RFF#99 – Some grocery stores still have public body-scales

Over the past few years, I’ve often used the scales in Publix and other grocery chains during trips to Florida.

Mary on Scale

On my most recent visit, I couldn’t stop thinking…why is this here? And after a quick call to Publix headquarters, I was delighted to learn the history of these scales…

In the 1930s people didn’t weigh themselves in their bathroom, the way we do today. As a matter of fact, the only way to weigh yourself was at the doctor’s office, or via public coin-operated scales.

However, a grocery entrepreneur named George Jenkins (affectionately known as Mr. George) wanted his customers to be able to weigh themselves for free. So, he put a free scale in all of his “Publix” grocery stores, and they’re still there today!

Although “grocery store scales” may seem like an artifact of a bygone era, when considering the obesity epidemic, their presence is as relevant today as it was 80 years ago. A statement found on a surviving scale from Paris says it all…

He who often weighs himself knows himself well.

He who knows himself well lives well”

 I learned about this fact from: Brian West, the Publix’s Media and Public Relations Manager; and Health Boosters from Withings “A Short History of the Weighting Scale” http://blog.withings.com/2011/09/30/a-short-history-of-the-weighing-scale-2/