Friday, 9 August 2013

Oprah & The £25,000 Bag

With more than a billion dollars in the bank Oprah Winfrey can pretty much buy anything she wants. The problem it seems is getting a shop assistant actually willing to serve her!

In Zurich for Tina Turner's wedding, Oprah has revealed how she attempted - and ultimately failed - to buy a handbag from the the fashionable Trois Pommes boutique. Wearing what she describes as 'full Oprah Winfrey gear' we can assume she looked far from a scruffy trouble-maker out to damage luxury goods, but when the US chat show host asked for a closer look at a £25,000 Tom Ford tote bag the shop assistant refused, suggesting it was far too expensive for the star.

Big mistake, huge! Pretty Woman really should be obligatory viewing for snobby shop assistants. More fool this down right rude empolyee who missed out on earning a massive commission from Oprah's purchase. Hopefully she'll have learned a lesson about prejudice, but sadly this kind of thing happens far too often.

There is a boutique in my home town, popular with ladies who lunch and mothers of the bride, where the so called assistants frequently offend, showing certain customers straight to the sale rail or sending them packing to Primark - whilst some potential shoppers barely get through the hallowed doors before they're greeted with an 'I'm afraid there's nothing for you in here, madam.'

I've worked as a shop assistant, so I'm not casting judgement on a job I don't understand, but I really can't understand the cult of sulky shop assistants who can't be bothered to provide service with a smile. Spending long hours on a shop floor with no customers is mind numbing at best - so having customers to talk to and keep you busy is actually a blessing. It's not your job to judge how much money someone has or hasn't got. If anything you'd push the more expensive stock - especially when there's commission on the cards.

As for Oprah, I think she has dealt with 'bag-gate' with dignity, leaving without a causing a scene, but now naming and shaming the store on the widest scale, responding with the quip: 'Obviously 'The Oprah Winfrey Show' is not shown in Zurich.' The owner of Trois Pommes has since apologised to Oprah, but insists it was a misunderstanding rather than racism. In a climate where many retailers are struggling to survive service should be of paramount importance. If you don't get the respect you deserve it's simple - don't hand over your hard earned cash.

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