For four years, the account informed fans when the grocery store subs were on sale until Publix apparently intervened.

By Mike Pomranz
April 28, 2021
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A Twitter account that kept people informed of when Publix supermarket was running sales on its popular Chicken Tender Subs suddenly made national headlines this week: The "Are Publix Chicken Tender Subs On Sale?" account (aka @PubSubs_on_sale) stopped tweeting two months ago—and one intrepid reporter needed to find out why.

The subs—which feature sliced "Publix Deli famous double hand-breaded chicken tenders" and your choice of cheese, toppings, and condiments on a long sandwich roll—typically sell at the grocer for about $8.99. But on a semi-regular basis (apparently about once a month), Publix discounts the subs to a mere $6.99. Understanding that people may be interested in this info, Bryan Dickey launched the aforementioned PubSubs social media account in 2017—which proved to be pretty popular: racking up about 40,000 Twitter followers.

Exterior view of one Publix Super Markets.
Credit: JHVEPhoto/Getty Images

But on March 11, the account suddenly went dark. Announcing an upcoming sale, a March 9th tweet also included a note: "This may be our last Tweet." Not long after, the account clarified, "Unfortunately, we're being challenged to practice our mission and stay sustainable," adding in another reply that "Publix has cease desist [sic] our VIP text group." Then, not much else happened. Had Publix shut down a Twitter account that was promoting one of their signature products?

Kyle Wood—working for Fresh Take Florida, a news service of the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications—decided he had to find out, digging through Dickey's online presence for any clues. What he uncovered was that Dickey had apparently run into a stumbling block with a side service where fans could set up text alerts for when the subs went on sale. "Publix is bullying me with C&D's for the SMS VIP club," he was quoted as writing. "Haven't talked about it publicly yet. Basically all paths to profitability are legal red taped for now, but I can keep the socials running."

Speaking of which, after Wood's story ran, Dickey apparently had a change of heart and the Twitter account was suddenly active again—including a fresh tweet stating, "btw… Yes. Publix Chicken Tender subs are $6.99 (4/29-5/5)." Then, of course, he added the classic Obama mic drop GIF.

Reached via the Twitter account, Dickey told me the origin of the account, writing, "I created the account in January 2017, shortly after the 2016 Presidential election between Trump and Clinton was wrapping up. There was a lot of hate being shared on the Internet at the time, and I felt compelled to do something positive. I created the account with the intention of spreading love and connecting the internet through positivity. Growing up in Florida, I knew there was one thing that connected all people regardless of political affiliation, race, gender, etc. — Publix Subs. When we're standing in line at our local Publix deli, waiting on that beloved Pub Sub, we're all the same. I feel like that's the connection and value that this account brings to the internet."

Dickey said that Wood's article did inspire him to risk firing up the account again. (I've also reached out to Publix but have yet to receive a response.)

Meanwhile, over the past 24 hours, Wood's story about the whole ordeal has been syndicated to news sites across the country. As a result, this may be the best publicity both Publix Chicken Tender Subs and Bryan Dickey's Twitter account have ever gotten. Plus, it's also great exposure for up-and-coming journalist Kyle Wood who simply wouldn't let a good Twitter account about Chicken Tender Subs die.