Mercedes-Benz Forum banner

1 - 20 of 38 Posts

·
Registered
E320
Joined
·
128 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
A Trader Joe’s shopping cart rolled into my Mercedes and caused a very small dent. It will cost $1600 to fix the damages including the rental car according to 2 estimates from authorized Mercedes repair centers. In addition other some systems may have been damaged. The car will never be the same. Trader Joe's should give me a new car.

Trader Joe has so far denied liability unless I can prove that an employee caused the accident.

We can help national corporations improve their customer relations and find a solution to this critical business issue by getting at least one letter into 1000 newspapers nation-wide this week. Can you help by quickly sending a letter to the editor of a paper near you? Any comments or ideas?

One local paper has already agreed to print the story on Wednesday. I will also forward the story to the Washington Post, since the shopping cart problem has nationwide impact.

ALERT THE PRESS

Extra Extra

To The Editor:

On Friday March 18th a red runaway Trader Joe’s shopping cart rolled down a small slope and hit my E-Class Mercedes Benz causing a dent outside the Los Altos store. I drive carefully, but the rolling cart could not be avoided. An employee that could have seen the accident, prevented it or caused it wrote a report, and sent it to the headquarters.

Trader Joe forwarded the claim to Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., who manages their claims. They deny liability unless it can be proven that the accident was caused by staff. They claim that carts hit cars all the time. That’s a lie. I have never before been hit by a cart at any store.

I spoke with an employee in an adjacent store. He said it’s a very dangerous situation, and that shopping carts frequently cause accidents at that particular corner due to the steep, non visible curb, staff negligence, and the difficulty in controlling carts, when turning the sharp corner to the narrow return area.

Trader Joe’s is owned by German billionaires Karl and Theo Albrecht, who own Aldi, one of the world’s biggest grocery chains. They are aware of the situation, they can afford to correct it, but haven't. They haven't equipped their carts with bumpers, brakes or protective measures. Unfortunately carts are often left in front of the store adding to the risk of being hit.

I have alerted Trader Joe’s and Arthur J. Gallagher & Co of the problems. They should admit their liability, and warn customers. They should pay the $1600 in damages, and find a solution that can prevent future accidents to people’s BMW’s, Mercedes’, Jaguar’s, or Audi’s, where small dents can cost $1600 to repair. They should also compensate me for the pain and suffering of having to drive around with a dent and dealing with their insurance company.

Please contact me about ideas, comments or similar stories related to the Los Altos store or any Trader Joe’s store, and drive carefully.
 

·
Registered
ML550, W212 E350 4 matic, 1966 Corvette C2 convt.
Joined
·
2,675 Posts
Why don't you get a life!! Wasting all your time on this silly occurance. The correct thing to do is to repport it to your insurance Co., submit a claim, pay the deductable, get it fixed and your insurance company will subregate against Trader Joe's.
 

·
Registered
2005 E500
Joined
·
141 Posts
sosh - 3/27/2005 9:35 AM

Why don't you get a life!! Wasting all your time on this silly occurance. The correct thing to do is to repport it to your insurance Co., submit a claim, pay the deductable, get it fixed and your insurance company will subregate against Trader Joe's.
I have to agree with SOSH here. While it is unfortunate that a cart hit tcpgv's car, his reaction to this incident is a great example of why insurance premiums are getting out of control in this country. Not that I think Trader Joe's is going to have to expend any significant funds or effort to dismiss with this patently ridiculous claim.

My favorite part of the original post was the assertion that shopping carts DON'T hit cars all the time because it has never happened to HIS car before!! That had me laughing my ASS off for a solid 90 seconds [:D]!!! By the same logic, BURGLARIES do not happen all the time because I have never been BURGLARIZED!! As hilarious as I find this line of specious argument to be, it is even MORE hilarious that this guy found a newspaper willing to print it.

I think the icing on the cake is that this guy (of course that is only an assumption since I don't know for sure that the original poster is a guy) thinks that because a Trader Joe's shopping cart dinged his car, that Trader Joe's should BUY HIM A NEW CAR!!!! R.O.T.F.L. [:D] If you reduce tcgv's claim to its substantive components, using his own words, you get the following "A Trader Joe's shopping cart caused a very small dent on my car so Trader Joe's should replace the car". Seriously, if you are going to make a claim like that, why not just go the whole "nine yards" and also seek $2 million in punitive damages for the "pain and suffering" that the cart-induced dent has caused??? I am DYING to know what system in the car was damaged by a shopping cart.

The punchline to the original post (every good joke has a punchline) is the "alert the press" and "extra extra" preceding the press release that we are supposed to submit to "1000 newspapers" around the country!!!! Am I seriously supposed to write the editor of my local paper a letter about how up in the bay area on March 18th a shopping cart hit some guy's mercedes and caused a very small dent???? I can't imagine what kind of "slow news day" they would need to be having to print that!! The whole premise of 1000's of people around the country taking up this "cause" is profoundly hilarious!!

C'mon tcpgv, it IS a bummer that your car got dinged by a shopping cart, but just file the insurance claim and get on with your life. That is exactly why you pay all those premiums...so that when something stupid like this happens and there is no one to legitimately seek damages from, you have the insurance to cover the costs.

I think a good rule to follow here is: "If you are willing to make a fool out of yourself, that is one thing, but it is another thing entirely to ask total strangers to go along with you"

I hope you find a peaceful resolution to your issue, although I am skeptical that the resolution is going to come from your "publicity war" against Trader Joes.
 

·
Registered
2003 E500 Sport
Joined
·
7 Posts
You know, I assumed that the original post was a joke, and a funny joke at that. However, if indeed it was/is true, then I must whole heartedly agree with both previous posters. It is completely ridiculous to assume/expect that Trader Joe's would replace your car. If that were the case, then body shops should be shut down. Get in a fender bender, get a new car. Why stop there. Let's rid ourselves of the scourge of our society that is the carwash. Bird craps on your car, then the Audubon Society should have to cut you a check for sticker price. I, in order to maintain sanity, am going back my original assumption that this is, in fact, a joke. And a damn funny one at that. Well done.....I hope.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
233 Posts
After reading this thread frankly I drew a blank, so I posted a blank.

Then I decided I really wanted to view this from the authors perspective... but I am still having trouble getting my head up my *ss.
 

·
Registered
E320
Joined
·
128 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
How argue $2 million in punitive damages?

Here are a few points:

1. Liability
Who is se liable? Is Trader Joe’s, the architect that designed the store layout and parking lot, the landlord or the employee or customer who caused the shopping cart to roll liable?

In similar situations involving stray or errant golf balls the golf course (Trader Joe’s), the golf course designer (Trader Joe’s architect) or the golf player (Trader Joe’s staff or a customer) can be held liable.

2. Known physical damages
The repair estimates total $1609. Trader Joe’s should at least pay this amount.

3. Unknown physical damages and punitive damages
Since the cart may have caused unknown physical system damages, which may or may not appear in the future, and caused the suffering and pain of having to live with the problem and dealing with Trader Joe’s additional damages seem relevant.

To begin with I would have been satisfied with $1609. By denying the claim Trader Joe’s is challenging me to act.

One person suggested a new car, because the car will never be the same. You are suggesting $2 million in punitive damages. How much should I ask for? How do I argue the case? I’m not a lawyer.
 

·
Registered
E320 W211
Joined
·
64 Posts
So lets say you drive on highway and a rock hit your windshield. Do you go sue:
1. Caltran for not keeping the road clean.
2. All the trucking and sand/rock companies in the 100 miles radius.
3. All the surrounding cars whom you can get their license plate number down since they didn't block it for you.
4. State of california for improperly designing the highway.

What if a bird sh!t rock and hit your car? what about hail storms? A neighbor's kid riding his tricycle?

Point is, you can't go around sueing anybody for everything. Yeah you get a ding and it sucks. Get over it.

I'd be suprised if the newspaper publish some crap like this. If they did, it would probably be an article on frivolous lawsuits.
 

·
Registered
E320
Joined
·
128 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
1. I drive carefully and take care of my car; therefore the neighbor's kid riding his tricycle isn't a problem
2. Birds have never caused any problems or dents
3. No hail storms here in Silicon Valley
4. Luckily I have never been hit by a rock, which has caused a dent or a smashed windscreen, I keep distance to the car in front of me.

My point is golf course owners may be liable for stray golf balls, and Trader Joe's is liable for stray rolling golf carts due to

a) negligence
b) not frequently gathering carts
c) not trying to improve the golf cart return area even though they are aware of the problem

Therefore they should pay. I have not asked them for $2 million in punitive damages, I have:

1. Complained to Better Business Bureau
2. Spoken with a TV producer about producing a controversial TV show
3. Written an article. The first news paper article about the dispute will appear in a local paper tomorrow
4. Asked them for $1600 in emails sent to their CEO

Why has Trader Joe’s hired the worlds most aggressive risk management control company to handle their claims. The average consumer doesn’t stand a chance. Should they get away with rail roading consumers.
 

·
Registered
E320
Joined
·
128 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Trader Joe's dispute appears in news

Here's what I meant to write.

1. I drive carefully and take care of my car; therefore the neighbor's kid riding his tricycle isn't a problem
2. Birds have never caused any problems or dents
3. No hail storms here in Silicon Valley
4. Luckily I have never been hit by a rock, which has caused a dent or a smashed windscreen, I keep distance to the car in front of me.

My point is golf course owners may be liable for stray golf balls, and Trader Joe's is liable for stray rolling shopping carts due to

a) negligence
b) not frequently gathering carts
c) not trying to improve the shopping cart return area even though they are aware of the problem

Therefore they should pay. I have not asked them for $2 million in punitive damages, I have:

1. Complained to Better Business Bureau
2. Spoken with a TV producer about producing a controversial TV show
3. Written an article. The first article about the dispute will appear in a local paper tomorrow. I will provide more info once I see the article.
4. Asked them for $1600 in emails sent to their CEO

Why has Trader Joe’s hired the worlds most aggressive risk management control company to handle their claims. The average consumer doesn’t stand a chance. Should they get away with railroading consumers?
 

·
Registered
ML550, W212 E350 4 matic, 1966 Corvette C2 convt.
Joined
·
2,675 Posts
Get a life!!! Or, stand in line at the BBB with all the poor people!!Sounds to me like you can't assume any financial risk and in that case you are driving the wrong car.
 

·
Registered
E320
Joined
·
128 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
"Or, stand in line at the BBB"
It's all online. You don't have to stand in line.

"Sounds to me like you can't assume any financial risk"
I assume risk all the time through investments.


"you are driving the wrong car".
It's the right car once the dent is fixed and when it works.

I have an E350 as loaner. I like it, although, it doesn't have driver dynamic seats and a nav system

Why are you all siding with corporate America (or Germany). Trader Joe's is owned by German billionaires.
 

·
Registered
2003 E500 Sport
Joined
·
7 Posts
I am still going with funny joke. How can anyone smart enough to put themself in the financial position to own an E class be dumb enough to expect a store to be responsible for an incline and the forces of gravity.

Why not sue Isaac Newton? If not for him, we would never know anything about gravity. How about the company that desinged and built the cart? Had they not installed wheels, then it couldn't possibly have rolled into your car.

Do you see the ludicrosity of your assumption? Sh!t happens, get over it.
 

·
Registered
2005 E500
Joined
·
141 Posts
OK This is An April Fool's Joke Right?

I just realized it's March 29th. I will not be surprised if on Friday, tcpgv informs us that we have all contributed to what, I would have to admit, has been a fantastic April Fool's joke!!

Right???? Or is this guy actually serious here?

Assuming he's serious, after reading his subsequent posts, I have distilled his real premise down to the following:

"Because the owners of Trader Joes are billionaires, they should cut him a check instead of trying to defend themselves"

I'll let you in on a little secret tcpgv: you don't get to be a billionaire by cutting checks to everyone that threatens to file a ridiculous complaint against you. In fact, you do exactly the opposite, defend yourself agressively, so that you don't get "bled to death by a thousand little cuts".

I am a real estate developer, certainly not a billionaire, but like billionaires, for some reason the general public thinks that developers have a bottomless stash of cash back at their office, so people file all sorts of claims (many that are stupid an frivolous) against us to. When this happens, you have a choice: settle the claim and make it go away, or fight it with everything you have. I base my decision on whether or not the claim is legitimate, or, more importantly, could be seen as legitimate by a jury.

If someone has a legitimate claim, I usually opt to pay it, because then that person becomes an ally, and something that may be legitimately wrong gets made right. If somebody comes to me threatening a frivolous claim (tcpgv's claim is squarely within this category) then I basically take the position that I am going to defend myself even if it costs more than paying the claim.

Here's why: if Trader Joe's pays your claim, then next month, there will be 100 people like you, with equally stupid claims, that they will have to defend against or pay. If they pay those, then the following month, there will be 1000 people like you showing up with their hands out. The next month....well you get the picture....eventually you go out of business.

Here is how Trader Joes would likely handle it if tcpgv actually attempts to move forward with this claim:

1) They will confirm whether they have alot more funds at their disposal for litigation than tcpgv has (anybody with any $$$ or who's time is worth $$$ wouldn't waste their time on something this stupid, they would pay the deductible and get on with their lives). Unless, tcpgv is the username for "Larry Ellison" or some other guy like that that might conceivably be driving his Merc around Silicon Valley, it's safe to say that Trader Joes, and its "German Billionaire" owners are better equipped to weather a litigation contest than tcpgv.

2) They will recognize the fact that this tcpgv character is willing to probably expend his own effort, but not $$$ fighting this cause. If he were going to hire an attorney, he would spend more on the attorney in the 1st hour than his insurance deductible. If he spent 4-5 hours of attorney time, it would cost him more than the value of his claim. No decent attorney would take this case "pro-bono" because attorneys generally don't want to develop the reputation of "idiot" and they would be guaranteed this reputation if they went so far as to present this claim in a courtroom. Most attorney's wouldn't be willing to be recognized as an idiot even for $1,600.00 in legal fees (notice I did say "most" and not "all"). The bottom line, this case would not be likely ever go to court. If Trader Joes spends a tiny fraction of their overall revenues on an "aggressive" risk management firm, it is worth it to discourage a swarm of these stupid cases from ever materializing.

3) If the case DID go to court, having lots of cash on hand to defend themselves against a far more poorly equipped adversary, Trader Joes would happily go to court to defend against this. Then (at least if their attorneys are anything like the ones I like to work with) Trader Joes would be sure to obliterate tcpgv's finances, by both extending the legal process for this claim as long as possible (thereby increasing tcpgv's legal costs substantially), and filing all possible counter-claims (legitimate or not) which tcpgv would then have to spend more $$$$ to defend himself against.

4) Ultimately, the most likely outcome is that tcpgv's case would either be dismissed, or decided in Trader Joes' favor. This would almost be a certainty if this was a judicial hearing (no jury) and very likely in a jury trial as well: where several men and women chosen at random from voter registration records are not likely to sympathize with a Mercedes-Benz driving plaintiff who thinks Trader Joes should "replace his car" and pay him for "pain and suffering" because of a shopping cart ding. At this point (again, if TJ's attorneys are like mine) Trader Joes would then file an additional claim against tcpgv for recovery of the legal fees that the company expended defending itself against his frivolous claim. Trader Joes' legal fees would most likely be MUCH higher than tcpgv's own legal fees, and the ultimate judgement against him could have a devastating impact on his finances (IMHO, exactly what SHOULD happen when people file frivolous lawsuits, especially when the purported "damages" are so insignificant)

tcpgv, if this is not in fact a very good April Fool's joke, then I hope you pay attention to the hypothetical scenario I set forth above, because it isn't entirely "hypothetical". I work with alot of attorneys and I have been involved in litigation before (in which we literally kicked the s*&t out of the people who filed the frivolous claim) and I can tell you that I wouldn't be shocked if that is how TJ's handles your situation should you be "persistent" enough to try and pursue it. No matter how many creative and specious arguments you can think up, including comparisons to golf courses, your case doesn't stand a snowball's chance in hell of suceeding [^].

If you think about it, when you are willing to put your mind to it (an apparently tcpgv is) you can think up an argument about why anything that could conceivably happen to you is somebody else's liability. Fortunately, no matter what anybody says about it, the court system is highly effective at tossing out most of these ridiculous arguments.

Again....if this thread is an April Fool's joke, then it is one of the BEST I have ever seen!!!
 

·
Registered
E320
Joined
·
128 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
My Mercedes in the news

The article about my Mercedes being hit by a Trader Joes cart is now in the news. See the Los Altos Town Crier page 9 (printed version). The paper may only be available in Los Altos, California.
 

·
Registered
2005 E500
Joined
·
141 Posts
Something has to rise to a higher standard than this to be called "News"

tcpgv - 3/31/2005 9:53 AM

The article about my Mercedes being hit by a Trader Joes cart is now in the news. See the Los Altos Town Crier page 9 (printed version). The paper may only be available in Los Altos, California.
Well.....apparently this is NOT an April Fool's joke after all!

For all who are interested, here is a link to the "article" in the Los Altos Town Crier about this shopping cart accident (it's near the bottom of the page):

http://latc.com/comment/comment2.html

Interestingly, the "article" is just a letter to the editor from tcpgv. You can be certain that if something is published in the "letters to the editor" section of a publication like the Los Altos Town Crier it will only be a matter of hours before we are all reading it in the "Top Stories" section of our Yahoo! home pages![8D]

The beauty of our free american press is that any crackpot with a word processor is entitled to submit their crazy theories and opinions for publication in the "letters to the editor" section so that the rest of society can have the benefit (or amusement) of reading them. Clearly, this is a perfect example of the system in action! Of course, most of us are able to understand the distinction between a "letter to the editor" and "news".

tcpgv, will certainly be winning himself lots of friends with his letter, in which he makes the following statement: "They should pay for the damages and find a solution to prevent accidents to BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar cars, where small dents can cost $1,500 to repair". In reality, if you add together all of the costs tcpgv cited in his original post (excluding of course the "pain and suffering damages") then it pretty much costs the same to repair a similar ding on a Ford or Chevrolet. I'm sure that all of the Los Altos Town Crier readership that drives around in Hondas, Dodges, Toyotas, and other cars that tcpgv probably considers "inferior" will be rushing to their computers and phones to take up his noble cause [;)].

Perhaps we are all underestimating the true magintude of this. It could prove to be a pivotal issue with wide ranging impacts on how corporations are held liable for damages in the 21'st century!! At least now, in a year or two, when the Supreme Court of the United States of America will be hearing tcpgv's arguments, I'll be in a position to brag to all of my friends "I was there at the very beginning" [:D] Then again...........

I can't speak for others in the Benzworld.org community, but I have to say that regardless of whether or not it was tcpgv's original intention, his crazy pursuit of this ridiculous claim has been extremely hilarious and amusing.
 

·
Registered
E320
Joined
·
128 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Here are the 2 responses I got from the article in Los Altos Town Crier

Reponse #1
Yesterday after shopping at Trader Joe's I looked down to see a toppled cart straddling the front fenders of two cars - both cars were scratched. If I hadn't been struggling with my two young children, I would have reported it. However, I have been in the same situation (a Safeway runaway cart plowed into the side of my car - Safeway denied any responsibility). I agree that they should modify carts - in the meantime, Trader Joes should pay for any damages (Mercedes,Jaguars, BMWs or otherwise...). Good luck

Reponse #2
Re your Town Crier letter, the same thing happened to us. We parked our 2002 BMW 330 convertible on the right side of Trader Joe's (as you face it), in the area on the other side of the lot, downhill from their
cart storage area. We had a fairly large dent, clearly caused by the the shopping cart left alongside the car. Several thousand dollars worth of damage. Trader Joe's completely denied any responsibility.

If we go there now we park in the Blockbuster lot, which is level and free of carts.

Please keep us posted on your progress, and we're most willing to help as needed.
 

·
Registered
2003 E500 Sport
Joined
·
7 Posts
Finding two people that agree with delusional assumption of liability doesn't mean Trader Joe's is wrong, just that there are at least three delusional people in the world.
 

·
Registered
ML550, W212 E350 4 matic, 1966 Corvette C2 convt.
Joined
·
2,675 Posts
hilmar2k - 4/3/2005 10:00 PM

Finding two people that agree with delusional assumption of liability doesn't mean Trader Joe's is wrong, just that there are at least three delusional people in the world.
The guy who started this thread is an idiot with too much time on his hands and thats a real bad combination!!
 
1 - 20 of 38 Posts
Top