For some women, it’s shoes or jewelry. For others, designer handbags, makeup or clothing. Maybe even furnishings for the house. For me, sadly, it’s groceries.

Every time I do a deep dive into the ol’ family budget to see where we may be overspending, it’s always in grocery stores. And when I say “we” I mean “me.” Once I add it all up, I am always dumbfounded about just how much cabbage and cheddar I have spent on, well, cabbage and cheddar, and a few other things.

I suppose it’s a bit of an addiction. But one I have never felt an ounce of guilt about because, unlike clothes or handbags that are just for you, groceries are for “the good of the family.”

And much like shoe addicts who patronize many different boutiques depending on what kind of shoe they are searching for, I treat grocery shopping the same way. There isn’t a grocery store chain in this town I don’t frequent.

I have one I head to if I need basic food staples at reasonable prices. I have one I go to if I need cleaning products, dog treats and food. When I need a fancy Parmesan wedge, I have one I frequent and another when I want the cheap parm wedges. There is one I like when I want to cook international foods or need barbecue sauce and a couple when I want to cook something fancy and need special ingredients. There are ones I regard as having the best produce sections or baking aisles or grocery pickup services.

Others have better beer and wine selections. When I want to load up on a lot of meat, I go to one of two places. (Geez, I hope the preceding sentence is never taken out of context.) And it’s the same with seafood. And prepared food and sparkling water selections and when I get a hankering for a delicious Tide Pod (That’s a joke, obviously, but what in the hell is wrong with these kids?). Anyway, I think you probably get the idea.
I love grocery stores. All of them.

There is an Avett Brothers song called “Murder in the City.” One of the lyrics of that lovely song has one of said brothers questioning, “I wonder which brother is better, which one our parents love the most.” The song goes on to say their father answered this question (as a tear fell from his eye) by saying “I love you and I’m proud of you both in so many different ways.”

While it’s not exactly the same as the different ways you love your children and a tear has never fallen from my eye over it, I do love all of my grocery stores and I am proud of them all in so many different ways.

And among those I love is Publix, where shopping is indeed a pleasure. You are always helped with your bags and asked if you need help getting them to your car. None of the cashiers ever complain that they are supposed be on break while they are checking you out (Sorry! Now I feel guilty for buying these groceries!) or force you to use the self-checkout aisle when you have a buggy full. (I don’t understand why some of them do this? There’s not enough room, people! I don’t want that dang woman in the machine yelling at me! “Please place item in the bagging area!” I did, grocery machine lady, I did!)

And I am just as excited as anyone about the new midtown Publix opening on Florida and Old Shell. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I will continue to “shop around” and spread the love, as I am clearly a grocery store tramp. But they will certainly be in my rotation, as the Publix on University has already been. I foresee their magnificent strawberry balsamic salad being in my lunch plans at least several times a month, if not more.

The store is slated to open in February but part of the project has hit a bit of a snag, as the city issued a stop work order on a wall behind the development bordering Edington Drive.

Neighbors were under the impression there would be an 8-foot masonry wall but became concerned when they saw a wall made of a “composite material” going up.

Developer John Argo says the plans for the masonry wall are still mostly in place but Councilman Fred Richardson, who represents the area, said the composite wall had to go up in some places near Edington and Florida because two heritage oaks are in the way and a masonry wall would kill them.

The Mobile Tree Commission has not been asked about these specific trees and whether they could be removed as of yet, but when Lagniappe spoke to them they said, in general, they weigh the options and look at the public benefit versus the cost of losing the trees. In many cases, they said, “the commission would grant the permit and require the developer to pay into the tree bank to replace the trees taken down.”

I love Greer’s. I love Winn-Dixie. I love Rouse’s. I love Whole Foods. I love Fresh Market. I even tolerate Walmart when I need a small appliance and a kid birthday gift along with my groceries (don’t tell anyone). And I love the oh-so-pleasurable Publix and don’t want anyone getting in the way of me and my strawberry balsamic salad. But as much as I love them, I don’t want of any of them right behind my house.

And you know what I love more than grocery stores? Heritage oak trees. I often wax about their beauty when I am describing Mobile to people who have never been here. Government Street, downtown, Bienville Square and Oakleigh just wouldn’t be the same without them.

But in the case of the ones on Edington Drive, I say fire up the ol’ chainsaw and take them down and give these poor people their brick wall. They are taking it on the chin so the rest of us can have strawberry balsamic salads and a decent selection of fancy frozen pizzas and OPI fingernail polish. If they want a giant brick wall, give it to them. Their property values will no doubt be affected because some folks would never buy a house that backs up to a large development like this. #NOTapleasureforthem

And let’s face it, who is really going to go gaze at the beauty of two oak trees that are by a composite wall (which does look really weird, by the way) and a brick wall, just behind a grocery store. “Oh, look at those gorgeous oaks. And those walls, especially that weird one, and also at that delivery guy unloading those cases of cat litter and tampons into the store. So beautiful!”

Cut the trees. Have the developer and/or Publix pay the Tree Commission to replace them. The money they make off of this project/store will certainly be a pleasure for them. Build this wall for the neighbors and make sure that living in their beloved homes continues to be a pleasure for them.