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What’s the deal with Publix’s scales?

You’ve probably seen them from the checkout line.


The very first Publix, Winter Haven, FL, circa 1940 | Photo via Florida Memory

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To most, it’s a sweet candy, formed into all sorts of shapes and sizes.

To Floridians, a lollipop is a nickname given to the vintage scales at the entrance to almost every Publix Super Market, which went viral earlier this month and had Floridians panicking that they would eventually disappear.

But, before we get to that, let’s dive into why this matters and what this could mean.

Back in 1930, George Jenkins, the father of Publix Super Markets, incorporated his business. Fifteen years later in 1945, he purchased the Lakeland Grocery Company, which included 19 small stores, a headquarters, and a warehouse.

George integrated the machinery into his stores back in the 1940s when household scales were a dime-a-dozen. Instead of charging guests to utilize the “people weighers,” as they were called back then, George allowed his patrons to put them to use for free.

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Publix’s scale | Photo via the LALtoday team

The reasoning? This was seen as a way to pique scale-seekers to enter into the supermarket and shop — something George was sure would happen due to the enticing bakery aromas you can smell upon entry. Since then, the scales have become a staple for Publix shoppers.

In 2015, Mettler Toledo ceased production of the 2830 “lollipop model,” hence the panic we mentioned earlier.

Fast forward to 2021, Publix now employs over 225,000 people across 1,294 stores, 11 manufacturing facilities, and 9 distribution centers. Almost 100 years later, most of those 832 Florida stores all house vintage scales. Typically found near the carts or check-out, these are a unique feature local to Florida stores.

Rest assured though, while some new stores will be scale-less, Publix has purchased the remaining inventory and plans to keep the remaining "lollipops" in circulation for as long as possible.

Are you an avid scale-stepper at Publix? Tell us how long you’ve been utilizing this piece of history here.


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