(That said, life is still pretty grand. And I'm totally game for filling up the tub.)
Now, what makes this all so truly weird and amazing is that the owner of Pirate Joe's, Michael Hallatt, calls himself Trader Joe's "best customer," and claims to have spent more than $350,000 with them over the past two years to supply his similarly-themed shop in Vancouver.
And Trader Joe's is basically saying, "Hey, thanks for giving us heaps of money. But go to hell."
Because, clearly, it's not about earnings. It's about branding.
Trader Joe's has worked hard to create a positive public image, and they certainly have every right to protect that. To Hallatt's credit, though, he has at least stopped selling perishable goods, for he says he understands that if something were to spoil, it could lead to health risks that might tarnish the reputation of Trader Joe's.
So, he really is trying.
But with all the legal back and forth, things are getting rather intense. So much so, in fact, that Hallatt recently dropped the "P" from the name on his store front so that it reads _IRATE JOE'S. Which is to say, he's not overjoyed about the lawsuit.
On top of that, running his business has become increasingly difficult. Some Trader Joe's stores in the Pacific Northwest have begun asking him to leave. So he's resorted to shopping with cash while dressed in drag so as not to be noticed.
I do it to feel pretty.
Anyway, it's all sort of a moot point for me here in America. Trader Joe's is right down the street from my house, their shelves are always stocked with plenty of Island Soyaki, and a red, white and blue bald eagle soars over my really large tub.
Ain't life grand?