Border-crossing for Trader Joe's groceries isn't everyone's idea of a fun time, so last year, Vancouver retailer Michael Hallatt made himself the middle man and opened Pirate Joe's, a local store dedicated to selling the products Canadians love.
But while many in Vancouver appreciate Hallatt's zipping back and forth across the border to bring back their treats, the U.S. retail giant is less impressed, slapping the small businessman with a lawsuit and sharing his image across their west coast stores.
As store managers from Seattle to Los Angeles have asked him to leave, Hallatt's determination to keep on shopping have intensified. The man who has spent over $350,000 at Trader Joe's has even resorted to cross-dressing in strip mall car parks, he told The Seattle Times.
"Almost all the stores in the Pacific Northwest have asked me to leave," Hallatt said, adding that he sees the situation as, "a little bit David Versus Goliath and a little bit Occupy Grocery".
The lawsuit for trademark infringement, false endorsement, false advertising and more hasn't fazed Hallett at all, notes ABC News, who reported that Hallatt's response was typically cheeky: he simply dropped the "P" in the Kitsilano store's name, making it "Irate Joe's", leaving his reaction clear for everyone to see.
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According to MSN, Hallatt has countersued, saying that Trader Joe's refusal to sell to him is discriminatory. "If Trader Joe really was a person, he'd be cool with this".
Instead, the grocery chain is spoiling its image of a more fun and funky place to shop, a blog post on SFGate notes, arguing that Trader Joe's should drop its lawsuit, open a store in Vancouver and hire Hallatt as manager.
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