Trucker declines Meijer's offer to reimburse for towing expense

By Greg Grisolano, Land Line associate editor | 4/19/2016

A trucker whose rig was towed from a grocery store parking lot says he “politely declined” reimbursement from the company for the tow and a cab ride to the impound lot, since it didn’t come with an apology or reimbursement for the time he lost.

OOIDA Member Daryl Winslow said he’s still waiting for an apology from Meijer’s grocery for towing his truck last week while he was inside the store shopping.

“They offered to reimburse me for the tow and the cab…” he said in a phone interview with Land Line on Tuesday. “I said I also want an apology and compensation for missing a day’s work. So I politely declined their offer.”

Winslow’s truck was towed from the parking lot of a Meijer’s store in Huber Heights, Ohio, at around 9:30 a.m. on April 13. Winslow has said he spent around three hours in the store, using free Wi-Fi at the Subway restaurant and then grocery shopping.

A spokesman for the grocery chain said the stores have “numerous signs” posted that state unauthorized vehicles will be towed, and specifically mention commercial vehicles.  He also said unauthorized trucks parking in the lot of the Huber Heights store has been “a major issue” and the towing policy is “generally in effect at all of our stores.”

“There were 19 trucks in our lot last Wednesday morning, which made it difficult for us to receive deliveries, so our store leadership had to approach all of the unauthorized vehicles and ask them to move,” Meijer’s spokesman Joseph Hirschmugl said in an email to Land Line. “Remaining trucks without drivers were towed per our unauthorized vehicles policy. Our Huber Heights store has consistently tried to work with drivers who shop at our store, and we did attempt to wake/locate the drivers.”

Winslow has said the only signs he saw in the parking lot were warnings that unauthorized vehicles would be towed. He said there were no signs specifically prohibiting trucks or large vehicles from parking. 

“The problem is it doesn’t send a very clear message because the signage is so unclear. It doesn’t mention trucks at all,” he said.

Hirschmugl said the store offered to reimburse Winslow as a courtesy but they hope “this incident sends a very clear message that we will not tolerate our store being used as a truck stop.”

“While we do our best to work with truck drivers, the policy is for all of our store parking lots,” he said. “Large trucks in a parking lot create an unsafe situation for customers, can disrupt store deliveries, and degrade the condition of our parking surface.”
As for Winslow, he says he doesn’t plan to return to the Huber Heights location or any other Meijer’s store any time soon.
“I’m not in the habit of going places I’m not wanted,” he said. “And usually with retail outlets that’s pretty easy because their signs say no trucks. But that’s not how Meijer is.”

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