Saturday, 10 January 2009

The Bloodsport of Shopping at Publix!!

I am not a terribly competitive person by nature. Opinionated, yes! Expressive in my thoughts? Absolutely! But, competitive? Not so much. I play for the fun of the game. I enjoy the strategy and the machinations, but the outcome is not really an issue for me as long as the game has been played by the rules and fairly. (In the interest of absolute transparency, I should offer the following caveat. When it comes to games of trivia, all bets are off. In those cases, it is every person for themselves and I promise you that I will show no mercy!!!) But, I find myself in a whole other game-playing dimension when thrown into the ring of hand-to hand combat. This occurs every single time I undertake a shopping trip to Publix on Hallandale Beach Boulevard.

This is the den of the devil; the pit of mass destruction. One better be prepared for all comers, else one perish. Octogenarians armed with canes and carts engaging in wheelies in the aisles. Single mothers attempting to corral escaping children with snot-filled noses with one hand, while tossing boxes of sugared cereal with the other. Women screaming obscenities at the deli counter along with their orders for roast turkey. God help the wait person who slices 12 pieces instead of 10! Scooter driving maniacs who are better suited for Daytona, than a residential grocery store and check-out staff whose faces bear the scars of verbal encounters in several languages. This is Darwinian shopping; shopping where meekness cannot be tolerated and only the strong survive. 

I drip with perspiration at the very thought of my descending into the bowels of the beast. I psyche myself up for the task at hand, and I head out into the fray with a self-promise to stay patient and aware at all times. This will be the time that I survive intact. This will be the time that I don't get rammed from behind by an old lady hopped up on caffeine. This will be the time that I don't get pushed over by an obese, sweating man at the bakery counter. This is my time and my time is now! Armed with my list, (NEVER, EVER go to Publix without a list! It is like baking without a recipe. Disaster will certainly ensue!) my people and I headed out for our confrontation with the enemy. You all should have seen us! We were like a finally tuned offense. Three carts working in tandem. When one stopped, the others kept moving, scouting, looking for deals. When one needed to search for coupons, (the coupon fetish down here is a whole other post!) the others provided cover and shelter. When the old man brandishing his cane as a weapon shouted at me in a voice reminiscent of "The Shining", "MOVE!!", I silently complied so as to avoid a beating, all the while the other members of my team were loading up. We glided up and down the aisles with military precision; we took no shit and we took no prisoners. We were in a word-SPECTACULAR! Any of today's NFL playoff teams would have been left slack-jawed at our synchronicity. I felt like patting them all on their butts and giving them all a high-five. Way to go team!

I can't promise that my next trip into the lion's den will have as positive an outcome, but just for today I feel as though I have won the Super Bowl. 


  1. Here's a high-five back at you! I used to shop at that Publix! What you say is absolutely true. My strategy (even in South Miami) is to get there when they open. If you wait until even just one hour after that, you're done for. It does build character and it could be good for people-watching, too. Just think! If you hadn't had the experience, you wouldn't have had the (hopefully) enjoyable outlet of writing it all down to entertain others. Thanks for the laugh, and the fundamental truth of what shopping there is like. Jenn S.

  2. Dawn, really enjoyed your post. While I have not shopped at your Publix, I have shopped many times at the one in Boca. All I can tell you is "shopping is NOT a pleasure." The one part of the story you omitted is actually the most treacherous part of the experience, which is getting in and out of the parking lot.

    First, there is NO ONE (I repeat... no one) who does not have a handicapped permit. Second, NO ONE is handicapped. I have yet to see anyone come out of those cars in a wheelchair who can not walk. (Cursed be the poor doctor who denies the request for one of those permits, for fear of being blacklisted.) Hell, why don't they make the entire lot handicapped? Third, putting your blinker on to indicate you are waiting for a spot is akin to being a wounded wildebeest on the prairies of the Serengeti.

    And finally, when did it become okay to walk behind a car backing out of a space? "I dare you to hit me!" Everybody down there must know a shyster.

    Other than that, I had a great trip to Florida. How about you?

  3. Adam,
    You are so right, but somehow I think that the drivers down here deserve their own special post. Parking in Publix is only the half of it!

  4. I don't know Dawn. What could be so bad...I remember a certain "masseuse" offering us guys her services while shopping there one evening....