By now, most of you know about the latest controversy with Oprah bashing a shopkeeper in Switzerland. If not, you should probably Google it for more details, but I’ll give you the brief outline here.

When she was in Switzerland for Tina Turner’s recent wedding, Oprah stopped in an expensive shop, looking to buy a purse for the wedding. She claims that she asked to see one that was out of reach, but that the clerk told her it was too expensive, and tried to show her other purses instead.

Of course, Oprah claims that it was racism. But the worker in question says that she showed her other ones to see if she’d like them before she had to climb up to get the really expensive one down. The woman told Oprah just how expensive it was, (it’s close to $50,000!,) because that’s what she tells every customer to see if they still want to buy it before she goes all the way up there to bring it down. That’s totally reasonable, and I believe the woman. She said she didn’t know who Oprah was, or didn’t recognize her, or something like that, and so she just treated her the way that she would treat every other customer. (That’s the way all stores are supposed to work, isn’t it?)

Oprah semi-apologized in public, and said that while she was careful to not name the shop, she now regrets that she even mentioned the country! (I know, right?) But there’s more.

Photo by Karen Salkin.

Photo by Karen Salkin.

Sidebar: I was at screening the other night where Oprah was one of the speakers after it. I was surprised that nobody asked her about the controversy during the Q&A session, but I think we were all so affected by the film that it didn’t cross any of their minds at the time. (Well, of course it crossed my mind, but I would never do something like that at a screening that I’m invited to.) I’ve never been an Oprah fan because I think she’s kind of a phony and usually too big for her britches. So I was shocked to see that I really didn’t mind her that night; as my friend pointed out, she just seemed really nervous about the success of the film she’s in, The Butler. (I hope to publish my review of it tomorrow, so please remember to check back for it. She told us something that she did on the set all the time, which I plan to put in the review. I thought her actions she spoke of were pretty obnoxious, but she was so proud of herself. Wait a second—so what else is new?) That night, she was actually letting the other cast members speak, and not trying to make like she was the smartest one there, as she does everywhere else she appears.

So now, just as I was beginning to dislike her a little bit less, new information about the Swiss debacle has come out. She was asked about it at the premiere of the above-mentioned film, and her comments showed once again just how full-of-herself she is. According to the Daily Mail, she answered thusly, “It was however uncommon for that to happen to me. Believe me, usually sales people rejoice when I come to them in their business. It is very unusual that I’m not really involved when in a boutique. Outside, people usually press their noses flat against the windows to see me shopping.” Charming, eh?

So the big question is not is the clerk in the shop racist, but why is Oprah making this big fuss about it? She has no idea what the woman’s impetus was. And what if the woman lost her job over this flap? Oprah always tries to make-out like she cares about everybody in the world, so why is she trying to ruin someone else’s life? Is it that terrible to her that someone didn’t bow down to her for once?

I really think that the exchange was not a question of the women being racist, sexist, or fat-ist, (is that even such a thing?,) but that of not wanting to take down the most expensive item in the place only to have the shopper reject it, (which is probably what usually happens with a $50,000 purse,) thus making the woman have to climb all the way back up there to return it to its place.

And you know what? Oprah being a jerk to this store makes me want to shop there myself. And I will, the next time I’m in Switzerland. Oh yeah, and the next time I have over $20 to spend on a purse!

There is one amusing thing that came out of this situation. In an effort to let us all know just how chi-chi she looked to go into this upscale shop, Oprah mentioned that she put on a “little Donna Karan skirt.” We all know that’s a lie right there–I can guarantee you that there was nothing little about that skirt, if you get my drift. Oh no– does that sentence mean I’m fat-ist? I guess she’ll go after me next.


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