Author Topic: Oprah Winfrey claims sales assistant refused to let her see a handbag  (Read 16026 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

lowspark

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4165
Re: Oprah Winfrey claims sales assistant refused to let her see a handbag
« Reply #75 on: August 26, 2013, 08:42:58 AM »
I really don't think that businesses that sell extremely expensive products have ANY obligation whatsoever to let anyone who asks handle them.  If they did, they'd be spending their entire day showing purses and cars to people who have no ability or intention to actually purchase them.  I think it IS good business to make sure someone is really serious before allowing them to handle very expensive merchandise, and I think people who are used to making these kinds of purchases know that and are prepared to prove that they are serious buyers.

But exactly how are the sales staff making that determination? And what are the customers expected to do to prove that they are serious buyers?

Sharnita

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 21681
Re: Oprah Winfrey claims sales assistant refused to let her see a handbag
« Reply #76 on: August 26, 2013, 11:24:41 AM »
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.

PastryGoddess

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5215
    • My Image Portfolio and Store
Re: Oprah Winfrey claims sales assistant refused to let her see a handbag
« Reply #77 on: August 26, 2013, 12:10:58 PM »
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

turnip

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 607
Re: Oprah Winfrey claims sales assistant refused to let her see a handbag
« Reply #78 on: August 26, 2013, 12:27:07 PM »
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.

Winterlight

  • On the internet, no one can tell you're a dog- arf.
  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 10014
Re: Oprah Winfrey claims sales assistant refused to let her see a handbag
« Reply #79 on: August 26, 2013, 12:29:34 PM »
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.

Agreed. Also, as PastryGoddess points out, the store outed themself. She never gave their name. So if they're having problems, it's their own issue, not Oprah's.
If wisdom’s ways you wisely seek,
Five things observe with care,
To whom you speak,
Of whom you speak,
And how, and when, and where.
Caroline Lake Ingalls

veronaz

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2225
Re: Oprah Winfrey claims sales assistant refused to let her see a handbag
« Reply #80 on: August 26, 2013, 12:38:01 PM »
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.

Agreed. Also, as PastryGoddess points out, the store outed themself. She never gave their name. So if they're having problems, it's their own issue, not Oprah's.

I agree.  And no amount of "I can't stand Oprah" rhetoric will change those facts.

lowspark

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4165
Re: Oprah Winfrey claims sales assistant refused to let her see a handbag
« Reply #81 on: August 26, 2013, 12:47:02 PM »
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 makes sense if that's their business model. But clearly, that isn't their policy at this store, or Oprah would have had an appointment and none of this would have happened.

So that brings me back to my question:
Exactly how are the sales staff making that determination? And what are the customers expected to do to prove that they are serious buyers?

It also brings me back to what I said in an earlier post. I'm guessing that Oprah didn't walk into this store (or any other) wearing torn up dirty jeans and a cheap t-shrt. I bet she was dressed to the nines in expensive clothing and probably also carrying a fairly expensive purse for that matter.

So, again, what did the salesperson base her decision on this (or any) customer's buying ability?

MommyPenguin

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4632
    • My blog!
Re: Oprah Winfrey claims sales assistant refused to let her see a handbag
« Reply #82 on: August 26, 2013, 12:48:35 PM »
My understanding is that the store didn't out themselves; Oprah gave enough detail (I believe the city, and the store is the only store of that kind in that city) that her fans figured it out.  I could be wrong, but that was how I'd heard it.

Shoo

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 16393
Re: Oprah Winfrey claims sales assistant refused to let her see a handbag
« Reply #83 on: August 26, 2013, 01:22:36 PM »
And seriously?  Have you ever seen Oprah without all her make up and wigs on?  She does NOT look like she does on TV.  She is unrecognizable.  I can see someone not recognizing her if she came in not made up.

PastryGoddess

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5215
    • My Image Portfolio and Store
Re: Oprah Winfrey claims sales assistant refused to let her see a handbag
« Reply #84 on: August 26, 2013, 01:48:46 PM »
I went back and looked at the interview.  It wasn't clear if she was in incognito mode or full on OPRAH mode.   Also, Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland and is the stomping ground for the rich and famous in Europe.  Trois Pommes is one of many high end shops near the Bahnhofstrasse shopping area. 

The shop was rude full stop

http://www.etonline.com/news/136849_Oprah_on_Being_a_Recent_Victim_of_Racism/index.html

Shoo

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 16393
Re: Oprah Winfrey claims sales assistant refused to let her see a handbag
« Reply #85 on: August 26, 2013, 01:53:42 PM »
Okay, maybe the shop was rude.  But racist?  Please.

KenveeB

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8749
Re: Oprah Winfrey claims sales assistant refused to let her see a handbag
« Reply #86 on: August 26, 2013, 02:07:01 PM »
And again, the store was rude IF you believe Oprah's version of events. If you believe the store's version -- "she asked to see a bag, I offered to show her the bag and suggested other similar options" -- then it wasn't rude at all. That's where "I can't stand Oprah" comes in, in whether you believe her story at all or believe she made the entire thing up out of whole cloth in order to tell a "discrimination" story to promote her new movie. Given her history and the very significant fact that she's completely backtracked and doesn't want to talk about it at all as soon as the store disputed her story, I think she made the whole thing up.

TurtleDove

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6284
Re: Oprah Winfrey claims sales assistant refused to let her see a handbag
« Reply #87 on: August 26, 2013, 03:00:43 PM »
Okay, maybe the shop was rude.  But racist?  Please.

Agreed. From everything I have seen and heard about this, I am not even sure the shop was rude.  I do think, however, that Oprah did people a major disservice by crying "racism" here.  I do not see that at all, and I think Oprah's actions here diminish the real struggles of people who face actual racism.

PastryGoddess

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5215
    • My Image Portfolio and Store
Re: Oprah Winfrey claims sales assistant refused to let her see a handbag
« Reply #88 on: August 26, 2013, 03:35:06 PM »
racism is not always overt and in your face.  It can be a tone, a comment, a look, a feeling, etc. 

goldilocks

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 860
Re: Oprah Winfrey claims sales assistant refused to let her see a handbag
« Reply #89 on: August 26, 2013, 03:43:54 PM »
This reminded me of something that happened here years ago.  A famous actress wanted to move to my town (she had grown up here), and chose a house in a community that was so exclusive the existing owners actually had to vote before you were allowed to buy your house.

She was not voted in.  The reasons given had to do with their fear of "hollywood" types invading the neighborhood.

Anyway, I found it ironic that she wanted to move into a community that was so exclusive they could bar any potential neighbors, and then was upset when she was the one barred.