As a recently relocated resident to Baltimore, I almost choked on my coffee while reading Lynne Agress' paeon to our local grocery stores ("An ode to Baltimore's grocery stores," April 19).

Having lived on the East Coast and in the Midwest, I am astounded by how second-rate the grocery markets are in Baltimore. In the Midwest, the Kroger and Giant Eagle chains are building and remodeling food palaces that make the big market leaders here look like run-down discount stores.

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If you think Wegman's is the last word in food stores, you are in for a surprise if you visit a Giant Eagle Market District store. They have an amazing selection, are clean and well lit, and offer a gas discount program that has no peer in Baltimore: 20 cents off per gallon with every $50 purchase, and no limit on how much you can build up.

But the biggest black eye in the Baltimore market are the Giant Food Stores. The Giants in Baltimore City are poorly stocked, bleak and take their customers for granted.

We deserve better stores that are better stocked, offer more variety and better service. If you ever travel outside this region, stop at a market and see how the rest of the country shops.

Bert Wilson, Baltimore

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