My Local Publix is Awesome
A week and a half or so ago, I did my monthly shopping trip into the town about 30 miles away. I live in a very small rural town, which does have a grocery store, but some items are SO expensive, that it’s often worth it for me to shop elsewhere if I need more than just milk and other basics (though their meat sales are awesome). They also don’t have very many gluten-free options, besides what is naturally so (and Chex! yay!). So I take a long drive with a ton of kids in tow, and we make a day out of grocery shopping. Everyone comes back exhausted from all the searching, scanning aisles, the long drive, all the walking, and just brain fogged and the heat!
Part of this is because it’s literally a search in every single aisle of Publix to find something.
So I emailed my local Publix’s manager after our last trip. I didn’t get anything back. Then last night I got a phone call!
The manager wanted to talk to me about a whole bunch of different things, and to also tell me she’d taken at least one of my suggestions to heart and was going to implement it. Plus, adding a few additional foods I’d suggested! We talked for maybe 20 minutes, and she told me she’d been on vacation and didn’t get my letter until last Friday. But she wanted to make sure all her ducks were in a row before she called me. She said that she’d been getting a lot of complaints lately about the fact that you literally had to search the whole store for the GF food. Some is in the diabetic section, some in the baking section. It’s crazy. I’ve gotten so upset, using my months allowance on stuff I wouldn’t have bought if I’d had a better choice (quinoa macaroni noodles) then finding Tinkyada noodles in the diabetic section. The manager told me that even if the food was half eaten, that if I thought it was gross, found a better product at the store, whatever, that she knew I shopped there, and they’d take it back for the full price returned so I could get what I really wanted, but couldn’t find.
The manager told me she’s got a ton more gluten-free food in the warehouse, but they just simply don’t have room for it at the moment. She also said she’s getting the materials together to build an extra 8-10 feet on the Health Food section, to make a single GF section. She said until then, things are going to have to be all mixed in together, but she loved my idea to her about putting out ‘eye grabbers’ I think she called them. You know, the brightly colored signs that stick out and say *75% off* or *On Sale*, but instead, they are going to stay *Gluten-Free* How cool is that?!
So I’ve never met any other Celiacs here, I’ve started a group on Yahoogroups for local Celiacs, but this gives me hope that our Publix is being so cool and accommodating. Maybe I ought to put up a sign advertising the group there! It’d be so lovely to have a potluck where I could eat everything and my kids could play with other kids who ate gluten-free as well. (I’d also love to start a Celiacs club for people who need a support person at the hospital – but that’s another post)
I’m so so happy with the manager at Publix. It’s lovely to know that she really cares about her customers, and will really think about what they said. It’s also nice to know that our GF section is just going to get bigger and better! It may be a longer drive to Publix for me than some other places, but she’s definitely pulling me away from them! She also told me that I didn’t need to go to the Asian food store if I’d just tell her what I wanted. I laughed and told her that she could definitely get ahold of Mochiko, but Cassava flour was probably beyond her (and she wouldn’t want to go to all the trouble for something that wouldn’t give her much return).
Also, if you guys would give me a list of things you just cannot live without as far as GF things go. My list includes Pamela’s bread mix and Tinkyada noodles. Plus Mi-Del Arrowroot and Ginger cookies. But we haven’t had much of a chance to get new GF items and just try them out because of where we live (no trader joes or health food stores) so some suggestions for me, to suggest to the Publix Manager would be great!
Overall, I’m just tickled pink by the whole thing. It’s so nice to see that people really do care.