BRANDON — Carlos Vilar got an un-eggs-pected surprise while preparing breakfast for his daughter recently. Nestled among its oval-shaped companions was a perfectly round egg.
“I didn’t check the eggs at the store when I bought them,” said Vilar, who purchased the carton from a Publix supermarket on Kingsway Road in Brandon on Aug. 4. “When I saw it the next day, the first thing I did was call everybody I know.
“The second thing I did was take a picture and put it on Facebook.”
Though it’s very uncommon for a chicken to lay a round egg, it’s extremely rare for that egg to land on the shelf of a grocery store.
Brian West, Publix spokesman for central and southwest Florida, said a round egg would be an unprecedented find among the supermarket chain.
“None of our people, whether it’s the internal people who are buying the eggs or the suppliers, have ever seen one,” West said. According to the company’s official website, there are 1,072 Publix stores across Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina and Tennessee.
Vilar, 25, did some research and found three instances since 2010 — all in the United Kingdom — of consumers finding perfectly round eggs. Those articles touted each round egg as a billion-to-one discovery, and West believes that number has some validity.
“If you think about the sheer volume of eggs produced every year, that number could very well be accurate,” West said. According to the American Egg Board, Americans consume more than 75 billion eggs each year.
Bill Hollash Jr. of Riverview — who worked 31 years as an egg farmer alongside his father — maintains the egg itself isn’t quite that rare.
“It doesn’t happen very often, maybe one in 100,000,” Hollash said. “We’ve seen a few.”
Instead, Hollash said the real novelty lies in the fact that the irregular offering made it onto a supermarket shelf.
“There’s really nothing wrong with the egg,” West said. “It’s just not shaped like the others.”
Either way, Vilar has decided to take good care of his unusual discovery. He keeps the egg wrapped in a towelette and inside a small plastic container.
“It doesn’t expire until next month, but I’m not planning on eating it,” he said.
Vilar is married to Liliana Ponce, and the couple has two children, Alanis, 1, and Jiliana, two months. He works in the property preservation department for Safeguard Properties, and he has decided to try and sell the egg.
Mark Cameron, who acquired his round egg last year from a south London store, sold it on eBay for £91, which is the equivalent of $142.55. Vilar has already reached out to Guinness World Records, but was told the round egg didn’t exactly fit in with that group.
“If it had been the world’s largest egg or the world’s smallest egg, or something unusual like that, then they might have taken it,” Vilar said.
He said he might reach out to Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum or otherwise grab the attention of a buyer interested in oddities.
“I just keep looking at the egg and saying to myself, ‘What is this?’” Vilar said.