Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Survivor ~ Groceries For More? Or Less...


Publix was always the more upscale supermarket chain here in South Florida, with newer looking cleaner stores and the best selection of fresh fruits and vegetables. They outlasted Food Fair and Pantry Pride, Grand Union is gone, and Wynn Dixie is down to just a few stores, although they seem to be the newer larger ones. "Membership stores" like Sam's Club and Costco, along with Walmart, have the best prices but few stores, so they're not a place to just run in to pick up a few things on the way home from work. They're a destination, ideal for doing a weekly trip for a large family.

Recently a new chain, President, has started taking over stores vacated by the other chains as they move to newer quarters or just pack their tents and slink out of town. The stores look like they've been there forever and aren't exactly as neat and clean as you'd hope. Yet Publix, all neat and sparkling with new or freshly renovated markets, along with prices to match, continues to prosper. The choice is really down to just Publix or President if you even have a nearby President.

Every year the newspapers and TV stations tell us to stock up on things like canned goods, crackers, and other non-perishables for hurricane season. You don't want a freezer full of food spoiling for lack of electricity. At least canned beans and tunafish are edible at room temperature or can be heated on a camping stove. People rush out to stock up, price be damned!

I take a different tack. Publix is a big believer in buy-one-get-one-free promotions, and for some odd reason these seem to coincide with what coupons are in the Sunday Herald. If you have two coupons to save fifty cents on Ritz crackers you can still use the one for the "free" box to save a total of another dollar on the one you have to pay for! I stock up for hurricane season year 'round, and Publix is the place to do that. Yesterday, on a quick trip to the market, I bought $38.99 worth of food for $28.22, saving $10.66. The girls at the register see me coming and always comment on my buying habits, how much I manage to save week after week. Thank you Publix!

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