. . . for my tote bag tells me so

This morning while the children slurped their Cheerios and I slumped at the kitchen table, half awake, sipping at my orange juice, Otto slid a section of newspaper across the tabletop to me.

PUBLIX GRAND OPENING TODAY, 7:00 AM!

I checked the clock. 6:45.

Chickadee craned her neck, allowing her to read sideways instead of just upside down. “MOM! It’s today! You should go right now! Otto can take us to school!” Methinks my daughter is tired of walking up and down the aisles at Kroger with me while I comment on the fruit flies, the gray meat, and the fact that no one seems to actually work there.

“Well, I don’t think I’ll go right NOW,” I answered, “because I’m just not sure I need to be walking into Publix in my PAJAMAS.”

“But MOM!” she continued, having read the full-page ad top to bottom, now, “You can get a FREE TOTE BAG!”

Thankfully, the free tote bag offer was good for the first 1,000 customers. So there was no need to go tearing out of the house in my butterfly jammies. As entertaining as that might have been for my fellow shoppers.

The opening of the Publix is significant in that (and I may have mentioned this once or twenty times) our neighborhood Kroger is perhaps the most maddening grocery store I’ve ever had the displeasure to frequent. As long as you are shopping for boxed pasta and juice pouches and pop-tarts and cereal, it’s fine. But if you want to get all fancy with your fresh chicken and some fish that doesn’t look like it was straight from the chum bucket, look out. When they do things like put appealing produce on sale, they run out; and let’s not speak of the MANY times I have abandoned a bag of fruit of veggies because picking through thr rotten pieces and WAVING AWAY THE FRUIT FLIES got to be too much for me.

I’ve also brought home cartons of organic milk (which costs about $8/gallon there) only to find that—despite being a month off of the expiration date—it’s curdled. That’s only when they actually HAVE organic milk, you understand. We buy 1%, which I understand is probably not all that popular, fine, but once they ran out of 1% and it was TWO WEEKS before they stocked it again.

[Aside: This morning we ran out of the kids' (organic) milk and I gave Monkey a glass of Otto's (hormone-laden) milk to drink. "I'm going to become a big hairy man!" Monkey declared, between slurps. I said something about how okay, yes, someday he'd be more hairy...? Then he clarified that he thought he'd be a big hairy man from drinking the milk with hormones. I corrected him; the hormones we're avoiding in the milk are actually GIRL hormones. He thought on this for a moment and then crowed, "I'M GONNA HAVE MAN BOOBIES!" Yes. I should totally be homeschooling my children, as the information transfer here at home is clearly superior to anything they could get elsewhere.]

So this morning I showered and got dressed and drove over to the new Publix and shouted “BITE ME, KROGER!” out my window as I pulled into the parking lot.

I was indeed amongst the first 1,000 shoppers, and so received my free Publix tote bag (fancy!) and a handful of flyers and coupons and a happy little speech from the manager at the door. When he told me that he hoped my shopping experience with them would be an enjoyable one, I told him that they would have to work awfully hard to be more rotten than Kroger, and he seemed to find this amusing.

Then my tote bag and I went shopping.

I know that an hour after opening may not be indicative of how the store will be, long-term, but I have to say, they really did it up right. Everything was bright and shiny and the food LOOKED LIKE FOOD and there were about 200 Publix staffers there to take care of the 50 of us who were shopping. Everyone kept asking me how I was. People offered to help me find things. Food samples were offered at every turn. I FELT SO LOVED!

“Ma’am, would you care to try our delicious cajun crab dip?” asked a hopeful man in a hairnet.

“Dude. It’s 8:10 in the morning.” I had forgotten my proper southern lingo in my horror. But I hadn’t had any caffeine yet. Still, this could be a major faux pas. Our eyes locked. He burst out laughing, and I exhaled. Phew. I did not try the crab dip. I bought a pound of tilapia from him, though.

My cart quickly filled up with food the likes of which I haven’t seen since moving to Georgia. Asparagus that looked like asparagus. Strawberries that looked like strawberries. Schnozzberries that looked like schnozzberries! (Okay, maybe not that last one.) But I did buy some pork chops that nearly made me weep.

Best of all? The Publix-brand milk is hormone-free, so I can stop spending the kids’ inheritance on organic. Woo!

In the checkout line, the cashier chatted happily about how much she loves working there, and someone came along and offered me a free loaf of bread. Why? JUST BECAUSE THEY LOVE ME, THAT’S WHY. I happily accepted a loaf of wheat while the bread-bearer yammered on about how the whole grain white is AMAZING.

“I’m sure it’s DELICIOUS,” I joked, because I am a bread snob and white sandwich bread is second only to making a sandwich with cardboard, in my book.

“Oh, it IS,” he assured me, “it tastes JUST LIKE white bread!”

“Exactly,” I agreed. He wandered off, probably regretting his generosity. I lovingly placed my free bread inside my free tote bag.

I paid and realized that the bagger intended to wheel my cart out for me. Possibly because I am so old and infirm. But more likely because this is apparently a Publix customer service thing that they do, because they are so filled with the spirit of love and goodness that THEY CANNOT BEAR TO LET YOU LEAVE, and so they stay with you until the last possible moment.

“I… I can take my own cart,” I assured the bagger.

“Are you sure? I’d be happy to take it out for you and load your car,” he said.

I toyed with asking him to come home with me and do the dishes, but that seemed like pushing it.

I did manage to wrestle the cart out of his hands and make it to the door, whereupon I was assaulted by another manager, wanting to accompany me outside. I explained (again) that I appreciated the gesture but that I was pretty sure I could manage on my own. She seemed sad, but brightened when I told her that I hadn’t had so much fun grocery shopping in a long time.

“Y’all come back again now!” she chirped as I crossed the lot towards my car.

The next time I’m feeling a little neglected I’m heading straight to Publix, I tell you what.

85 Responses to “. . . for my tote bag tells me so”

  1. 1
    Sara October 10, 2007 at 9:51 am #

    Glad that your shopping experience will no longer include gray meat. (shudder)
    Also, if I ever open I bar, I’m naming it the Chum Bucket. I’m sure my clientele will be O So Klassy.

  2. 2
    Jessica October 10, 2007 at 9:51 am #

    What a great way to start the day! But how on EARTH did you manage to grocery shop without having had caffeine yet? I can’t put my shoes on the right feet without having a cup of coffee first.

  3. 3
    Megan October 10, 2007 at 9:54 am #

    Oh! Oh! That’s not FaaaaaAAAAAAIIIIIIR! I have no, that is NO grocery store near my house. None. Nada (I could go on because this is such an important issue for me). However! My quite local Target has spent the last six months becoming a SSSOOOOper Target and last week they started rolling out what looks very much like aisles and aisles of refrigerator cases. Of course, this means nothing to me because what I crave is access to genuine fresh produce BUT I just might be able to get my milk in less-than-Costco sizes now and that, that is pretty damn good.

  4. 4
    All Adither October 10, 2007 at 9:55 am #

    Nice. Did they have a mani-pedi station too? Perhaps a massage chair in the bakery? Ooh, getting your shoulders rubbed while eating a doughnut. I can’t think of anything better.

  5. 5
    jp October 10, 2007 at 9:57 am #

    HURAY…………..real food, real supermarket!!!

    I couldn’t convince the cute checker at the Publix in FL that I could take my own cart to my car so she accompanied me out. Once outside she cofided that it was the only time she got to see her boyfriend at the gas station next door since her parents didn’t allow her to see him! I drove off watching them wave and blow kisses to eachother, So cute!

  6. 6
    Melissa October 10, 2007 at 10:00 am #

    MY publix has free coffee, too…. Plus there are lots of clubs you can join for coupons for things you actually use. I loved the Publix Baby Club but am now graduating into the Publix Toddler club or whatever they call it.

  7. 7
    Brigitte October 10, 2007 at 10:06 am #

    Our local IGA has actual baggers who also want to bring your carts out and load your car (but if you’re feeling independent, they’ll let you go).
    Of course, the town wants to put a big, generic super Stop-n-Shop across the street from it, and drive it out of business. Rrrrr.
    I’m glad to hear there’s chain out there that believes in customer service!

  8. 8
    el-e-e October 10, 2007 at 10:06 am #

    I ADORE Publix. I hope your tote bag included one of their latest brochures about the founder and his little pearls of wisdom. Complete with nice design and old-timey photos… it might just make you cry.

    (Or maybe that was just sappy me.)

  9. 9
    Susan October 10, 2007 at 10:08 am #

    I SO loved Publix when we lived in South Carolina. I would consider it a “treat” to go shopping there. I would take guests there when they came to visit from out of town. I called it my Saks Fifth Avenue of grocery shopping. I so need to get a life!

    Love your blog BTW.

  10. 10
    Leandra October 10, 2007 at 10:10 am #

    See, the difference between you and me is that I totally would have had some of the crab dip. I can’t pass stuff like that up.

    Thanks for the tip about the Publix brand milk. I’m not sure Wal-Mart has ever heard the term “hormone free.” In their greeters maybe, but not their milk. And it can’t be much more expensive than the cost of regular milk! $4.22 for a gallon of skim!!

  11. 11
    Melisa October 10, 2007 at 10:15 am #

    Lately I’ve been thinking that all of our grocery store produce in AZ looks tortured. I need to find a good farmers’ market.

    We had an awesome Publix in FL too…complete with the people who made sushi right there in the store. But once in PA, we discovered the joys of Wegmans. *cue angelic choir music* Wegmans is the best grocery store ever! Ooh how I miss it…

  12. 12
    Stephanie Chance October 10, 2007 at 10:21 am #

    Yeah! I’m getting a Publix in my home town soon. I can’t wait. I won’t go to the one in the next town. I remained a Target virgin until one opened in my city, and I will remain a Publix virgin until I get one of my very own.

    The manager must not be originally from the south, because the correct phrase is, “Y’all come back now, ya hear!”

  13. 13
    Trish October 10, 2007 at 10:22 am #

    This is making me all sentimental. I worked at Publix for many years during college (it’s where I met my husband) and sometimes I miss it. We’ve been living in VA for over 2 years (where there is no Publix) and even though Safeway has Starbucks, it’s still not Publix.

  14. 14
    Aileen October 10, 2007 at 10:23 am #

    I lived in the south for 10 years, first in Georgia and then in SC (we are in the Navy). Now we live in CT and I really, really miss my beloved Publix. It always smelled so wonderful when I walked in… you could smell the breads and cakes baking. Then everyone was always so nice, the food always looked good, and they always offered to help me out with my groceries. It’s part of the Publix ideology so you don’t even have to tip them!! There’s no tipping…they are just happy to do it out of the kindness of their hearts. You’re so lucky to have Publix. All I have here is my choice of the Commissary or Stop and Shop. Next time you go.. kiss the wall for me and tell it how much I miss it!! :)

  15. 15
    Liz October 10, 2007 at 10:24 am #

    I once was at a grocery store where the guy was so determined not to let me walk out of the store holding my purchases–a case of over eager customer service, I guess. I just ran after him saying, “I walked here today. Really, I can handle it!”

  16. 16
    Kerry October 10, 2007 at 10:24 am #

    At our old grocery (in a very affluent area) once you brought your cart to the register you were no longer allowed to touch it. The cashier unloaded it and the bagger brought it to your car. You were then not allowed to take full possession of the groceries until you were off store property.

    Sometimes I miss the special treatment, but the prices I do not miss.

    Kerry

  17. 17
    Crisanne October 10, 2007 at 10:45 am #

    We had a great grocery store in Lubbock, TX (West TX of all places) that didn’t even have return cart stations in the lot…they always took out your groceries and couldn’t except tips. They were so nice there. It’s just about the only thing I miss about Lubbock.

  18. 18
    Pave.Gurl October 10, 2007 at 10:48 am #

    The Kroger I had when I lived in GA wasn’t so bad, but I really miss Publix… I have Harris Teeter where I am now, but it’s not the same.

  19. 19
    Mama Bear October 10, 2007 at 10:53 am #

    I am so horribly jealous! Here in the Great White North, where I am oh so fortunate to be able to shop, we have a Super-Walmart. I hate shopping there… it makes me sad, but the savings, and the actual fact that their items are much less likely (if you can believe it) to be expired than the local grocery store makes it a necessity. But oh boy do I dread going. Yikes!
    And on another note. Shnozzberries… were they from The BFG? My students rather enjoyed the Frobscottle.

  20. 20
    Aimee October 10, 2007 at 10:54 am #

    I have to say, there are worse things than starting off the day with a Willy Wonka reference. :)

  21. 21
    Shalee October 10, 2007 at 11:00 am #

    Oh, happy day indeed! Glad that you’ll be able to feed your family with fresh, decent food now rather than the old, rotten crap from Kroger.

  22. 22
    Burgh Baby's Mom October 10, 2007 at 11:08 am #

    Congratulations, Mir, on your very own Publix! Now could you send one my way? Thanks.

  23. 23
    Jean October 10, 2007 at 11:17 am #

    Happy to hear you can now shop without fear!

    Just had to let you know that in the olden days in upstate NY, all the local supermarkets (including an early Wegmans) had a conveyor belt system for your groceries. Once your goods were bagged you were given a ticket and your bags were put in a numbered tote and placed on the conveyor. You went on your merry way, got in your car and drove up to the curb alongside the conveyor belt, handed your ticket to the boy outside and he would transfer your groceries (which, after riding the tote “roller coaster” were waiting for you outside) into the trunk of your car. No muss, no fuss, especially when you think about how easily a cart can (not) be pushed through a snowy parking lot.

    If only there was a simple way to bring that system back….

  24. 24
    Ei. October 10, 2007 at 11:53 am #

    Crisanne, my sister lives in Lubbock. She brags on United all the time. I told her to find a tree there worth bragging on and we’d talk.

  25. 25
    MommasWorld October 10, 2007 at 12:02 pm #

    Now I want to go shopping! Too bad this Publix is not up here in the North.

    I do not know if the baggers/cart persons at your Publix is the same as others. There are baggers and cart personnel who are paid a minimal hourly wage ($2.50/hr or about) just like waitresses. Companies are allowed to pay this minimum wage due to the expectation of tips the employee is likely to receive. Most people will tip the cart personnel a few dollars after the groceries are loaded into your car.

    Just read Aileen’s comment. I have never been to a Publix. My only real experience with the bagger/cart personnel was at the Military Commissary (on base grocery store). If Publix pays the bagger/cart personnel well I think that is fantastic! I always felt like I should have given them more of a tip when we went to the Commissary.

  26. 26
    ScottsdaleGirl October 10, 2007 at 12:02 pm #

    YAY for pleasant grocery shopping!

    I hates me some grocery-ing.

  27. 27
    Cassie October 10, 2007 at 12:09 pm #

    Ah hahaha. “I’ll tell you what!”

    That sounds like maybe the best grocery experience, ever. I too hate Kroger… it’s always a huge let down.

  28. 28
    Momof3Boys October 10, 2007 at 12:14 pm #

    Ok, who wants to do my grocery shopping for me? I waaaant a Publix (humph)!

  29. 29
    Kathy October 10, 2007 at 12:15 pm #

    I love love love our Publix !
    Had only seen them in Atlanta and Fl but,a few years ago
    they came to Montgomery. I won’t shop anywhere else.
    Oh try the Italian Five Grain Bread from the bakery.
    It is awesome !

  30. 30
    Wendy October 10, 2007 at 12:28 pm #

    *weeping* I want a Publix. Although, I get some of that treatment at Target. Suck it Walmart!

  31. 31
    BooMom October 10, 2007 at 12:41 pm #

    *CRYING*

  32. 32
    BooMom October 10, 2007 at 12:43 pm #

    *CRYING* I want something other than HEB and Wal-Hell !!

    Publix, where art thou ?!?? Us S.Tx folk would welcome you with open arms !!!

  33. 33
    Nikandre October 10, 2007 at 12:47 pm #

    We moved to MI after living in Lakeland, FL, where Publix is based. The founder, Mr. Jenkins, used to come to the store I worked at during high school and college summers, and all the stores I lived near in FL were awesome. Now I have Meijer (the slightly higher class Grand Rapids version of Super Wal-Mart) and some crappy local chains to choose from. I miss Publix!!! :( So glad you have one now though!

  34. 34
    elizabeth October 10, 2007 at 12:57 pm #

    I love my Publix. our Kroger is about the same as yours – ugh. made the mistake of shopping there this past weekend just because I was on that side of town, so sad. couldn’t find a thing.

    in reading all the comments, I am so happy to hear people mention Wegmans. I grew up in central NY and Wegmans was THE grocery store. with their tote conveyors to deliver the groceries to your car – so cool. great memories.

  35. 35
    Carrie October 10, 2007 at 1:19 pm #

    bite me kroger! Ha ha ha! cracking up!

  36. 36
    Amy-Go October 10, 2007 at 1:40 pm #

    Oh I miss Publix soooooooooo much. Do you know that if you do let them wheel your cart out for you that they will also load your groceries into your car and utterly refuse to be tipped? Fabulous. Bite me, every grocery store in Kansas.

  37. 37
    Lisa October 10, 2007 at 1:40 pm #

    In defense of Kroger, I have to say I love ours here in Louisiana! The new store is only two years old and it’s very nice. No gray meat around here! It’s the best place in town to shop.

  38. 38
    jp October 10, 2007 at 1:54 pm #

    I’m not sure Wal-Mart has ever heard the term “hormone free.” In their greeters maybe, but not their milk………….

    Now THATS funny!

  39. 39
    Lori October 10, 2007 at 1:58 pm #

    Congratulations Mir! You have waited a long time for this. Enjoy it.

    There was a conveyor belt system at a grocery store I used when I was at Boston University. I always thought it was the coolest thing. If only they had them around where I lived when I had a newborn! Snow, cart, newborn & groceries – PIA!

  40. 40
    Contrary October 10, 2007 at 1:58 pm #

    Our nice place to shop around here is Albertson’s. Sure, it costs a little more than Wal-Mart, but I’m willing to pay extra if it means I’m not importing fruit flies into my home.

    We have no Kroger here, which is just as well as I have never been in a Kroger that didn’t have weird lighting and the smell of rotting flesh.

  41. 41
    April October 10, 2007 at 2:12 pm #

    I’m so jealous. We only get the opportunity to shop at Publix on our vacations to Florida and every time we leave I weep at the sheer unfairness of no Publix in Kentucky. Enjoy for all of us without one!

  42. 42
    LuAnn October 10, 2007 at 2:26 pm #

    I would SO love an experience like that at a grocery store, cause I ABSOLUTELY DREAD going shopping on payday. *bleccch*

  43. 43
    Jodi October 10, 2007 at 2:30 pm #

    I have EIGHT grocery stores within 4 miles of my house. But none of them is a Publix. *sigh*

  44. 44
    saucygrrl October 10, 2007 at 2:34 pm #

    I remember when two different Whole Foods stores opened by us in NJ. It was a memory that I’ll charish for a lifetime. Now that we live on Cape Cod we shop from 4 different little markets but the charm goes away after you get sick of the inconvienience. *sniff, sniff* I wanna Publix.

  45. 45
    ThursdayNext October 10, 2007 at 2:41 pm #

    When I lived in Berkeley, the local Safeway seemed like it had just given up in the produce section. Horrible stuff. I guess they couldn’t compete with the nearby farmers markets throughout the week, so they just didn’t try.

    Now I live in AZ, where the nearby Safeway generally has beautiful shiny produce. It also has the benefits of being near a large university, so I see things like a bin of ping pong balls in the beer section, labeled “beer pong balls.” Klassy.

  46. 46
    Nancy October 10, 2007 at 2:56 pm #

    Nothing like a good grocery shopping story to soothe the soul!

    My tiny, local grocery store offers to take the cart out for me every time. During those times that I’ve been pregnant with a toddler, or have had a newborn and a toddler I ALWAYS took them up on it. These days I decline, unless the owner is bagging my groceries – he insists, and calls the kids angels, and asks them to show him to the car, and tells them to be good for mom. He’s like the Grocery Store Grandpa.

  47. 47
    Ani October 10, 2007 at 2:58 pm #

    Publix Publix how I love thee…let me count the ways. The bakery (cinnamon rolls, breakfast bread, ready-to-go pizza dough)…the sushi…the deli…the quirky Hispanic groceries not to be found elsewhere here in SC.

    Ah no, the killer app: Publix fried chicken. YUM.

  48. 48
    Anne Glamore October 10, 2007 at 3:06 pm #

    I heart Publix and blog about them often.

    And at our house, man boobs are called “breasties.”
    (Rhymes with “testes.”)

  49. 49
    Jenny October 10, 2007 at 3:16 pm #

    Congratulations on your Publixification! I’m with Leandra though — I can’t believe you passed up the celebratory crab dip.

    Anyway, yay for Publix sushi and Boar’s Head (Boarshead?) subs, and friendly service and giant organic grapes and Publix Premium Ice Cream! And the Publix house brand stuff has clever packaging. I heart Publix.

    (Also — even though they have NO TIPPING splashed all over everything, I wrestle my cart from the friendly Publixite every time, too. That’s right, I’m shy enough that I’d rather push my own cart than make conversation with the kid half my age.)

  50. 50
    Angela October 10, 2007 at 3:27 pm #

    Yahoooo!!!!!!!!!!! Thats totally great. I’m glad its finally here/there/wherever!

  51. 51
    Liza October 10, 2007 at 4:00 pm #

    Congratulations, Mir!

    BTW, the Publix baggers and cart-haulers are actually not allowed to take tips. I tell you what, when I was pregnant, I almost never went anywhere else. And I live 5 minutes from the Dekalb Farmers Market, aka the most amazing and gigantic source of delicious food on earth.

  52. 52
    liz October 10, 2007 at 4:04 pm #

    Publix really is “Where Shopping is a Pleasure!”

    - Free cookie for the kid at the bakery
    - Free balloons at check out almost every time
    - The world’s most awesomest rotisserie chicken
    - NICE PEOPLE
    - Free copies of the Haggadah at Passover

    I heart publix…

  53. 53
    Zee October 10, 2007 at 4:09 pm #

    We have no Publix here either, but it sounds like an orgasmic shopping experience! ;-) We do have New Seasons Markets, which are local to Oregon only and they are Fabulous in the way you describe, except they don’t insist upon accompanying you to your car… They have The BEST deli ever.

    Maybe you’ll see an improvement in your local Kroger now that they’ve got some competition?

  54. 54
    Jan in Norman OK October 10, 2007 at 4:11 pm #

    OK — how old am I?! When I was a child, living in west Texas or southeastern New Mexico, my mother would tell the bag-boy to “put the groceries in the pink Oldsmobile.” Nobody ever bothered to lock their cars in the parking lot.

    Here we have not one but two, count ‘em, two Super WalMarts. And a SuperTarget. Although they both have a lot of what they have, they never seem to have anything … nutritious.

    We used to have Albertsons but Homeland bought them out and the quality and selection of fresh produce and meat has been dwindling.

    Publix could make out like bandits here. …sigh

  55. 55
    Tina October 10, 2007 at 4:32 pm #

    I find it ironic that your experience at the new Publix is the same experience I had when the new Kroger opened here. Maybe it’s a “new” thing?

  56. 56
    Jennifer October 10, 2007 at 4:33 pm #

    I can’t believe how insanely jealous I am right now. It’s unhealthy really. I found myself nodding in understanding over your description of your Kroger, as it sound just like my evil nemesis, Food City.

    Jealous of your high falutin’ Publix, I am.

  57. 57
    Carrie October 10, 2007 at 4:38 pm #

    We love Publix! My DD (age 4) has made friends of the baggers at our local Publix. They seem to remember her each time we go and that makes a difference. The other grocery stores in town couldn’t care less about remembering their regular shoppers.

  58. 58
    Nothing But Bonfires October 10, 2007 at 5:06 pm #

    Oh my god, I used to love the Publix in Charleston. I would go there on my lunch break JUST TO LOOK AROUND. They have this awesome ham at the deli counter that I’ve never seen anywhere else: it’s sun-dried tomato and rosemary or something, and you should definitely get it (ask them to slice it super thin!) When they show you how thin they’ve sliced it to see if it’s okay with you, they offer you the piece they’re holding up! Like to eat! For free!

    As great as the Publix was, though, when they opened a WHOLE FOODS in Charleston, the free-range organic brown eggs really hit the fan. I think I saw EVERYONE I’d ever met at the opening party. And talk about doing it up right — THERE WAS A BAND AND A DANCE FLOOR IN THE BAKERY SECTION.

  59. 59
    Kate October 10, 2007 at 5:12 pm #

    You people with your grocery stores! I live 20 miles from a store and it’s a Wal-mart. If I want to shop anywhere else, I have to take a ferry to the “mainland”. Fortunately, since we live around a bunch of organic farms, we get our milk, meat and eggs that way, but man, do I miss Target, Costco, and my favorite grocery store. LUCKY!

  60. 60
    Shash October 10, 2007 at 5:15 pm #

    You HAVE to have their fried chicken! From the deli.

    Deeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelicious. I kid you not.

    Their potato salad is really good too.

    I’m so glad you have a Publix. Personally, I think it is better than Stop and Shop.

    Mir, let them take your cart to your car. I actually missed that when I lived up north. Such a nice treat!

    Best part about Publix? They have BOAR’S HEAD meats in their deli. Best stuff EVER! Pricier, but very worth the price.

    Shash

  61. 61
    AKD October 10, 2007 at 5:26 pm #

    Our local Albertson’s just turned into a Lucky overnight and all the workers there seemed very chipper and happy and new when they opened again. I didn’t notice a huge difference in the store though. I was pleased that Lucky doesn’t have a stupid “club card” to get the sale prices. Do they have developmentally disabled baggers at Publix? They had a few at Albertson’s, and at the local Safeway – I hope Lucky does too.

  62. 62
    Jen October 10, 2007 at 7:01 pm #

    Wow, grocery shopping seems very different in the US of A! Here, we have no problem getting milk (we call it full fat, semi-skimmed or skimmed, oh and the organic versions too), and bread and cakes are very often baked on the premises as well as the pre-packaged stuff. But the very best thing about grocery shopping in the UK is the ONLINE shopping offered by all the big stores. Now THAT is what I call grocery shopping! And I can go online and get coupon codes before I shop so I don’t even pay for delivery any more.

  63. 63
    Jaime October 10, 2007 at 7:05 pm #

    I LOVE Publix!!!

  64. 64
    carolyn October 10, 2007 at 7:17 pm #

    I’m glad you finally got a Publix. I have two within 10 minutes from my home and it is a luxury I didn’t realize I was missing until they got here. When I first starting going to Publix, I felt sure that their wonderful friendliness and great customer service couldn’t possibly last, but it has been about 5 years, and Publix is still the cleanest, nicest, friendliest (and other -est words I can’t think of)store in the area. NOTHING compares to Publix.

  65. 65
    Kristy October 10, 2007 at 7:55 pm #

    yay! I heart Publix!

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    Chuck October 10, 2007 at 8:04 pm #

    I’ve heard Publix is a very good store. But the Kroger near me is quite good also…they sell hormone-free milk, organic milk, and I’ve never had a problem with their produce or meat. Of course, this particular Kroger is located in an area with lots of expensive real estate, so perhaps they put an extra effort into things there. Never had anyone offer to help me take my bags to my car, though.

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    TTB October 10, 2007 at 8:38 pm #

    When I first read your blog today, I had NO IDEA what I Publix was. I’m thinking, “What the … ?” But now I wish I had one … [looks up to the stars above and prays REALLY hard, "Please, please, please, can I have one too??"] Our local gig sucks. Especially with their “produce”. Cross your fingers for me!

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    Karen Rani October 10, 2007 at 9:34 pm #

    ..I tell you what….you’re channeling Dr. Phil.

    That grocery WILL annoy you – all that friendly is unhealthy. But YAY! on the milk!

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    Carolyn October 10, 2007 at 9:47 pm #

    I love the Dekalb Farmer’s Market, our Harry’s Farmer’s Market used to be as good until they sold out to Whole Foods.
    Every time I go into Publix in the morning it reminds me of the opening scene of Beauty and the Beast when the townspeople greet each other and say good morning. They all say “good morning” and make me feel like Belle! (and I am married to the beast! especially in the morning)

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    Kate October 10, 2007 at 10:28 pm #

    We don’t have Publix, but every time I visit my brother in Georgia, I make him take me there for lunch because I love the subs from their deli that much. They also make delicious cakes. You are so lucky!

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    Jenna October 11, 2007 at 12:02 am #

    Well, I have never heard of a Publix, but I want one! Sounds like a dream! Your “dude, it’s 8:10 in the morning” about the cajun crab dip made me laugh out loud. Good one. And the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory reference. You’re very funny, and such a great writer. I love to visit your blog.

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    Angel October 11, 2007 at 1:37 am #

    Publix ROCKS. And the cajun crab dip is yummmmmmmmy…..

    I just wish we had the new “Organic Publix” store near us. But the Greenwise stuff is great.

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    Cele October 11, 2007 at 2:15 am #

    I gave up milk years ago due to PMS, but my husband makes up for me. At $4 a gallon, he’d be giving up the milk too and either buying a cow or drinking more water. I can’t imagine $8 a gallon.

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    Lisa C. October 11, 2007 at 7:14 am #

    I am laughing at this post because your Publix sounds just like the Kroger I shop at (in the Dallas area) all the time! :) Including the Boar’s Head meat, free cookies, samples, etc.

    However, I have experienced…. other Krogers. For example, when I was working on contract in Houston, the only store we were allowed to shop in was a Kroger where they only had gray meat and rotten veggies. We ate a lot of tuna and prepackaged foods. So I believe you on your Kroger experience!

    It is a little known fact that most milk does not have hormones in it. My husband was a quality control scientist for one of the major national dairies and he assures me that they test for hormones in the milk, and send back whole tankers if they detect ANY hormones at all. And the dairy he worked for was the dairy that supplied the milk to all Wal-Marts. So when you are buying generic Wal-Mart milk, you are getting hormone free ***major brand name dairy*** milk in a Wal-Mart package. No lie. They put the same milk in different packaging and sell it for different prices.

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    Sophia October 11, 2007 at 8:45 am #

    We live in the South Florida area & have a million Publix stores here. (Honestly, they’re like Starbucks & pharmacies-one on each corner.) We LOVE Publix. Plus, they do TONS of great things for the community and each Publix sponsors a local school. We’ve got one that sponsors our school and it’s provided us with a fruitful (no pun intented) partnership.

    Enjoy the wonders of Publix; Where Shopping Is A Pleasure!

    PS. The talapia is the SCORE at Publix. Also, when they have mahi-mahi on sale (too expensive otherwise), it is very, very, very good. I highly recommend it!

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    Sophia October 11, 2007 at 8:48 am #

    Mir, I forgot to mention that Publix pays kids (teenagers) especially to bag, carry and load your groceries. You’ll notice there is a sign asking NOT to provide tips to these kids. (I always do anyway.) But really, it would be ok if you let them do it once in a while.

    PS Again: I second the notion that they have the best cakes, subs and deli.

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    Suebob October 11, 2007 at 9:07 am #

    Yay for good grocery stores. Mine is so goofy. The fish department smells like death and there is usually someone getting caught for shoplifting while I am in there…

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    Patricia October 11, 2007 at 9:22 am #

    I’m out of the country and can’t read the comments, but I have two very important things to share about Publix:

    1. Publix put me through college. We love them deeply and I never even had to work for them to get them to pay a heavy portion!!
    2. They want to take your cart out because they can control carts roaming the parking lot. This is also a highly common in the south to help load a car and something I find comforting and miss when I moved to the land of the yankee where I’m expecting to pushing my OWN cart with a bad wheel and load the car by myself. (I’m southern and do not wish to break a glow.)

    Hugs and enjoy *MY* second favorite grocer in the country (my fav is Wegman’s — but they aren’t that far south.)

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    amanda October 11, 2007 at 9:56 am #

    I love and miss my Publix in Anderson, SC from my college days. Waah, Publix. However, my local Safeway always offers to take my groceries out for me and they’re incredibly sweet and helpful in there. So, give Safeway a chance, people!

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    ikate October 11, 2007 at 12:31 pm #

    It’s so funny to read this because how you describe Publix is what our Kroger stores are like (at least the newer ones) her in northwestern Ohio. They even have a HUGE selection of store-brand organics, including milk! In my travels to the south, mostly to the Carolinas, GA and FL, Publix is okay – but I love Fresh Markets down there.

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    carson October 11, 2007 at 3:50 pm #

    Someone should have pointed you to the complimentary coffee. That’s one of the things I love about Publix. The closest one to me is a smallish one that caters to the “stop and pick up on your way home” crowd, but I’ve only once had them not carry something I needed. (What? They didn’t have the Herbal Breastfeeding Tea with fenugreek? And is that even how to spell fenugreek?) And if I shop before that crowd hits, outside of rush hour, the cashiers beg me to come through their lines. BEG ME. If I happen to go without my posse, they ask me about them.

    And I hate the Kroger, and only go there when I’m shopping at odd hours. My Publix closes at 10, the Kroger is open 24 hours. But it’s dimly lit, the aisles are too narrow, they turn over your shopping habits to Homeland Security because of the card you have to have to get sale items.

    People tell me Publix is more expensive. And it may be. But somethings are worth it. I figure I spend more time in the grocery store than I do in the bathroom, so that justifies it.

    Yeah, I am a Publix Fan Girl. I want a tote bag.

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    Clarissa October 11, 2007 at 5:54 pm #

    I suppose that I have gotten spoiled by living in Gainesville, FL. There are 8 Publix stores in our small 7 mile by 7 mile town. That is the experience I have every time I shop at my local Publix store. I don’t know if this is still the Publix slogan, but it used to read “Publix, Where shopping is a pleasure.”

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    kathy October 11, 2007 at 11:15 pm #

    Now you have to come to Mexico where you get free samples of vodka, tequila, whatever. :) enjoy the hormone free milk! that is one of many things we can’t get down here. but after shopping buzzed on tequila it doesn’t seem all that important anymore.

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    Eeek October 12, 2007 at 9:52 am #

    I never comment, but for the love of Publix now I will. Greenwise is Publix’s organic line and where I live they just opened up a whole store of just Greenwise; it’s like Whole Foods, but CHEAPER!
    They had their grand opening and people had to park down the street and take shuttles to get into the store. I swear that I waited a few days. Insanity, but the prettiest, happiest grocery store I have ever been in. I love Publix way too much!

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    Anne October 15, 2007 at 11:19 am #

    When I lived in FL, I used to walk to our local publix about a mile away to get stuff for dinner. When they asked, “Do you need help out with your purchases?” I’d jokingly answer, “Sure, if you don’t mind walking a mile.” Hehehe… Only had one bagger ever answer me, “Sure. I could use the break.”

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