Author Topic: Oprah Winfrey claims sales assistant refused to let her see a handbag  (Read 10897 times)

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Yvaine

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Re: Oprah Winfrey claims sales assistant refused to let her see a handbag
« Reply #30 on: August 15, 2013, 03:58:43 PM »
You can also imagine it is height, weight, religion, age, nationality, dietary preference. It is definitely wrong to make accusations based on those imaginings.

Well then, we can criticize Oprah for perhaps jumping to a hasty conclusion about why she was getting bad service, but that doesn't negate the fact that it was bad service.

SleepyKitty

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Re: Oprah Winfrey claims sales assistant refused to let her see a handbag
« Reply #31 on: August 15, 2013, 04:08:19 PM »
I don't care about Hermes and I don't care about Oprah particularly - I care about etiquette and this clerk failed at it.  Nothing in Oprah's checkered past changes that.

But, to me, the reason why we're discussing Oprah's past is because she and the clerk presented two radically different stories. In the article, the clerk says she offered Oprah bags that were similar but less expensive and then "I even asked her if she wanted to look at the [original] bag." In which case, not only was the clerk not rude, but she was actually doing her job well - looking out for the customer's best interest and offering the customer other products.

So, if Oprah's story is factually accurate, yes, the clerk was rude. But, due to the language barrier and other aspects that have already been brought up, some of us are pointing out that there's a very good chance that the clerk wasn't rude because she didn't actually do what she was accused of.

ydpubs

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Re: Oprah Winfrey claims sales assistant refused to let her see a handbag
« Reply #32 on: August 15, 2013, 04:16:47 PM »
I don't care about Hermes and I don't care about Oprah particularly - I care about etiquette and this clerk failed at it.  Nothing in Oprah's checkered past changes that.

But, to me, the reason why we're discussing Oprah's past is because she and the clerk presented two radically different stories. In the article, the clerk says she offered Oprah bags that were similar but less expensive and then "I even asked her if she wanted to look at the [original] bag." In which case, not only was the clerk not rude, but she was actually doing her job well - looking out for the customer's best interest and offering the customer other products.

So, if Oprah's story is factually accurate, yes, the clerk was rude. But, due to the language barrier and other aspects that have already been brought up, some of us are pointing out that there's a very good chance that the clerk wasn't rude because she didn't actually do what she was accused of.

Yes. And my earlier comment about her should have included the fact that I speak from someone who worked in the service industry and how she behaved. It was not pleasant at all, this is why I would side with the sales clerk.
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lowspark

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Re: Oprah Winfrey claims sales assistant refused to let her see a handbag
« Reply #33 on: August 15, 2013, 04:22:13 PM »
If the store is selling bag #1 at (let's say) $100 and whenever a customer asks to see it, the clerk says, "oh you don't want that, here's a bag that's just like it for $75", how is the $100 purse ever going to get sold? Doesn't make sense.

On the other hand, if the customer asks to see the $100 bag and the clerk wants to suggests additional bags for the customer to look at, the clerk is then showing several items of merchandise for the customer to decide between.

I've gotten the "you can't afford this" treatment before. I can't imagine what they based that on aside from the brief moment they've had to assess me based on my looks. Maybe it was the way I was dressed or the way I wore my hair, I dunno. But I can well imagine that Oprah was wearing expensive clothes, and was, to use a French expression, tir quatre pingles. So aside from her clothing/hair related appearance, what else could she be judged upon at a glance?

Since the two stories vary so much, we'll never know what was really said. But I just can't imagine how this clerk makes her money if she doesn't show the merchandise when asked.

turnip

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Re: Oprah Winfrey claims sales assistant refused to let her see a handbag
« Reply #34 on: August 15, 2013, 04:52:39 PM »
I agree lowspark - even with the clerk's version of the story, it isn't clear why her response wasn't just "here's the bag you are interested in."

If a customer comes in and asks to see a item, a salesclerk should have a _very_ good reason for saying anything other than "Of course, let me get that for you..."    Maybe clerks who sale $$$ handbags don't always say that - but that doesn't mean they aren't always rude.   Rudeness abounds, and I'm not giving this clerk a pass just because people don't like Oprah. 

CreteGirl

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Re: Oprah Winfrey claims sales assistant refused to let her see a handbag
« Reply #35 on: August 15, 2013, 04:59:44 PM »
As the store's owner, I would be beyond livid that my employee blew a chance to sell a $38,000 purse.

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Re: Oprah Winfrey claims sales assistant refused to let her see a handbag
« Reply #36 on: August 15, 2013, 09:42:42 PM »
I agree lowspark - even with the clerk's version of the story, it isn't clear why her response wasn't just "here's the bag you are interested in."

If a customer comes in and asks to see a item, a salesclerk should have a _very_ good reason for saying anything other than "Of course, let me get that for you..."    Maybe clerks who sale $$$ handbags don't always say that - but that doesn't mean they aren't always rude.   Rudeness abounds, and I'm not giving this clerk a pass just because people don't like Oprah. 

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Psychopoesie

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Re: Oprah Winfrey claims sales assistant refused to let her see a handbag
« Reply #37 on: August 15, 2013, 10:06:58 PM »
Pod lowspark.

I can't really see any logical reason for the salesperson to redirect the a shopper's attention to a less expensive bag except a judgement that the shopper can't afford it. An exclusive shop where they actively try to steer all their customers to less expensive items? I don't think so.

This judgement can happen for a number of reasons. If I was the shopper, it would most likely be because I'd be dressed like the budget traveller i am. In Oprah's case, that judgement was most likely based on race.


KenveeB

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Re: Oprah Winfrey claims sales assistant refused to let her see a handbag
« Reply #38 on: August 16, 2013, 08:08:22 AM »
Pod lowspark.

I can't really see any logical reason for the salesperson to redirect the a shopper's attention to a less expensive bag except a judgement that the shopper can't afford it. An exclusive shop where they actively try to steer all their customers to less expensive items? I don't think so.

This judgement can happen for a number of reasons. If I was the shopper, it would most likely be because I'd be dressed like the budget traveller i am. In Oprah's case, that judgement was most likely based on race.

From the article, the clerk said, "I wasn't sure what I should present to her when she came in on the afternoon of Saturday July 20 so I showed her some bags from the Jennifer Aniston collection. I explained to her the bags came in different sizes and materials, like I always do." And she also said the bag Oprah was interested in was "like the one I held in my hand, only much more expensive, and that I could show her similar bags." A clerk offering alternatives and trying to show a variety of options? Oh, no, the racist horror.  ::)

It would be rude to refuse to show someone a bag they're interested in. But there's nothing rude in offering alternatives, and "oh, if you like that, this is very similar" is completely normal salesmanship.

Sharnita

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Re: Oprah Winfrey claims sales assistant refused to let her see a handbag
« Reply #39 on: August 16, 2013, 08:25:41 AM »
And I would think tje logical reason to redirect people from a bag that costs more than many vars is that while a lot of customets look at the purse and handle it very few seem to seriously consider buying it.  We aren't talking about a hundred dollar purse, we are talking about a purse that costs more than many people make in an entire year. It is not some crazy.assumption tjat it is out of tje price range of your average person -it's meant to be.

Psychopoesie

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Re: Oprah Winfrey claims sales assistant refused to let her see a handbag
« Reply #40 on: August 16, 2013, 11:35:27 AM »
Pod lowspark.

I can't really see any logical reason for the salesperson to redirect the a shopper's attention to a less expensive bag except a judgement that the shopper can't afford it. An exclusive shop where they actively try to steer all their customers to less expensive items? I don't think so.

This judgement can happen for a number of reasons. If I was the shopper, it would most likely be because I'd be dressed like the budget traveller i am. In Oprah's case, that judgement was most likely based on race.

From the article, the clerk said, "I wasn't sure what I should present to her when she came in on the afternoon of Saturday July 20 so I showed her some bags from the Jennifer Aniston collection. I explained to her the bags came in different sizes and materials, like I always do." And she also said the bag Oprah was interested in was "like the one I held in my hand, only much more expensive, and that I could show her similar bags." A clerk offering alternatives and trying to show a variety of options? Oh, no, the racist horror.  ::)

It would be rude to refuse to show someone a bag they're interested in. But there's nothing rude in offering alternatives, and "oh, if you like that, this is very similar" is completely normal salesmanship.

I'd be more inclined to see the situation as one where a salesperson was simpling offering options if she'd included the bag Oprah had asked for (more than once, according to Oprah's version).

Of course, it's not rude to offer alternatives in addition to the item the customer has requested. For example, if I wanted to try on a pair of shoes & the salesperson brought out that pair and some others, saying "she thought I might like these too".  Or if the pair I wanted wasn't available in my size - suggesting some similar pairs that might work for me. That would be a fairly normal, pleasant sales interaction. That doesn't seem to be what happened here.

I realise it can be tricky to show when there's been a more subtle version of racism at play - the situation is usually more ambiguous than simply using a derogatory name, for example. That's how I read this one though. I respect that other posters have different readings of the situation.

As to Sharnita's point above, I agree it's not unreasonable to assume that the bag is out of most people's price range. It's certainly out of mine. However, there doesn't seem to have been a blanket prohibition on showing the bag to customers because it was too expensive (as far as the store owner mentioned anyway). So it still seems a bit odd to me.

Somewhat ironically for this discussion, I read somewhere that Oprah is now saying that she wouldn't have paid that much for the bag either.  ::)









veronaz

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Re: Oprah Winfrey claims sales assistant refused to let her see a handbag
« Reply #41 on: August 16, 2013, 12:03:38 PM »
(Putting all the I cant stand Oprah, Im sick of Oprah, I have no respect for Oprah sentiment aside):

If I ask to see an item, I want to see THAT item.  I dont need for a clerk to show me other items unless I ask.  If I look at the item, ask the price, and decide its not worth what they are asking or that Im not that crazy about it, I might ask to see something else or just say No, thanks and leave.  Its not up to a clerk to decide what a customer can afford, and the clerk was out of line to refuse to lat a potential customer take a look at it.

I saw the bag (on TV) they can keep it.

Sharnita

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Re: Oprah Winfrey claims sales assistant refused to let her see a handbag
« Reply #42 on: August 16, 2013, 12:56:31 PM »
The thing is, if 100 or more non-serious customers handle the $40,000 purse before the serious buyer comes in it might be in less than pristine condition - which is all it could take for the one serious buyer to decide to take their money elsewhere. 

Just like the Bently - if a bunch of people like me test drive it to see what it is like to drive a Bently, then it is not as valuable to an actual buyer.

veronaz

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Re: Oprah Winfrey claims sales assistant refused to let her see a handbag
« Reply #43 on: August 16, 2013, 01:07:20 PM »
But who is to decide whether a customer is non-serious? ???  This was not a shop frequented by poor people who had nothing else to do.

If they don't want people looking at an item, they should remove it from display.  Many (most) people make a purchasing decision after touching/examining, sitting in, trying on, driving an item.

Sharnita

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Re: Oprah Winfrey claims sales assistant refused to let her see a handbag
« Reply #44 on: August 16, 2013, 01:19:10 PM »
That is the question and that might be where the language barrier comes in on both sides.  There are probably ways to indicate that you are a serious buyer and to weed out lookie-lous.  It sounds like the store needs to train better but it also seems possible that because of the language barrier there was some nuance that was missed on Oprah's part as well.  (Of course if she is now saying she wouldn't buy a purse that expensive maybe she was giving those indications in the first place?)