Oprah claims racism when Swiss shop owner assumes she can't afford a handbag..again?

Jun 30, 2005
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outsiddah Boston
#1
So I swear I've heard this story before...many times before..a rich person is told they can't afford something but they are rich and can and the clerk fails to realize they are undercover rich and blows them off..

Well when this happens to Oprah it's racism...
(CNN) -- Billionaire U.S. media mogul Oprah Winfrey says she was the victim of racism on a recent trip to Switzerland when a shop assistant refused to show her a handbag because it was "too expensive."

Winfrey was in Zurich for Tina Turner's wedding in late July when she left her hotel alone and popped into an upscale handbag shop.

She told Entertainment Tonight: "I was in Zurich the other day at a store whose name I will not mention. I didn't have my eyelashes on, but I was in full Oprah Winfrey gear. I had my little Donna Karan skirt and sandals, but obviously The Oprah Winfrey Show is not shown in Zurich."

"I go into a store and say to the woman, 'Excuse me, may I see that bag over your head?' and she says to me 'No, it's too expensive.'"

Winfrey says she asked again to see the bag -- a $38,000 crocodile skin number by Tom Ford -- and the woman again refused, saying, "No no no, you don't want to see that one, you want to see this one, because that one will cost too much and you will not be able to afford that."

Winfrey says she asked a final time to see the bag: "One more time I tried -- I said, 'But I really do just want to see that one,' and she said, 'I don't want to to hurt your feelings,' and I said, 'Ok thank you so much, you're probably right, I can't afford it and walked out of the store. Now why did she do that?"

While Winfrey did not specifically identify the shopping trip as a racist experience she told the story during a larger interview on racism and how racism she has suffered..

The talk show host is the first and only female African-American billionaire, with an estimated net worth of $2.8 billion. She said: "I could've had the big blow up thing and thrown down the black card and all that, but why do that?"

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Winfrey chose not to identify the shop, but the name of the high-end boutique -- Trois Pomme -- was soon revealed. The shop's manager told CNN the entire incident was a "200 percent misunderstanding" and had nothing to do with racism.

"Mrs. Oprah said she just wanted to look at the bag, she didn't want it taken down, and because my sales assistant felt a little embarrassed about the price, she quickly said that she also had the model in other materials such as ostrich and suede, which weren't so expensive," explained Trudie Goetz, the manager of Trois Pommes.

Calling it a "normal selling discussion," Goetz said: "Mrs. Oprah got the impression she didn't want to sell the bag to her because she wanted to show her other bags. This had nothing whatsoever to do with racism."

"Who wouldn't want to sell a bag like that? Everyone would. My saleswoman just wanted to do her best. She feels very bad because she feels the way it's being represented is very unfair."

Goetz added that Tina Turner was her "best friend" and that she, like Oprah, attended the singer's wedding.
You'll note Oprah says it ISN'T racism....but the media will lap it up and say it was...I will bet the store is not in the habit of handing $38,000 bags to people...
 

ruckstande

Posts mostly from the shitter.
Apr 2, 2005
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#2
I don't believe for a second Oprah walked into a store without thirty or more people from her entourage.
 

f kane

Known Traffic Menace
Feb 10, 2010
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#5



Oprah's stubby thumb approves
 
Jun 30, 2005
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outsiddah Boston
#6
Do you remember when this happened to another celebrity...I think whoever they were they talked about it on O&A a few years ago...and O&A were like "their loss, you're rich" I believe it has happened to Opie a few times because he likes to dress in the "Derelicte" style
 
Oct 4, 2004
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#7
How would the shop owner know? Are there black people in Switzerland?
 

Neckbeard

I'm Team Piggy!
Donator
Oct 26, 2011
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#8
Why would she think somebody from Switzerland would know who she is?
 

Ballbuster1

In The Danger Zone...
Wackbag Staff
Aug 26, 2002
103,773
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Your house, behind the couch
#12
This happens all the time when people have no clue who you are.

A friend of mine who's worth quite a few mil walks in to the local
Chevy dealer to buy an Avalanche to tow a car trailer he bought
because he didn't want to tow it with his H2.

He's dressed in blue jeans and a flannel shirt and the salesman
tries to steer him to a used Suburban. He had no clue who he was.

The GM of the dealership sees him and runs over and tells the salesman
to give him whatever he wants and they'll send him the bill later.
Dummy almost lost a nice commission assuming he couldn't afford the truck.
 

Dikbag

Registered User
Dec 11, 2004
3,344
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NW Ohio
#13
A friend of mine who's worth quite a few mil walks in to the local
Chevy dealer to buy an Avalanche to tow a car trailer he bought
because he didn't want to tow it with his H2.
I'm sure he has his reasons but why an Avalanche? I'm sure it would pull a loaded car trailer OK. If I had millions and needed to tow a car I'd be looking at a desiel GMC Denali.
 

Ego

The Only Thing Bigger Than My Head
Feb 15, 2005
4,339
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#14
If your wealthy friend wants to sell the H2, let me know. I could never afford it, but knowing it is for sale would allow me to dream of buying it.
 

KRSOne

Registered User
Dec 8, 2011
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#16
Thats weird, I've never heard of anyone specifically buying an Avalanche to tow something.
 

HandPanzer

O Tempora O Mores!
May 30, 2013
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#18
Oprah faced not just fashion retail racism, but size bias too
Oprah's bad experience in a posh Swiss shop was based on a snap judgment about her status. Not being size 10 is part of that



Oprah Winfrey: thyroid problems make weight fluctuations inevitable for the billionaire TV personality. Photograph: Mario Anzuoni/Reuters
Oprah Winfrey is a successful billionaire with an empire worth $3bn, a woman whose public reputation has been built on self-empowerment. She has been frank about the stresses in her life – racism and sexism figure often – and about her struggles with her weight.

It is this last aspect that may be the hardest to deal with. Oprah's thyroid condition makes her weight problems unavoidable. She has to deal with the rebellion of her body. She may find sympathetic tailors and fabulous shoes, and accessorize brilliantly, but she likely knows what all women know: shop assistants won't be kind to women over a size 10, and that is especially true of woman of color.

To find something nice for Tina Turner's wedding, Oprah walked alone into Trois Pommes in Zurich last month, an upscale shop that carries clothes from the usual runway names – Celine, Jil Sander, Lanvin – and has locations in wealthy ski towns that attract billionaires: St Moritz, Gstaad, Basel.

A shop assistant refused to show Oprah a $42,000 crocodile handbag. Here is the incident in Oprah's words, via the International Business Times:

I was in Zurich the other day, in a store whose name I will not mention. I didn't have my eyelashes on, but I was in full Oprah Winfrey gear. I had my little Donna Karan skirt and my little sandals. But obviously, the Oprah Winfrey Show is not shown in Zurich. I go into a store and I say to the woman, 'Excuse me, may I see the bag right above your head?' and she says to me, 'No. It's too expensive.'

Oprah later mused to Larry King that she considered following the script of Pretty Woman and deploying her fortune by buying everything in the store, but decided not to give the saleswoman the satisfaction of a larger commission. The head of the luxury chain, Trudie Goetz, later said that the saleswoman didn't recognize Winfrey and that by rejecting Oprah's request she tried to be "too kind".

No doubt, the details of the incident will be pored over. It has already been attributed to racism, and rightfully so: Oprah's incident tripped a wire that worries many women of color: to be judged negatively and immediately by their race, to be treated as second-class citizens, to be pointed to the things that are not the best, but considered merely "good enough" for you. The best and most expensive, the implication goes, is saved for those with the obvious status markers: well-groomed, accompanied by a wealthy-looking man, and usually, not coincidentally, very thin.

This is what Oprah, and most other women, rarely talk about: the struggle for respect faced by women of color is shared, at times, with another group: women of size, another category to which Oprah belongs. The scale is not the same – racism can be as ugly as anything humans are capable of – yet, on a day-to-day basis, they have parallels. There is the same sense of diminishment, the same high-handed assumption by others, the same struggle for control of your own image.

Race is tied with socioeconomic status struggles; so is weight. There have been some studies of a link between a woman's size and her socioeconomic status, showing that women with low incomes tend to be of higher weight. There are many theories on this – because of unsocial working hours, lower availability of healthy food in poor neighborhoods, and other factors that may affect food choice and metabolism.

On the other side of the scale, anorexia and other eating disorders tend to be more common in people of higher socioeconomic status. You don't need science to tell you this: in the cold calculation of high-end fashionor jewellery or luxury bags, a woman's dress size is often assumed to be a marker of her status, as much as race is. Both indicate a certain institutional bigotry, an assumption based on outdated – and just plain wrong – cliches about what a person's bank balance looks like based on what their body looks like.

This is what most women know: when a woman walks into an upscale store, she has already been evaluated as to the size of her bank account or credit line (or whether she looks like she can attract a man with both of them). High-end shop assistants, like everyone who works on bonus, commission or by their wits – Wall Street traders and pool hustlers, for instance – are taught to size up a mark at a thousand paces. They read grooming, body language, clothing, and accessories as a sign of how likely someone may be to spend – or lose – money.

This is what that Zurich shop assistant was doing. Lacking the crucial information that Oprah was a celebrity, she relied on shallow markers: her size, her race. Even a Donna Karan dress is not enough to overcome those biases.

Oprah was looking to buy a handbag, which has no size measurements, but the product is not the point: in an upscale boutique, all buyers are judged, in part, by their weight. Many shops want the people in them to look "thin and cool", in the words of Abercrombie & Fitch's CEO. They may grudgingly sell larger sizes, but only online.

The key thing for people of any size is to remain hidden from areas where status is important. The rather unintelligent thinking seems to be that fat is infectious, or that thin people won't want products that have been merely glanced at by anyone over a size 10.

As a result, there is a kind of social segregation based on weight as well as on race. To test this, walk into any other fashionable shop in Zurich, or Gstaad, or London, or Paris, or Los Angeles, or New York: you may see women in flip-flops, women with messy ponytails, women in ripped jeans. Those are all perfectly acceptable – as long as she is also carrying an expensive handbag or accompanied by a man who looks like he has means. But you will rarely, if ever, see even a perfectly groomed, immaculately dressed woman above a size 10.

Shop assistants in upscale boutiques in fashionable areas of major cities have become practiced at hovering around ample women in a hurry to remind them:

Oh, I'm sorry: we don't have anything in your size.

And this size bias trickles down the economic scale: clothing retailers at all levels perpetuate the idea that carrying an extra 30lb is anti-fashion. Identifying low body weight with low status seems to infect clothing retailers from Lululemon to Abercrombie & Fitch. Last week, Lululemon said that clothes above a size 12 "are not part of its business strategy", and Abercrombie's cheerleaders-only aesthetic has become the stuff of legend. "A lot of people don't belong (in our clothes), and they can't belong," says Abercrombie CEO Mike Jeffries.

This is, of course, ridiculous. There are many reasons for a woman's weight to vary, including everything from medication to thyroid issues to stress to lifestyle. Fat-shaming, as the fashion retail industry often indulges in, is also a form of fat-blaming: it assumes that a woman's weight tells you all you need to know about her. This is irrational and, most importantly, completely false.

The common bias of tying socioeconomic status with weight is just bad business. The saleswoman who made that assumption about Oprah was wrong – and her shop not only lost a high-value customer, but is also paying a steep price in the very public wrath of a billionaire scorned. Whatever the social formula those shop assistants are using may be, it often fails to truly judge a customer's ability to spend. It was, to quote Pretty Woman, "a huge mistake".

There are women who would like to have access to upscale fashion and have the means to indulge – if only shops would recognize that high income and good credit comes in all shapes and sizes. Maybe clothing retailers should, similarly, learn that a woman's cultural, economic and social power is not solely discernible at a glance – either by her skin color or by her weight.

It might help their bottom line if they stopped judging those of others.​

Aww shit, the fatties are pissed now too.

 

BIV

I'm Biv Dick Black, the Over Poster.
Apr 22, 2002
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#19
Damn. Now I want a cheeseburger.
 

HandPanzer

O Tempora O Mores!
May 30, 2013
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#20
Shit just got real.

'Oprah's a liar': Sales assistant in Swiss racist handbag row denies telling TV host that she could not view item because she couldn't afford it

The sales assistant who refused to show U.S. talkshow billionaire Oprah Winfrey a luxury handbag costing nearly £25,000 claims the superstar lied about what happened in the luxury Swiss boutique where she works.

Speaking anonymously to Sunday newspaper SonntagsBlick, the Italian bag lady said she felt 'powerless' and in the grip of a 'cyclone' after Winfrey went on TV in America to claim she had been the victim of racism.

Winfrey was in Switzerland in July when she walked into the Trois Pommes boutique in Zurich looking for a handbag to match the outfit she was going to wear to old friend Tina Turner's wedding.

She claims the sales assistant refused to show her the black crocodile leather bag because - seeing a black woman - she automatically assumed she would not be able to afford it.

Now the saleslady has hit back, stating: '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.

'She looked at a frame behind me. Far above there was the 35,000 Swiss franc crocodile leather bag.

'I simply told her that it was like the one I held in my hand, only much more expensive, and that I could show her similar bags.

'It is absolutely not true that I declined to show her the bag on racist grounds. I even asked her if she wanted to look at the bag.

'She looked around the store again but didn't say anything else. Then she went with her companion to the lower floor. My colleague saw them to the door. They were not even in the store for five minutes.'

She emphatically denied ever saying to Winfrey: 'You don't want to see this bag. It is too expensive. You cannot afford it.'




Speaking anonymously, the assistant at Trois Pommes, in Zurich, Switzerland (pictured) said it is 'absolutely not true that I declined to show her the bag on racist grounds'





Ms Goetz said: 'Everyone wants to sell a crocodile bag. It’s a misunderstanding' and insisted her saleswomen put customers first and try to be 'kind'



The shop assistant said she only sells a £25,000 handbag a few times a year and said the racist claims are 'absurd'

The saleslady went on: 'This is not true. This is absurd. I would never say something like that to a customer. Really never. Good manners and politeness are the Alpha and the Omega in this business.

'I don't know why she is making these accusations. She is so powerful and I am just a shop girl.

'I didn't hurt anyone. I don't know why someone as great as her must cannibalize me on TV.

'If it had all taken place as she claimed, why has she not complained the next day at the wedding of Tina Turner with Trudie Goetz, my boss? She was there also at the Turner wedding as a guest. I don't understand it.

'I spoke to Oprah Winfrey in English. My English is okay but not excellent, unfortunately.

'I didn't know who she was when she came into the store. That wouldn't have made any difference if I had.



Miss Winfrey said of the encounter: 'I could have had the big blow-up thing and thrown down the black card and all that stuff. But why do that?'



Shop owner Trudie Goetz holds up the handbag (right) that Winfrey wanted to see


Girls' weekend: Oprah Winfrey and best friend Gayle King ahead of Tina Turner and Erwin Bach's wedding celebrations in Zurich, Switzerland

'We work really hard to greet all the people who come into the store with the same level of respect and treat them all equally.

'If someone asks me whether he or she can see an article, I always present these. Because that person is a potential buyer. And my job is to sell it.

'I'm glad if I can sell an article. It is a reward for me, if I can sell a nice piece. This means that I'm good at my job.'

She has worked in the store for five years, says 50 per cent of the clientele come from abroad and that a bag costing nearly £25,000 is sold 'only a few times a year.'

Asked what she would say to Oprah now she added: 'I would apologize and say it was all a misunderstanding. I surely did not intentionally want to insult Ms. Winfrey. I hope this nightmare ends soon.'



Winfrey was in Switzerland to attend the wedding of her friend Tina Turner and Erwin Back (pictured)
 

THE FEZ MAN

as a matter of fact i dont have 5$
Aug 23, 2002
43,023
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#21
Guess what? You look like shit and walk into a store you are going to be treated accordingly. I do it all the time because I routinely look like shit
 

CougarHunter

Lying causes cat piss smell.
Mar 2, 2006
10,598
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KC Metro
#22
Guess what? You look like shit and walk into a store you are going to be treated accordingly. I do it all the time because I routinely look like shit
It's the plastic horns. How can anyone take you seriously with plastic horns on your head?
 

jnoble

Lingering longer for a longering linger
Dec 4, 2005
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#23
Every once in awhile I quietly envy fascist police states like North Korea or China for the sole reason that monkeyshine flash-mob nonsense like this would be swiftly and brutally crushed never to happen again. The only thing left to do is mop up the blood.
 

jnoble

Lingering longer for a longering linger
Dec 4, 2005
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#24
I'm pretty sure Oprah's ego and sense of importance is bigger than even His Majesty King Obama's. She hasn't lived in reality in a very long time.