General Etiquette > Etiquette of the Rich and Famous

Oprah Winfrey claims sales assistant refused to let her see a handbag

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Basically, Oprah went into a store and asked to see a handbag. Sales assistant refused to show it to her claiming it was "too expensive" and kept trying to show her other less expensive bags even when Oprah asked again to see the first bag. Oprah simply thanked her for her time and left. The sales assistant claims it did not happen that way, she did offer to show her the handbag she asked about, and that she was not trying to be racist.

It's possible that it's all a big misunderstanding (the sales assistant did say, "I spoke to Oprah Winfrey in English. My English is OK but not excellent, unfortunately."). Though if it's as Oprah described, I do think it was rude of the sales assistant to refuse to let her see the original handbag and to try and presume whether it was "too expensive" for her. Suggesting other similar handbags would be fine, but refusing to let her see the original handbag even when asked more than once and making assumptions about her financial situation is not.

Assuming Oprah Winfrey can't buy any handbag that she wants - up to and including one of platinum chain links set with tiny diamonds & fire opals that comes with its own armed guard prepaid for the first year.....means that someone didn't recognize who they were waiting on.

I was thinking along the same lines.

Oh Joy:
My Mediterranean DH actually mentioned this to me last night, in the context of Americans traveling abroad and not understanding that things will be different.

IF it happened the way Oprah described, then the clerk was rude. No matter what you privately think about a customer's ability to afford something, it's your job to present the customer with what she requests. However, given Oprah's other overly dramatic stories in the past about being refused to be waited out of racism (like the Hermes incident, when they just refused to kowtow to a famous person being a SS), I'm more inclined to believe the clerk's version of what happened.


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