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'No need to panic': Florida Publix's iconic scales aren't going anywhere — yet

It could be a while before we see the end of a unique piece of the Sunshine State's history.
Credit: Publix

LAKELAND, Fla. — You know you've done it before: Walking into a Florida Publix and stopping at one of the towering green old-school scales before stepping on. 

As a kid, you might have even played a guessing game on what the number would be as the little scale arm inside rapidly climbed. Or you might have avoided the novelty of the scale entirely.

Either way, the beloved past-time might, well, one day become a thing of the past.

An August Facebook post from the grocery giant has recently seen some renewed attention given it unveiled that the scale's manufacturer ceased production of the now iconic item in 2015.

"...one day—although our wonderful repair shop keeps our remaining machines in great shape—the last Publix scale will retire," the post reads.

But there's no need to worry just yet. A spokesperson for Publix confirmed that it has purchased all the inventory on hand and parts to keep the scales in circulation for as long as it can. 

"The company that produced the scales stopped producing the parts and scales in 2015. We purchased all the inventory on-hand and parts, so that we could continue to have the scales in our Florida stores. Our team continues to repair and refurbish as opportunities arise with the scales, but we still have scales in inventory. No need to panic," the spokesperson wrote in an email to 10 Tampa Bay.

So, how did the scales come about in the first place? The Publix staple was the brainchild of its founder George Jenkins 81 years ago. 

At the time, weight scales were expensive and bulky, unlike the one you might have sitting in your bathroom right now, making them uncommon among households.

"Stepping onto a scale was typically only done during trips to the doctor’s office—or for a small price at your local retail or grocery store. That’s where our founder, George Jenkins, saw an opportunity," Publix wrote.

A personal weight scale was placed in the first-ever Publix Super Market for use at no cost and it became a hit, according to the grocery giant. Customers would climb onto the scale during their shopping trips and even guess their weight for fun.

According to Publix's blog, "The Publix Checkout," in its first year, the scales saw more than 5 million uses by customers. The scales also were said to initially be kept in the back of the stores before being moved to an area near the front entrance.

The original scale is now reported to sit at the company's corporate offices.

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