I ran into the grocery store for one thing: a bag of brown rice.
I cut through the produce department, curved past the wine, took a left at seafood — and stopped dead in my tracks.
You know that feeling when you miss a step on the stairs?
Where I was expecting to see a shelf full of coffee, there was no coffee.
There was not even a shelf.
Instead there was a thing that looked sort of like a flying saucer, filled with bacon and mustard.
Dang it. They rearranged the Publix.
Came in here for two things (I just remembered I need eggs) and now I’m going to have to hunt for them.
Bacon and mustard sound pretty good together.
Stop. Must focus. Must find rice.
I started to retrace my regular route through the store.
The cereal was in the same aisle, just moved to the middle. Ooooo, Chocolate Comet Crispies. Are those new?
Where there was coffee, there is now soy milk … and hemp milk … and oat milk … and “Milkadamia.”
Where there was juice, there is Gatorade.
Where there was pudding, there are pickles.
The candy is now with the soda (sugar begets sugar).
The chips are now with the beer (OK, that makes sense).
Where there were greeting cards, there are now pet supplies. (I could tell because the “Expressions from Hallmark” sign hadn’t been moved yet. It was hanging above the cat litter.)
The ice cream was still in the same place. Which is good, because that was one of the three things I ran in here to get.
I was so unsettled by the new layout of the store that I called the corporate office to ask why, why had they taken away this one small measure of predictability in an increasingly chaotic world?
“In a nutshell, every five years we evaluate what we need to do to update or upgrade a store,” said Publix spokesperson Brenda Reid.
“New products come on the market. Sometimes a whole new category will come on the market. We have to adjust the shelves to make them fit. Every now and then we have to reflow the whole store.
“That’s what happened to your store,” she said.
As I was finishing my journey through the Upside Down Publix, I turned onto the final aisle on what used to be my predictable route.
They had moved the bottled water, but not the eggs.
The bread and butter were in their usual places.
One question still loomed.
No they hadn’t.
They had not moved my cheese.
Lisa Davis is Features Editor of The Anniston Star. Contact her at 256-235-3555 or email@example.com.