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6 Warnings to Shoppers From Ex-Publix Employees

The "shopping is a pleasure" slogan may not always be true.

For those in the know, Publix is the grocery store "where shopping is a pleasure." The popular supermarket chain was founded in 1930 in Winter Haven, Florida by George W. Jenkins as Publix Food Store. Ten years later, he opened a larger store called Publix Super Market. It was hailed as a "food palace" for its many innovations, including marble, air conditioning, and fluorescent lighting. Since then, it's expanded all over the Southeast, with more than 1,300 supermarkets known for their healthy options, delightful bakeries full of custom cakes, and the freshest sub sandwiches. But there could be more than meets the eye with this chain. Read on to discover warnings from former Publix employees.

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Beware of this common scam.

A close up of signage at a Publix grocery store
Shutterstock / Bruce VanLoon

If the person checking out in front of you asks for help buying their groceries, you might be inclined to purchase some of their items as a good Samaritan. Sadly, sometimes it's a lie.

"I worked at Publix and it was a common scam," Redditor EaglesNest694U shared, adding that it's been going on for decades. "Mostly seasonal folks coming down and purchasing 'medicine' and 'essentials' that they then sold or returned."

Of course, sometimes people truly are in need, so the Redditor suggests looking at the items being purchased to see if they can be easily returned. "Buying rotisserie chicken and bread doesn't appear to be the items that they would return or resell." In these cases, your generous instincts are probably right.

Don't try to tip employees.

Publix Grocery Store Worker Returning carts To Store From parking lot with Face Mask

Publix employees often go above and beyond, offering to carry your groceries and get them in your car. But unfortunately, employees are unable to accept tips for this extra help.

Ex-employee Jack Petocz went viral on TikTok when he made a video about his experience working for the grocery chain. "They didn't want us bringing out groceries to seem like a service to customers, so they made us wear this badge which told customers to not tip us," he explains.

The badge read "Carryout service is our pleasure. No tipping, please." However, as Petocz notes, "I was doing this work for $8.50 an hour in 100-degree heat."

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A lot of food goes to waste.

The fresh produce aisle of a grocery store with colorful fresh fruits and vegetables ready to be purchased by consumers.

According to former produce section employee, a ton of perfectly good food goes to waste at the grocery chain.

"There was a donation truck that would come once a week, but every dept just threw stuff away to save freezer space," @KeexieWeexie wrote on Twitter. "Our whole store would prolly [sic] only give 10-20 boxes of various food to donations vs the $1000s worth of food thrown away each week (in my dept alone!!!)."

The ex-employee says the organic products and juice were not able to be donated, and the freshly cut fruit and packaged products would get thrown out the day before their sell-by date.

You're probably overbuying.

The wine aisle sign at a Publix grocery store with a variety of wines from various vineyards.

If you see a two-for-one discount, you might automatically throw both items in your cart, regardless of whether you need more than one. But this is unnecessary according to one ex-employee.

"Something I learned while I worked at Publix that I would've gone my entire life without knowing – you don't have to buy multiples of any item to get the discount 😭 like if they're 2 for $5, one will cost $2.50 on it's own," @tinnkky tweeted. This isn't the case at all supermarket chains.

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Don't hold back your compliments.

publix deli counter
Mahmoud Suhail / Shutterstock

A little kindness always goes a long way, but at Publix, it might get an employee free lunch.

On Twitter, a user said they heard that if you compliment an employee to a manager, that employee will get a coupon for a free sub. In response, @marcodupa said: "Can confirm as an ex Publix employee it's true. You have to give a name and be specific with your compliment and the employee will get a 'customer Compliment' good for half a sub."

You'll probably have to wait a while for a sandwich.

line at publix deli counter
Joni Hanebutt / Shutterstock

There's a reason the Publix deli counter doesn't use an automated ordering system like Wawa—they're all about interacting with customers. But that can lead to a much longer experience, especially if multiple people are in line.

"Policy definitely over-emphasizes 'making shopping a pleasure' and drags the entire process out into way too many steps," one former Publix deli worker said on Reddit.

The same goes for getting sliced cold cuts "because they bring you a slice to sample and they individually stack each slice of cheese on a separate piece of wax paper," adds a shopper with the username MajorOverMinorThird.

Of course, once your Pub sub arrives, it will be so good it'll make up for the wait.

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