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The grocery store conflict

POSTED: March 10, 2011 11:50 a.m.

I can't stop going to Publix. I want to stop. My wallet wants me to stop. And I'm sure "the other grocery store" would welcome my return. I've thought about quitting Publix many times. I've even formulated plans. But the thought of braving the overcrowded, messy "other store" and putting up with their ... ummm, less-than-polite employees when I could be shopping at clean, organized Publix while being greeted by their courteous, thoughtful staffers keeps foiling my plan.
 
Before Publix opened a store approximately two miles from my house in December, "the other store" was pretty much my only option (I don't live in Liberty County). I will admit, "the other store's" prices can't be beat. Sure, Publix has a few good "buy one, get one" deals, but when it comes to all the everyday purchases -- food, household goods, toiletries, etc. -- it's hard to top the other place's discounts and bargains.
 
I keep telling myself I'll only go to Publix when I need one or two things. I must reserve the big, all-inclusive grocery-shopping trips for "the other store." The problem is, when I drop into Publix for "one or two things," I always manage to walk out with a cartful. I can't help it -- they have so many neat things at Publix! I get sidetracked by the amazing gourmet treats such as cheesy, tomato-onion shicaccia bread (yeah, you read that right -- it's shicaccia, not focaccia), pre-skewered shish kabobs and petite quiche florentine. I justify the splurges by telling myself, "It's OK. It's not like you could get these things at 'the other store' at a cheaper price. Buy them here." And I'm right. At "the other store," you're lucky if you can get decent-quality cheese, tomatoes and onions; that place would probably never have the common sense to combine all those items into a mouthwatering, doughy, baked-to-perfection treat!
 
I'm not trying to slam "the other store." I've been assisted at that store plenty of times by helpful employees, but I've also had my fair share of run-ins with the non-helpful variety. In addition, the other shoppers at "the other store" aren't always very nice. I once was in an aisle with a woman who was standing directly in front of the item I wanted to put in my cart. It became clear to me immediately that I also was standing right in front of the item she wanted to look at. I politely scooted over and said, "Excuse me." She didn't even look up, mumbled, "Uh huh," and continued to block my access to the item I wanted. I believe it was obvious to her that she was inconveniencing me as I just stood there with my arms folded, staring at her, but she didn't offer to move as I had for her. She didn't even acknowledge me. Ummm, RUDE!
 
No kidding -- I had the exact same thing happen at Publix (OK, two people trying to navigate the same aisle in a grocery store really isn't that uncommon). But at Publix, the other shopper made eye contact with me, smiled and said, "Excuse me," before I could! Stunned, I nearly forgot to excuse myself and move out of her way. I recovered quickly though and happily made my way to the next aisle with the satisfying knowledge that mutual courtesy might just be worth slightly higher prices!

 

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