight Sunday.
The savings were significant enough to brave the heat, shoppers said, and malls and free-standing retailers cranked up the air conditioning to keep people comfortable.
At The Outlet Shoppes at Oklahoma City, which faced probably the biggest challenge beating the heat, workers were setting up cooling stations Friday morning. Mall manager Debbie Griesinger said the open-air mall is looking into installing a permanent misting system for year-round use.
The outlet mall, at Interstate 40 and Council Road, also will introduce valet parking Saturday. Cars can be dropped off by the flagpoles.
Getting a cold drink in the outlet mall food court, Arlene Randall, of Mustang, and Ashley Simmons, of Stigler, said they held off on back-to-school clothing purchases until the tax-free weekend to save money. Randall said she was using coupons to sweeten the deal.
At Walmart in Moore, Linda Marquez pushed a cart full of socks, clothes and underwear for her five children, ages 7 to 17. She said she took off work just to be able to hit the stores tax-free on Friday. With five children starting school, she said keeping the money she would have paid on sales tax in her pocket was significant.
Some people were ready to checkout just after midnight, when the sales tax holiday went into effect, said store manager Chris Wainwright. The store displayed backpacks and school supplies, which are not tax-free, near the clothing to make it more convenient for shoppers, he said.