I’ve been doing almost all my grocery shopping at Publix over the last few months, and yesterday, I felt like I was Billy in a Family Circus cartoon.

I blame the cereal aisle.

The late Bil Keane (yes, that’s how he spelled his first name) drew Family Circus cartoons for years, and a highlight were the intricate mazes that he would draw depicting young Billy’s winding journeys.

Since the local Publix store started putting one-way directional arrows on its aisles, there were several seemingly out of kilter, and the first was the cereal aisle.

Once you finished in the produce section (because everyone starts in the produce section), you would expect the next aisle to keep you headed in a forward direction.

But the cereal aisle had other plans. You couldn’t make a left turn into the cereal aisle without going the wrong way. You had to go one aisle down (sauces, I think), then circle back in the cereal aisle, and walk back down the second aisle to be on the right path for the third aisle.

But Publix workers switched things up on me. They reversed direction on many (most?) of the aisles, but I was halfway down aisle two before I realized I was going the wrong way.

Sorry, I told another shopper headed the right way. Well, at least I was wearing a mask, because she wasn’t.

I was going through Sarah’s shopping list and trying to organize it in my mind, but I missed some spots. For example, barbecue sauces are not in the sauces aisle. There were many other examples.

Hence, Billy’s maze.

I was worn out by the time I was done, and spent half-past $200 — and I STILL forgot the curry powder.

The reason I like Publix is because all the workers wear masks as do most of the customers. The shelves are fully stocked and I nearly always find what I want.

Except toilet paper, paper towels, and Lysol products. Come on, people — quit hoarding.

Plus there’s the added benefit of all the steps I log while I’m there.

I’d go to Harris Teeter (the world’s biggest), but I have back problems, and there I wouldn’t be measuring my steps. I’d be measuring the miles.

Randy Foster runs New Bern Post.


  1. Randy, I’ve had the same experience at Publix and I don’t shop Harris Teeter anymore because I’d need a golf cart rather than a grocery cart to get thru the place! I mix my shopping between Publix, Food Lion (at 2 locations), and sometimes the Piggly Wiggly on Simmons.

  2. Totally agree, the issue starts at the cereal isle, I noticed that weeks ago when they put down the directional arrows on the floor, common Publix long over due for a fix……please!!
    And one more comment….
    Shoppers please pay attention to the directional arrows, its not that hard.

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