Crossing U.S. Border To Sell Trader Joe's Products
This guy's photo was put up like a wanted poster at the upscale supermarket Trader Joe's. He's banned from shopping in their stores. So, what did he do to get into so much trouble?
Michael Hallatt actually owns his own grocery store in Vancouver.
Hallatt told INSIDE EDITION, "The manager comes up to me and asks, 'Are you Mike?'"
Since there were no Trader Joe's anywhere in Canada, Hallatt came up with the idea of making 80 mile treks from Vancouver to Washington state each week, buying $5,000 dollars worth of Trader Joe's popular gourmet and organic food items and bringing them back to his store, aptly named Pirate Joe's.
He then marked up items like Joe Joe's cream cookies and roasted gorgonzola crackers and resells them.
"We had to go to 10 different stores to get five jars of cookie buttter," said Hallatt.
"If you own something, you are legally entitled to do what you want with it and that includes reselling it," proclaimed Hallatt.
Trader Joe's, famous for its laid back atmosphere has gone on the attack. They filed this lawsuit in federal court against Michael Hallatt and Pirate Joe's. Among the claims are false advertising, unfair competition and injury to business and reputation. The legal battle is being called a case of David vs. Goliath.
Hallart stopped buying the goods himself and now enlists secret shoppers to bring back the products for him. It's a real covert operation.
Despite the lawsuit, this pirate won't walk the plank and he's even having some fun creating a new name for his store.
Hallatt said, "We're Pirate Joe's but we're being pushed around a little bit, so I took the "P" down to make a point, so we are Irate Joe's."