For the past year and a half, Mike Hallatt has been driving across the U.S.-Canada border and back, bringing loads of groceries back to Vancouver. There’s no food shortage in Canada — but there’s an absolute lack of Trader Joe’s grocery stores, and that created an opening for an entrepreneur who doesn’t mind making a long drive.
Originally called Pirate Joe’s, Hallatt’s store serves a niche market: Canadians who wish Trader Joe’s was in their country and who will pay a bit extra for triple ginger snaps and fanciful trail mixes.
Trader Joe’s is not pleased. It filed a lawsuit this summer, complaining that Pirate Joe’s harms the grocer’s brand by selling its products outside its control and confusing customers. In response, Hallatt changed the store’s name to _irate Joe’s.
“I bought the stuff at full retail. I own it,” Hallatt says. “I get to do with it whatever I want to, including reselling it to Canadians. My right to do this is unassailable.”
Well, no, you don’t. That’s only for those deluded by regurgitate childhood fantasies in America, wherein this is The Land of the Free or, in the Canadian ugly stepchild version of same (Don’t worry, Canadians….we’ll bomb the shit out of anyone who looks at you cross eyed…)
Well, hopefully he’ll prevail.
As for reselling Trader Joe’s products, he says he’s far from alone.
“I discovered there are many people running resale businesses on eBay and Amazon,” Hallatt says. “The amount online resellers manage to mark up the prices is the stuff of legend among TJ’s employees.”
More intriguingly, he adds, “There are three grocery stores reselling Trader Joe’s products in the U.S. that I know of.”
But it doesn’t matter to me. I just might start shopping at Safeway and go to local, independent and high end Lunardi’s for the special stuff.
Fuck Trader Joe’s, and for that matter, that pissant fake libertarian vegan mess John Mackey, who runs Whole Foods.