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Shopper, resident and defender

September 25, 2008

Re "Where the nuts are off the shelf," Column One, Sept. 22

As a dedicated shopper at the Berkeley Bowl since it opened 31 years ago, I read The Times' rant about the store and its clientele with dismay.

The picture of rampant rudeness, fistfights and automobile mayhem suggested by this article is bizarrely misleading. The store is certainly busy and the aisles are usually crowded, but the dominant impression is of customers happy with the superb selection of food, especially produce of all kinds.

The notion that sampling leads to permanent banishment is belied by the picture accompanying the article, showing two boys calmly eating pieces of fruit -- as well as by the debris bins placed next to the cherries to receive the cherry pits left by us samplers.

The Berkeley Bowl is colorful and friendly, and it provides such a cornucopia of beautiful fresh vegetables and fruit that we often take out-of-town visitors there to give them a taste of Berkeley.

The Times finds us "strident," but we residents think "lively" is more accurate, and the Berkeley Bowl is a good example.

Elmer R. Grossman


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