I always thought going to Publix to get chicken tenders (called chicken fingers by some) and Southern style potato salad was not dangerous.
Next time I’m calling the swat team to go with me. That should go over well. Can’t you imagine the phone call I’d make? “Swat team, I’m going for chicken fingers and Southern style potato salad at Publix, can you go with me?”
Seems in Tampa, Florida, an older black man walked into the deli at Publix and ordered some everyday chicken wings. You can take your choice of what happened next because there are several versions. He apparently made some remarks directed more toward himself than anyone else about ordering chicken wings or perhaps chicken in general. There must be some kind of hang-up for blacks about ordering chicken, but I have no idea what it is.
My favorite chicken is fried chicken, and the best I ever put in my mouth was in Eutaw, Alabama at a restaurant called the Cotton Patch. It’s not there anymore. The owner was older than I was, but we had gone to the same high school, and had that in common. I asked him if he would have the person who fried the chicken to come to our table. She did. An older black lady, who probably had her great-grandmother’s recipe for frying chicken. I told her that was the best fried chicken I had ever eaten, and that included my mother’s whose recipe was one of the best in the world. She thanked me for the compliment.
Back to the fracas at Publix. The older black fellow was talking to a young black female employee behind the deli counter at Publix, and a young black male employee heard his words. There must be a wide chasm between what an older black male deems acceptable and what a young black male deems acceptable in idle conversation. The younger black male Publix employee came out from behind the deli counter. By that time some of the customers look like they are trying to beat up the older black fellow, so if the younger black Publix employee had anything to say to the older black fellow, he didn’t have time, because he had to defend the older black fellow from the customer or customers. That’s what you call good public relations at Publix.
There’s a cell phone video account of it, one of those narrow pictures that may or may not tell the whole story. I think I do indeed see some customers joining the melee and the Publix employee trying to save the older black fellow, but everything is so close together, it’s difficult to say. Other Publix employees came in to break it up, no doubt heroes of the public relations department of Publix as well.
The older black fellow, at least by one or two accounts, did become upset initially when the young black employee questioned him about the terminology he used, maybe racial in nature. The older black man took offense to that himself, and that seems to have aggravated the situation when the older black man may have uttered another word or two.
I cannot tell you who was right. I can’t imagine that the older black fellow will walk away without a lawsuit which might be settled in the mid-range figure of what he is asking for. What he apparently said to the young black fellow might not be repeatable to a jury, but then again Publix does not want the publicity of a trial, and a settlement will go quietly into the night.
I thought I had seen one time that Publix is employee owned. I asked one of the workers next time I was in there, and she said yes. They get a dividend every quarter based on the stock they own, and it seems the stock is a reasonable purchase. The dividend is not determined from one store’s performance, but rather on all of the Publix supermarkets in aggregate. That’s good news for the Tampa location, because their dividends would have probably taken a hit from this whole incident and settlement.
And just to think one day when I was looking for Southern style potato salad, I saw another kind they had where they use red potatoes instead of good old Idaho potatoes. I casually remarked to the person next to me that I didn’t like the potato salad with the red potatoes in it. Little did I know those few words might have offended the person I was talking to, and she might have beaten me up.
She could have gotten on her cell phone, and within ten minutes probably had a full fighting force there. I would have moved on to find other items, but I’m sure they could have located me. It’s just that the fight would have taken place on aisle four rather than in front of the deli.
At my age I don’t think it would have been much of a fight. Then again when I got on aisle four, I would have called for the swat team, and that lady’s fighting force that assembled would have probably been discouraged about fighting, because our swat team does have a way of encouraging people to go to jail.
Remember, next time you go to the Publix deli, use caution. Chicken wings can be dangerous. Don’t let just any words fly out of your mouth.