Publix: "Supermarketing on Anastasia Island" Saint Augustine Shopping Tip by barkybite

Saint Augustine Shopping: 19 reviews and 27 photos

  Front End
by barkybite

This is about Publix, specifically the Anastasia Island store. This is one of the highest-volume supermarkets in the area, with a greater selection of items than, for example, the Moultrie Square or World Golf Publix stores. This one has a one-hour photo center, sushi counter, and an extremely active delicatessen. At lunchtime, the custom sandwich line generally has a cluster of eight or ten folks waiting.

The image throughout Florida is that Publix has clean and neat stores, courteous employees, fresh merchandise and high prices. The first three images hold true, the last is unfair and untrue. Unlike Wal-Mart, which strives to offer low prices across the board, Publix has generally higher prices (by ten to fifteen percent) across the board. But every week they feature several dozen "Advantage Buys." These will beat Wal-Mart and the other competition most of the time. Shoppers paying attention and planning meals around advertised specials will come out very well in comparisons of food expenditures.

Checking out is a fairly efficient process, except for a few things. Clerks are trained to highlight the "You saved" line at the bottom of the sales receipt, and then read it to the departing customer. Time consuming, and of dubious marketing value, in my opinion. The express lanes seem to be the first to close when things slow down, a public-relations poor practice. Although the scanners are programmed to efficiently read vendor coupons, most of the clerks insist on reading each one as if the company was not going to be reimbursed. They get annoyingly officious if the expiration date was two days prior!

If you find that the scanner rung higher than the correct shelf price for any item (except alcohol and tobacco items), the Customer Service clerk will give you one of those items free (and refund the difference on any additional identical items). They call this policy the "Publix Promise."

What to buy: Regarding the range of products at Publix, it is probably superior to all the competition. Their own brand rates highly in consumer comparisons. They are particularly proud of Publix ice cream, which is dispensed exclusively in freestanding "Crispers" restaurants near many of the newer Publix stores. Most national brands are carried, including Boar's Head deli meats. Non-food items such as pet foods, health and beauty aids, and cleaning supplies are merchandised in the same way as edibles, with Advantage Buys and seasonal features. Ethnic specialties such as Hispanic foods, Kosher items, and organic foods are represented, but not with the breadth serious followers of one of those diets would desire. Customer Service personnel generally will special order when requested. In the past year, as the Atkins and South Beach crazes have spread, new low-carbohydrate items have been added nearly each day.

This particular store is big on the various party trays and pre-cooked entrees in keeping with the needs of one of their important groups of customers--tourists at beach hotels and condos.

What to pay: The company currently touts a "no membership card required" policy. It is the only chain in town (other than the discount superstores) to stick with that policy in a day when electronic tracking of customer purchases is important to front office marketing departments. Instead, Publix sends special coupons to Baby Club members, prints several in most of the weekly flyers, and occasionally mails them to targeted neighborhoods. Don't bank on the "no card" (or any other) policy going forward, however. The company once made a big issue of how they always would close on Sunday for the benefit of their employees. Evenutally they succomed to competitive pressures and made a big ballyhoo about how they were making the change to "better serve their customers." A policy of honoring competitor coupons is not chain-wide, and seems to be posted only in lower-traffic stores. Carrying your bags to the parking lot is a posted courtesy, but offers of tips are seldom refused.

Address: 1033 A1A Beach Bouldvard, Saint Augustine Beach
Directions: (There are six other Publix Supermarkets in St. Johns County; 615 in Florida, 153 in Georgia, 35 in South Carolina, and 26 in Alabama and Tennesse).
Theme: Food and Drink

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated May 29, 2005
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