Publix Clarifies Policies on Free Samples After Outrage From Customers

It was the story that sparked a public outcry from Publix customers this week – news breaking that the supermarket would no longer be giving out free samples of deli meats and cheeses automatically.

Now, the store is clarifying what is taking place for those who may have misunderstood.

According to a report from Florida Today, the store is trying out a pilot program only in hundreds of Central and Southwest Florida stores where customers will get an automatic sample of the “cheese of the week”. Customers can still get a sample of meat for free – they just have to ask for it.

"We are exposing our customers to new products that they may not have had an opportunity to taste and offering them a sample of that product," said Maria Brous, a spokeswoman for the Lakeland-based Publix. "If they want to taste the products ordering, we'll be glad to let them taste that product in that order, or any other in the deli case they want to taste."

Tampa Bay Times report earlier this week said Publix made the policy change this January, telling deli workers to not hand out the free yummy slices - an age-old tradition from the Lakeland based store.

Publix has more than 1,000 store locations in the Southeast.

Brous said the move has nothing to do with cost cutting by the giant corporation – while also adding there are no plans to eliminate the free cookie program for kids at the store’s bakery.

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