Publix: British food section

One of the nice things about our neighborhood is proximity to grocery stores. We are within a short drive of three. We’re not so keen on the Piggly Wiggly, which is our closest grocery store. We’ve always liked the Winn-Dixie at Montgomery’s Worst Intersection™ and its recent remodel (the subject of an upcoming post) has made it even better. Winn-Dixie does double coupons every day. They give generously to local neighborhood associations in support of community picnics and other events. Their website has the predictable “sustainability” page to rep their corporate green credentials, but if you look a little closer, boy are there a lot of weird links on there. To personal blogs, some of which seem to be organized around selling stuff on Etsy. This makes me like Winn-Dixie more. Also the people who work there are super nice.

But there are some things you just can’t get at the Winn-Dixie. Like the various vegetarian products we need to get our daily hexane intake. Publix just has a bigger selection of veggie dogs (the cheapo Smart Dogs as well as the larger, more expensive ones). They have tempeh, and even though they stopped carrying the good tempeh (the kind that didn’t come pre-marinated), they are still the only tempeh game in town. Finally, perhaps because Publix is larger, there are a lot of things they sell that Winn-Dixie does not. Like Arborio rice. And fresh-baked bagels (well, sometimes). And ponzu sauce.

Let’s say that you want to get some ponzu sauce, perhaps to mix with sambal oelek and lemon wedges for delightful spicy edamame like your friend Amber makes. In this case, you would go to Publix’s ethnic foods zone where you would find items for Asian foods (including a new and expanded Indian food section), items for “Hispanic” foods (including not a single decent jarred salsa – RIP Bruno’s if only for your bountiful supply of Mrs. Renfro’s Habanero Salsa), and the newest addition to the Publix Ethnic Rainbow: what seems to be a British Food Section.

That’s right. British food. Because there is a large collection of expats here in Montgomery jonesing for salad cream and traditional onions? Because the store somehow ended up with a surplus of strangely flavored HP sauces? You can’t get an organically grown potato this side of the Boulevard but you can buy several flavors of Malteasers? Is this for real? The first time we saw it, we were pretty sure the section was a joke – maybe some kind of grocery store hack. We grabbed a ginger beer and giggled. Which ginger beer was awesome and is now, in classic Publix style, no longer stocked.


7 responses to “Publix: British food section

  1. I never noticed the British food at Publix. I did see the Nutella and Vegemite, though.

    What about the SuperFoods on McGehee? I love that place (closer than Publix, too). It makes me feel like I’ve gone back in time about 30 years.

  2. Unfortunately, Super Foods is not always less expensive than Publix.

    Yes, SuperFoods is stuck in basic groceries. I certainly wouldn’t buy meat there.

  3. All you had to say was Montgomery’s Worst Intersection™ and I was on the same page with you.

    I used to shop at that WD when I lived in Cloverdale. I once spoke with the store manager about creating a bicycle-friendly cut-through from the neighborhood (I got “grazed” by a work-truck as I scampered from Watson Ave. down the aptly-named Narrow Lane Road). The idea was shot down of course (the expense was too much for them to consider just for one mousy, whiny girl on a bike), but it was a very amicable rejection.

    I’m surprised by this entry. WD has a pretty bad reputation in Montgomery – especially compared to Publix.

    I never realized people talked about grocery stores so much.

    Joe Birdwell (of Eat Gump) actually just blogged about Publix –

  4. Pingback: LiM Tries It: Treacle « Lost in Montgomery

  5. May 30,2010
    Publix has employee attitude problems. My husband had the worst shopping experience there yesterday. I had asked for Boar’s Head turkey slices and he was trying to get the girl behind the counter to help him. In the middle of what he was asking her she answered the phone FOR A PERSONAL CALL, then walked away when she hung up. My husband called out to her again and she slouched over and huffed. He asked for her manager and she yelled across the aisles for her. When she came up and he was explaining to her the first girl’s comment was “They ain’t gonna do nothing to me.” When her manager did nothing he asked for the store manager. When he came it was again explained and was followed by a blank look and then, “Oh, come on over and I’ll help you.” He missed the point entirely! My husband told him “No thanks, I have had enough of Publix for the day.” He went down to the next block and went to Winn-Dixie. He was greeted when he walked in, the store was super clean and nicely stocked, and every one who worked there was very helpful and friendly — no attitudes. He said he wasn’t going back to the Publix again. Looks as Winn-Dixie has cleaned up their act. This was the Vaughn Road stores. I wish I knew how to get to the big boys to let them know how Publix is slipping. We will now shop only Winn Dixie and Fresh Market.

  6. Send an E mail to Publix’ headquarters. I’ve done this on the very few times that service or products were substandard, and I received a prompt, polite response every time.

  7. Just went to the Piggly Wiggly on Court and Fairview. It was a really notable experience. I would love to read your take on it.

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