Ahh, I read up more on this and you're both right.
My roommate was doing his taxes earlier today and he told me (erroneously, unbeknownst to me at the time) that you can deduct sales tax expenses on top of the standard deduction. I thought it sounded too good to be true...
I just told my roommate that he could have gotten a bigger refund if he did the standard deduction (he claimed around $5k due to medical expenses and whatnot, so the standard deduction would have been higher). Looks like he's going to have to re-file his taxes.