Not Just In America

Oprah Winfrey
She is one of the richest and most famous women on the planet.

So when Oprah Winfrey popped in to an upmarket boutique for a new designer handbag she was taken aback when the shop assistant refused to show her a bag. 

She said the £24,460 crocodile skin item was ‘too expensive’.

Instead of making a scene, the billionaire TV magnate calmly left the Swiss store. 

But she has now hit back at her treatment in a furious interview on US television, claiming she was a victim of ‘racism’.

Miss Winfrey, 59, said: ‘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, could I see the bag right above your head?” and she says to me “No. It’s too expensive.”’ Miss Winfrey asked a second time to see the bag, which was locked in a cabinet to deter shoplifters.

Trudie Gotz

But oblivious to her fame and fortune, the shop assistant allegedly replied: ‘No, no, you don’t want to see that one, you want to see this one because that one will cost too much. You will not be able to afford that.’ 

It may have been beyond the salaries of ordinary mortals, but  £24,460 is small change to a celebrity worth about £1.8billion.

Miss Winfrey added: ‘I could have had the big blow-up thing and thrown down the black card and all that stuff.

‘But why do that? But it [racism] still exists, of course it does.’ 

‘I left the store but it proves that racism is still an issue,’ she added.

Referring to a famous movie scene in which Richard Gere tells a snobbish boutique salesman that he wants to spend an obscene amount of money she added: ‘I wanted to create a Pretty Woman moment and come back and buy everything and say ‘‘Big mistake!’’. But then I thought she’d get a commission, so let’s not do that,’ she added 

Miss Winfrey was in Zurich for the wedding of her friend Tina Turner to Erwin Bach last month. She was staying in the five-star Dolder Grand Hotel at the time.

The incident happened in a branch of the chic Trois Pommes chain of boutiques. Ironically, its owner Trudie Goetz was also a guest at Miss Turner’s nuptials.

Miss Goetz apologised for the incident, blaming it on a ‘misunderstanding’.

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

However, Zurich trade president Markus Hunig condemned the snub saying: ‘It’s totally unacceptable. I’ve never heard of anything like it.’              Read more: 

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