The story of any one of us is in some measure the story of us all. ~Frederick Buechner

Momma Shopper is Coming to Town

She’s making a list

And checking it twice

Momma Shopper is coming to town!


They close down their registers when they see her coming.

One young employee actually quit on the spot.

And once, her order was so large the cash register quit too.

It’s not one of Santa’s elves on the loose, it’s Sarah Sullivan, JPUSA’s Mom’s Shopper.

What is the Mom’s Shopper?

The Mom’s Shopper is the person responsible for making sure you get the important toiletries on your personal list, from sippy cups for your baby to nasal strips for your snoring partner.

And Sarah has the job down to a science.

She knows when you’ve been sleeping

She knows when your stomach aches . . .

She is the diva of shopping deals, using coupons, reward programs, apps, and saving tricks to tally up hundreds of dollars worth of savings each week on assorted personal care needs for the residents of our community.

Put it this way, Sarah can stretch one dollar into two.

While the Mom’s Shopping trip is on Friday, Sarah’s work starts on Monday. She dulls her scissors clipping coupons from newspapers, magazines, and mailings.

On Tuesday, she begins to organize the master list of items requested via email, with a strict cut off at midnight, when she shuts down her inbox. On Wednesday, Sarah goes through the hand-written requests for those who do not have computer access. Then, on Thursday, Sarah finalizes the master list. But it’s not sorted by who’s naughty or nice, but by which floor gets the nasal strips and who needs the pull-up diapers.

Sarah went on to explain how the shopping trip wasn’t a quicky to the neighborhood Aldi. It takes at least two shoppers and an empty van.

The first stop is to the Sam’s Club for toilet paper. Sarah explained that she rarely purchases personal items there.

“No one needs a 500 count container of vitamins.”

After doing the math, Sarah realized that they weren’t saving that much shopping at a club size store. It’s the Target where she spends the bulk of her shopping day and budget, about four hours strolling the aisles.

“Once we get into the store, we’ll sit down and start a plan of attack.”

After Sarah and her helper fill up about four carts of products, sectioning the carts by floors, they take a well-deserved break inside the store to go through all of the coupons.

But Sarah and her helper get mixed greetings as they head for the checkout aisle.

“A lot of the cashiers will turn their lights off when they see us coming. But overall, the store likes us because we use their sales gimmicks.”

She went on to explain that the store manager smiles when he blares over the intercom, “You saved over $100 with coupons!”

She knows razor blades are expensive

So grow a beard for Sarah’s sake!

So how is she a good steward of money?


Sarah uses a Target card to make the purchase for additional savings, along with a Cartwheel app. Then immediately heads to the customer service desk to pay off the balance.

“Once, a register pooped out on us. It went haywire when it had to ring up an order of several thousand dollars.”

Sarah is also thankful for all of the guys in the house with bushy beards. “Razor blades are stinking expensive,” she exclaimed.

But that’s not the end of the trip. Whatever Sarah can’t get at Target, she’ll pick up at Jewel.

After getting the rest of their items there, Sarah pulls the van into the parking spot on Eastwood, where the real work begins. The unloading. And no, she can’t throw the packed blue IKEA bags down a chimney magically like Santa. Sarah and her elves have to load the elevator according to floor.

“Then, as soon as I’m done, I have to start hunting for coupons for the following week!”

I had to ask if any guys liked to help out on this expedition.

Sarah explained that women tolerate it better than men. “One time, back in the day, when we shopped for Cornerstone Festival, I walked into Sam’s Club and purchased a whole flat of maxi pads!”

So, if you don’t have anything to do on a Friday, maybe you can volunteer to be a shopping elf for the Mom’s shopper. Sarah would love your help, from collecting coupons to delivering the items to each floor.

She might even stuff your stocking with an extra candy cane.

Ginger MacDonald
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