Mother-daughter shopping duo bags $1,000 of merchandise in F&M; spree

Sherrin M. Linda made good on her preshopping boast.

"If I can't gather $1,000 worth of products in five minutes, I'm a disgrace to women everywhere," the 41-year-old assistant bank manager said, moments before taking off down Aisle 1 at the F&M; Distributors store in the Bel Air Town Center on Baltimore Pike.


She acted as the "designated shopper" for her mother, Pearl Detillier, who uses a wheelchair because of crippling arthritis.

Mrs. Detillier, 65, earned the right to grab up to a $1,000 worth of goods in a nationwide sweepstakes co-sponsored by F&M; Distributors and Kimberly Clark Inc., a national paper product manufacturer. Her name was drawn at the store.


Thursday morning, when store manager Fred Wallbillick reached zero in his countdown, Mrs. Linda had filled five carts with products ranging from "Batman" tapes to bottles of perfume.

It took clerk Fran Brown nearly 20 minutes to run a total through the computerized cash register. The final tally: $4,218.32.

The spree drew applause from dozens of customers and store personnel.

A burst of laughter followed when Mr. Wallbillick quipped: "Congratulations, you've surpassed your limit. Now write me a check for $3,218.32."

Actually, the mother and daughter selected $1,000 worth of goods and returned the rest.

"I'm so excited by all this," Mrs. Detillier said after embracing her daughter. "This is the first time I've ever won anything of value. I'll never forget it. Just shows what a woman can do when given a chance. This is the year of the woman."

Sipping a soft drink moments after her five-minute jog, a perspiring and winded Mrs. Linda gasped. "I really didn't feel pressured until I heard the manager begin his countdown of the final 30 seconds," she said.

"I was starting to feel exhausted. This store is a lot bigger than it looks. I'm not sure I'd want to do this again."


A cameraman for a Baltimore TV station also appeared exhausted -- and confused. He seemed to be constantly running behind Mrs. Linda and, every time he positioned himself for a frontal shot, she would reverse her direction.

"It was unintentional. I was just following Mom's direction," Mrs. Linda explained. "She knew the course as well as I did, so she would tell me when to turn."

At the two-minute warning, she began her assault on the perfume section -- her largest take, exceeding $2,000.

Mrs. Linda, who lives in Carroll County, said she and her mother spent several days walking through the store to "get an idea where everything is located."

"Our plan was to accumulate as many 'big-ticket' items as possible," Mrs. Linda said.

"I think we have most of our Christmas gifts right here in these carts."


Mrs. Detillier, a native of Alabama who has lived in Harford County since 1986, said she was grateful her daughter could run for her. She explained that her husband, Milton, was home recuperating from a mild heart attack.

"He wouldn't have been able to survive the excitement," Mrs. Detillier said, "but I know he'll be happy when he sees how well we did."

She thanked everyone who had anything to do with her good fortune.

Her daughter just looked for a place to rest her feet.