The Berkeley Bowl effect

Ever since Berkeley Bowl West opened last June, it’s been my supermarket of choice. What’s not to like? The fruits and vegetables are beyond compare, the prices are reasonable (if I don’t get tempted by some of the French cheeses or some of the more expensive fish), the layout is intelligent, and the parking is generally easy.

Yesterday, however, I thought I’d save a bit of time and dropped into Whole Foods Market on Telegraph. It was certainly a quicker trip, but two things struck me after a very long absence.

First, there were tons of parking spaces. I can’t recall ever going to Whole Foods and finding it easy to park. Perhaps I just went at a charmed time on Monday afternoon, but I suspect Berkeley Bowl West has grabbed a good number of Whole Foods’ former customers.

Second, it was such a dull shopping experience. Whole Foods is a far smaller store than Berkeley Bowl West, so there was far less choice. Worse, the quality of the produce to my eyes just didn’t compare.


A trip to Berkeley Bowl West probably adds a minimum 20  minutes to my journey time (often more, because of the many temptations that keep me in the store). But I won’t be going back to Whole Foods if I can help it.