I'm wondering if the first handbag the employee gave Oprah was identical to the really expensive one in terms of basic materials and layout, but less expensive due to not having as much bling or something like that.
In that case, I would think the employee's actions were perfectly fine. Maybe the really expensive handbag takes a little while to get out of its display case, or down from being really high up, something like that. (Because I would imagine that anything that expensive is protected in some way, more so than the regular merchandise.)
And if the bags are basically the same, then Oprah could have been going ahead and looking at the first one to see if it met her requirements in terms of what it can hold, etc., while the employee got out the more expensive bag and similar ones. If the inside of the bag was too small or didn't have a good zipper or whatever other things would make it a bag Oprah wouldn't want, then that would have had the additional benefit of saving wear and tear on the really expensive one-no one would have had to touch it at all. (I'm thinking of the other comments in this thread about keeping expensive merchandise in good condition for the eventual buyer.)
Especially with the obvious language barrier, I suspect this was more of what was on the employee's mind, rather than deliberately trying to keep merchandise away from someone. But for sure, I think, it's a confusing situation and we will probably never know all of the truth.