We have Kroger, Aldi, and Ingles. Heck, we even have Wal-Mart and Sam's Club. But there is one grocery store that stands as a giant among all of them. What I consider as the gem of the American South, Publix is the grocery store that has everything from impeccable customer service to having the cleanest stores I've ever been to.
Much like Moses coming down high atop Mount Sinai to deliver the 10 commandments, so to does Publix come to us commoners bearing gifts of wisdom about all the wonderful changes other grocery stores stand to make if we could just tear ourselves away from the multi-national corporate teat of high fructose corn syrup and follow them into the promised land flowing with subs and southern charm. Here are eight reasons why Publix is the greatest grocery store on the planet:
1. The Cleanliness
The absolute first thing I always look for when going into a grocery store. I want, nay I need, the store where I get my food to be clean. I'd assume this is a high standard for everyone, but maybe this is just me being a hypochondriac or over-dramatic. But honestly, have you read Upton Sinclair's The Jungle? You should. It's gross and to give a fair warning, you probably won't eat meat for months afterward.
2. The Customer Service
Customer service is another thing I look for in a grocery store. I have been going to Publix my entire existence and not once have I ever had a bad experience. Every associate cares about your experience (or at the very least pretends to care, in that case, they're very good at it). They never want you to leave unhappy. One time, I was looking for hamburger meat that they usually sell that has bacon and cheddar in it, but it looked like they were all out. An associate came up to me, asked what was wrong and upon hearing my (very) upsetting story took the initiative to go in the back and make it for me. Seriously, bless you, Charlie.
This is drastically different with other grocery stores. I can't tell you how many times I've been to other grocery stores where the associate was so rude that I had to look behind me, under me, and behind their register to figure out who exactly they were talking to. So thank you, Publix, for caring (or at least pretending to care).
3. Worker Respect
I have many friends who work for Publix and virtually all of them can be heard singing sweet praises about the company's employee relations: decent pay, a respectable HR department, a wide array of benefits, etc. Of course you might always run into the occasional sigh over hours or pay, but the near-consensus is that Publix cares about their employees (shocking, I know). In a business culture that is driven by self-interest, companies tend to forget that if you treat your employees well, they will treat your customers well. What a concept. I admire Publix for their care of employees. Yes, I'm also a sucker for any company that treats their employees like (you guessed it) human beings.
4. TV Commercials
The Holidays are here and I don't think one could mentally prepare for the sappy, sentimental commercials that Publix airs. The kid giving his mom a cake for Valentine's Day? The family giving thanks for one another around the dinner table on Thanksgiving? Get those tissues ready. Every year, Publix makes these heart-wrenching commercials that make you feel all good inside.
Okay, I know what you all are thinking: "But Publix is a very expensive place to shop." Admittedly, in most cases this is true. Kroger down the street might have something for 50 cents cheaper but think about the other things you are getting in return: good customer service, supporting a company that treats its employees with decency, an impeccably clean store, etc. And when Publix has deals, let me tell you they have deals. I love when they have buy-one-get-one-free deals. Also, thank you Publix for not making me buy two of them in order to get the deal. I love paying for things for half off.
6. The Bakery
You have not fully lived if you have never been to a Publix bakery. Being the king of carbs that I am, this is my second favorite place. It has everything: Cakes, cookies, and every type of bread your little heart could desire (seeded, wheat, or, my personal favorite, french bread). I believe everyone should take home at least one loaf of french bread, put some butter, crunchy peanut butter, and grape jelly on it, and prepare to have a spiritual awakening. They also give free cookies out to kids. Please tell me what other grocery store does that.
7. The Deli
This is actually something that needs to be talked about. I'm not even sure where to start. For starters, this is my absolute favorite place in the entire store. Their sliced meat and cheeses are of the highest quality, their fried chicken is to die for, and they have blocks of some of the best cheeses. But hidden in the deli department along the wall of sliced meats and cheeses, there is what I consider the temple, the tabernacle, where all good things flow from: the sub-making section. Proof that there is indeed a God who loves us, Publix sub-sandwiches have been changing lives ever since they started making them. You decide what you want on your sandwich. No rules. No procedures. Just you and an associate working together in harmony like the ying-yang symbol to make a sandwich that will literally change you. Get one, you deserve it.