Lebanon, TN - Ellen Kubrick was working the cash register at a Lebanon big box store this tax-free weekend when a customer, later identified as Seth Harper, came through her line to buy a six-pack of Busch Light.
Kubrick checked his ID and told him the the total was $6.21, but Harper corrected her, saying the item should only be $5.69 due to the tax-free holiday. When she explained that the tax-free promotion was mainly for school supplies and student items, Harper insisted that the beer was for a high school kid that lives up the street and should be exempt from tax.
"When he said the beer was for a kid, I was so furious," Harper told reporters. "What a scammer. I told him, I don't care if it's for Justin Bieber, beer is not tax-free. That's when he demanded to speak to my manager."
The store manager, Karl Johnson, listened to both sides of the disagreement before questioning Harper about buying the beer for a minor. Johnson said, "I couldn't believe he was buying the beer for a teenager. It just seemed shady. But then the kid confirmed it himself." Witnesses say that Harper called the teen on Facetime and the student told the manager directly that the beer was for him and not for Harper.
Johnson told journalists, "At that point, I had to make a decision. I double-checked, and technically, beer is not on the tax exemption list provided by the department of revenue, but it's also not on the non-exempt list. In the end, even though it was for a student, it just didn't feel right. We asked Mr. Harper to pay the full $6.21 and I think we did the right thing."
Witnesses say Harper left the store angry and kicked a shopping cart over in the parking lot. Police were called to the scene but found there was not enough damage to the cart to file a report. When officers learned that the incident all started when Harper tried to buy beer for a high school kid tax-free, they were disturbed. One officer said, "We need to get this guy off the streets immediately. Who kicks an innocent cart over 52 cents in sales taxes?"
Harper and the unidentified teen were not available for comment.
The tax-free holiday ends Sunday at 11:59 p.m.
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