Billionaire Oprah Winfrey Told She ‘couldn’t Afford’ $38k HandbagMedia mogul Oprah Winfrey was told that she would not want to look at a Tom Ford bag because it “cost too much”.
The billionaire who owns her own television network made the revelation about her experience in Zurich, Switzerland in an appearance in the show “Entertainment Tonight”. Winfrey was in Switzerland for the wedding of her friends Tina Turner and Erwin Bach.
During a visit to a posh shop called Trois Pommes, a clerk reportedly did not want to show Winfrey a bag that cost about $38,000.
Winfrey, who was named last month by Forbes Magazine as the most powerful celebrity in the world, did not reveal the name of the shop during her interview. Trois Pommes operates luxury shops in Zurich including the Tom Ford shop Winfrey went to.
The talk show queen even said that she was wearing an expensive outfit by Donna Karan but that didn’t stop the clerk at the shop from thinking she would not be able to afford an expensive handbag.
Winfrey made $77 million from July 2012 to June 2013 alone, data from Forbes Magazine revealed earlier this year. Based on her earnings for that period alone, she could afford well over a thousand handbags of the same price. Winfrey’s wealth is estimated to be nearing if not already above $3 billion.
The celebrity explained why she thinks she was a victim of racism at the Trois Pommes Tom Ford shop.
"But I will tell you this. 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,” Oprah said. “I had a little Donna Karan skirt, and little sandals, but obviously the Oprah Winfrey show is not shown in Zurich. So this doesn't happen to me, unless someone obviously doesn't know it's me.”
"I say to the woman: 'Excuse me, may I see that bag right above your head?' And she says to me: 'No. It's too expensive'. And I said: 'No, you see the black one, the one that's folded over,’” she continued.
“She said: ‘No, 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 one,’” Winfrey said in her “Entertainment Tonight” interview.
“And I said, ‘Well, I did really want to see that one.’ And she refused to get it,” she added.
On Friday, Swiss tourism officials were quick to say sorry.
“We are very sorry for what happened to her, of course, because we think all of our guests and clients should be treated respectfully, in a professional way,” Swiss tourism office spokesperson Daniela Baer was quoted as saying by The Associated Press in a report.
The tourism office also went on Twitter saying, “This person acted terribly wrong.”
Meanwhile, the owner of the luxury shop were Winfrey reportedly experienced racism says this is not racism but a terrible case of miscommunication.
“This is an absolute classic misunderstanding,” Reuters quotes Trudie Goetz, the owner of Trois Pommes, as saying. “This has nothing to do with racism, I am here for everyone and the customer is king.”
Goetz went on to say that the clerk who has Italian as a first language, just did not communicate well with Winfrey. The shop owner said that the clerk just wanted to tell Winfrey that the Tom Ford bag named “Jennifer” after Jennifer Aniston, who is a fan of the designer, was also available in other materials.
“Of course that's not the case. Who wouldn't want to sell a purse for 35,000 francs?” Goetz told Reuters denying that it was racism that drove the clerk to not show Winfrey the handbag.
In an interview with the BBC, Goetz said, “My salesperson wanted to give her the handbag in her hand. But she didn't want to take the bag.”
According to her, the saleswoman has been with her shop for years and “takes care of the most spoilt customers from all over the world.”
“I have to admit that the employee is Italian. Of course, she speaks English, but not as well as her mother tongue. It was a real misunderstanding,” she said.
Winfrey has not yet reacted to this explanation.