Lowspark, I think the customer probably sets up an appointment. That way the business cab check out their financials and on the flip side the customer knows they.will get enough time and attention.
What doesn't seem reasonable is expecting that the employee will recognize their magnificint persona.
That may be the case in some stores, but it wasn't the case in the store that Oprah went to. A store like that has a guard at the door and usually the merchandise is not displayed or is on another floor. If you are open to the public, then you are open to the public.
I also find it interesting that Oprah never identified the name of the store she went to. The clerk and owner of the store outed themselves publicly
Seriously, I think people are going to ridiculous lengths to try to make the store's behavior OK. Sure there is a risk inherent in selling handbags worth more than most cars - if you go into that business than you are going to have to make yourself comfortable with those risks.
The store could only show the bag to buyers who called in advance, who'd set up an appointment, who's submitted to a credit check, etc. but they _don't_ because they know they will loose a huge number of potential buyers that way. Again - risks/rewards. Just like in any business.
So of course they look for subtle cues to see if a buyer can _really_ handle the handbag. And their subtle cues don't, unfortunately, take in to account a large woman of African-American descent who happens to be one of the richest women in the United States. They screwed up - seriously, horribly, screwed up and alienated someone who could have bought every handbag in the place.
And they were rude. Again we can try to justify the rudeness because they have merchandise to protect, but they were still rude.
It's an interesting story because of all the different factors, but none of the angles really excuse the store's behavior. From an etiquette angle, they were wrong, and from a business angle they were wrong.