With Publix, holiday and seasonal items are known as "chart items." Essentially, a manufacturer produces only a limited number of these items and Publix as a whole is allocated a certain amount of this product based on sales. From there, it is up to warehouse selectors to determine how to distribute these items, also based on a store's previous year's sales of the same item. So, when the manager said "I guess they didnt send us any, " he was probably right. It was almost certainly an unpopular item the previous year and the warehouse selectors decided not to chart that particular store any of that product. Unfortunately, your request to have the store order some is meaningless as the stores do not have the power to order seasonal or charted items.
I can understand your issue with the managers flippant response, he should have explained the situation to you, and offered to call around to other stores in the area to try and locate some of the item.