Author Topic: Oprah Winfrey claims sales assistant refused to let her see a handbag  (Read 13999 times)

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Rockie

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http://www.contactmusic.com/in-depth/oprah-winfrey-zurich-racism-row-sale-assistant-claims-absurd_3811387

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.

VorFemme

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Re: Oprah Winfrey claims sales assistant refused to let her see a handbag
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2013, 07:45:51 PM »
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.
Let sleeping dragons be.......morning breath......need I say more?

Piratelvr1121

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Re: Oprah Winfrey claims sales assistant refused to let her see a handbag
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2013, 07:56:22 PM »
I was thinking along the same lines.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

Oh Joy

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Re: Oprah Winfrey claims sales assistant refused to let her see a handbag
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2013, 07:58:39 PM »
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.

KenveeB

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Re: Oprah Winfrey claims sales assistant refused to let her see a handbag
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2013, 08:15:14 PM »
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.

Sharnita

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Re: Oprah Winfrey claims sales assistant refused to let her see a handbag
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2013, 08:47:30 PM »
I am not sure. The store sounds elitist but there are people who want to shop in that kind of environment. They don't want to buy a purse that Sharnita A. Middleclass has put her hands on so they do want management to be selective about who gets their hands on the bag.

I kind of doubt Oprah would have objected had they recognized her as the elite but declined to show it to me after (correctly) recognizing me as one of the common folk.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Oprah Winfrey claims sales assistant refused to let her see a handbag
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2013, 09:01:07 PM »
I read the clerks version and it seems plausible.

I've had clerks and others let me know one item is a better value over a different one, which is what the clerk claims she was trying to do.

But with limited English I can see it being misinterpreted.

My DD and I were at a place last year and a clerk with limited English skills kept telling us "No, No, this one better for you." We were looking at some handmade jewlry and she was trying to indicate the quality of the stone was better in a different one over the one we initially was looking at.

Millionaire Maria

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Re: Oprah Winfrey claims sales assistant refused to let her see a handbag
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2013, 09:06:57 PM »
I am not sure. The store sounds elitist but there are people who want to shop in that kind of environment. They don't want to buy a purse that Sharnita A. Middleclass has put her hands on so they do want management to be selective about who gets their hands on the bag.

I kind of doubt Oprah would have objected had they recognized her as the elite but declined to show it to me after (correctly) recognizing me as one of the common folk.

Really? I think that's a really ungracious thing to say.
People everywhere enjoy believing in things they know are not true. It spares them the ordeal of thinking for themselves and taking responsibility for what they know. –Brooks Atkinson

Sharnita

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Re: Oprah Winfrey claims sales assistant refused to let her see a handbag
« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2013, 09:17:37 PM »
I'm not saying it as an insult. The fact of the matyer is that she patronizes a lot of places and products that "regular" people can't afford. The fact that those places and items are exclusive and elitist haven't stopped her from being customer, any.more than it has stopped the rezt of the.rich.and famous. I don't actually object to that but it seems silly not to ackowledge that she is a part of it herself. The big sin on the store clerk's part wad the failure to recognize her as part of the elite.

Yvaine

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Re: Oprah Winfrey claims sales assistant refused to let her see a handbag
« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2013, 09:47:25 PM »
I'm not saying it as an insult. The fact of the matyer is that she patronizes a lot of places and products that "regular" people can't afford. The fact that those places and items are exclusive and elitist haven't stopped her from being customer, any.more than it has stopped the rezt of the.rich.and famous. I don't actually object to that but it seems silly not to ackowledge that she is a part of it herself. The big sin on the store clerk's part wad the failure to recognize her as part of the elite.

There's a pretty big difference between:

(a) "This place is expensive, so most of the people who go there are wealthy; people who aren't rich mostly don't bother."

(b) "This place actively does not want anyone middle-class or lower to even touch the merchandise, AND Oprah likes it that way."

Millionaire Maria

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Re: Oprah Winfrey claims sales assistant refused to let her see a handbag
« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2013, 09:58:56 PM »
I'm not saying it as an insult. The fact of the matyer is that she patronizes a lot of places and products that "regular" people can't afford. The fact that those places and items are exclusive and elitist haven't stopped her from being customer, any.more than it has stopped the rezt of the.rich.and famous. I don't actually object to that but it seems silly not to ackowledge that she is a part of it herself. The big sin on the store clerk's part wad the failure to recognize her as part of the elite.

There's a pretty big difference between:

(a) "This place is expensive, so most of the people who go there are wealthy; people who aren't rich mostly don't bother."

(b) "This place actively does not want anyone middle-class or lower to even touch the merchandise, AND Oprah likes it that way."

Exactly! Sharnita, you may not have meant to, but you basically called her an elitist.
People everywhere enjoy believing in things they know are not true. It spares them the ordeal of thinking for themselves and taking responsibility for what they know. –Brooks Atkinson

Sharnita

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Re: Oprah Winfrey claims sales assistant refused to let her see a handbag
« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2013, 10:09:49 PM »
I think that in certain cases she and a lot of the very wealthy are. When you want Hermes to open for you, when you are looking at a $40,000 purse and considering buying it, there is a bot of elitism there. You certainly don't believe or expect everyone can or will get that accesd. You are enjoying special treatment your money/fame/status afford you. Does that mean she or they do it 24/7? No.

FoxPaws

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Re: Oprah Winfrey claims sales assistant refused to let her see a handbag
« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2013, 11:35:09 PM »
Ever since Oprah made a big stink claiming racism because a shop wouldn't open up after hours just for her, I have to take any further claims she makes of the same nature with several large grains of salt. When I originally read about this, my first thought was, "language barrier."

Apparently, $77 billion can't buy crocodile bags, common sense, or benefit of the doubt. Oprah needs to get over herself.
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KenveeB

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Re: Oprah Winfrey claims sales assistant refused to let her see a handbag
« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2013, 11:39:45 PM »
Oprah's released a new statement basically saying "never mind, I wish I'd never brought it up." Except there's no way she wouldn't have known the attention an accusation like this from Oprah would bring. Sounds like she wasn't expecting the clerk to fight back and wants to try to ignore it now.

rose red

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Re: Oprah Winfrey claims sales assistant refused to let her see a handbag
« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2013, 08:53:04 AM »
Oprah's released a new statement basically saying "never mind, I wish I'd never brought it up." Except there's no way she wouldn't have known the attention an accusation like this from Oprah would bring. Sounds like she wasn't expecting the clerk to fight back and wants to try to ignore it now.

Not that I think clerks should treat anyone badly (we've all been there :(), but right from the beginning, she kept playing it off like it didn't matter, it was what it was, it's just an incident, no big deal, etc.  But I'm skeptical she didn't know a thing like that will be big entertainment news.  Even when I first saw her tell the story, I thought she failed at being breezy because she gave *just* enough detail for me to know she wanted revenge (for lack of a better word).