When it comes to buying local produce, or meat, or cheese, or extravagantly expensive exotic foods from all over the globe, we here in Berkeley are spoiled. We ( well not me, but Alice Waters) invented the concept of farm to table and using fresh ingredients, and we are blessed with tons of options for obtaining those ingredients.
One of those options is Berkeley Bowl. But Berkeley bowl is no blessing. It is a hellscape populated by stressed out soccer moms, righteous vegas, super entitled seniors, and more than a few mental hospital escapees who seem to be drawn like moths to a flame, to the glowing aisles of what Simon and I call THE BOWL.
Going to the bowl has to be prepared for, like a battle. You must be emotionally ready, you must keep your wits about you and you must bring your own reusable bags.
You must not let your guard down for even a second or the others shoppers will be on you like zombies at a brain buffet.
The following things have all happened to me at THE BOWL:
- A woman of approximately 70 years of age, berated me, and then chased me throughout the store screaming that I had "failed to yield the right of way in the yogurt aisle and she was just trying to get me to be more aware of my surroundings." When I told her she was crazy and to kindly "STFU and leave me alone" she went to customer service and attempted to have me thrown out of the store forever.
- Another old woman took my cart while I was ordering meat at the counter and when I politely asked if she had done it by mistake, she began screaming that I had no DNA evidence that the cart was mine, and that she could easily have been shopping for coconut water, italian anchovies and miso paste too.
- I have been rammed with carts so hard it left bruises
- I've questioned about my hair color, and it's political ramifications (spoiler: there aren't any I just like changing the color)
- I've been hit by a car in the parking lot. Ok, fine not hard, just brushed but STILL
Every few months I swear off THE BOWL all together and swear I am not, NOT going to shop there anymore. But in the end I always come back. for the produce, for the cheese and for all that delicious beer.