An article in the Tampa Bay Times sounded the alarm that Publix no longer hands out that wonderful complimentary slice of roast beef or cheddar to sample for the proper thinness when you place your order. "Some of Publix's stores are quietly putting a stop to the practice of the free slice, creating an awkward silence while you wait for your free meat. If you want it, now you have to ask," the Times reported.
According to Maria Brous, director of media and community relations for the Lakeland-based grocery chain, Publix is implementing a pilot program at Lakeland locations only. And the program actually sounds pretty good. "We are offering customers a free slice of cheese-of-the-week when they come to the counter."
But what about the deli meat? Although Lakeland-area customers won't be given an automatic piece of turkey or salami, they can simply request one. "If they would like to try anything in the case, they just have to ask," Brous says.
Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties have nothing to worry about, according to Brous. "The Miami program is not changing a bit." That means you'll still get your thick-sliced turkey or shaved ham to sample when you go to the store.
Will that free cheese-of-the-week come to South Florida? "I don't know whether we will expand or not. We're just piloting," she says.
In case you're wondering, cookies are still free at every Publix bakery. "We still have the cookie program in every division. That's a staple. We still offer our customers and their children a cookie."
Other things that remain status quo at Publix: bagging, helping customers to their cars, and killer subs. "We're always committed to the customer experience." And free cookies!