Amazingly enough, I can't get worked up about Oprah being dissed

August 12, 2013

Are you kidding me people?

I swear to God the world is messing with me.

The BM may have a point about discrimination in a science setting and the way people make unthinking and covert assumptions.

I get that.

But Oprah was apparently refused a close look at a handbag “handbag” on sale for £22,500. Even in Eurocash that’s a lot of money. (Apparently she was in Switzerland to attend the wedding of Tina Turner, who is awesome.)

Naturally the world turns to debating whether the clerk in question steered Oprah (who she didn’t recognize) away from the spendy blingy bits because of her race or weight.

I’m sure most of you grasp that Oprah could buy the entire business.

Winfrey, 59, who runs her own TV network, earned $77 million in the year to June 2013, taking the No. 1 spot on the Forbes most powerful celebrity list last month, the fifth time she has headed the annual ranking.

It would be good to have a conversation about the assumptions made about people of color and those who are not the standard shape that indicates “rich” (whateverthatmightbe).

On the Twitts you can follow that on #myoprahmoment

For me….I can’t get past the fact that Oprah was shopping in a place that even HAD a “handbag” that costs £22,500.

I just can’t.

19 Responses to “Amazingly enough, I can't get worked up about Oprah being dissed”

  1. Dr Becca Says:

    I guess this means you didn’t get on the waitlist for the Olsen twins’ $55k BACKPACK last year…


  2. Ola Says:

    Meanwhile, back in the real world (the one the rest of us actually five a flying fuck about)…


  3. Comradde PhysioProffe Says:

    No idea if this is true, but I read somewhere that the clerks in such stores say things like that in an attempt to goad super rich customers into buying crazy expensive shitte like that: “You think I can’t afford that? I’ll show you!”


  4. dr24hours Says:

    Seriously. If you’re going to drop that kind of (what color are Swiss euros these days? Oh that’s right, the 500s are…) purple on an accessory, it should at least be custom made.


  5. Eli Rabett Says:

    Oprah has a complete set for zillions of Flora Danica. One damn plate costs over $1500,


  6. Dave Says:

    Wake up DM, 22.5K sterling on a handbag is pocket change these days. (<— best website ever!)


  7. sciencedude Says:

    Not surprisingly, the salesclerk has a rather different interpretation then Oprah (, who now seems to be downplaying the incident ( Something like this happened with Oprah a few years back in France also. Hmmm, could it be she is a bit oversensitive?
    BTW, the Swiss are not part of the EU. They still use Francs.


  8. dr24hours Says:

    They’ll take what I give them and be grateful.


  9. Living in Zurich, I can tell you that places that sell bags that are worth a small car (or a very nice stereotact) are really not that unusual.
    Many of these stores make an attempt at guessing how rich and worthy of buying stuff you are. Mere mortals are not kicked out, but are not made to feel very welcome either For Oprah, being a woman of color may not have helped, I don’t know.
    Not saying that this is obviously not a case of racism, but the snobbishness of these places is not just limited to skin color.

    O, and the swiss don’t have eurocash. They are not part of Europe, according to the Swiss 🙂


  10. Agh.. just saw that some of my comment went missing.
    Anyway, everyone kinda knows that luxury/exclusive shops somehow screen their customers. After all, what’s the point of being exclusive if anyone can just walk in and buy stuff? And now everyone gets upset because it turns out an exclusive shop excluded someone and got it wrong. I don’t really get it either…


  11. BikeMonkey Says:

    Maybe they got it right. Exclusivity is not only about how much money you have in the bank.


  12. Says:

    Didn’t she throw a fit a couple years ago because a shop in Paris wouldn’t stay open after hours just for her ?

    (In case in needs pointing out for USians, Oprah is essentially unknown to the general French public).


  13. drugmonkey Says:

    What does this have to do with the issues at hand? Lots of celebrated and/or rich people demand privileges not extended to mere mortals. And throw fits when denied.


  14. I think the whole idea of people somehow having to be worthy of buying in certain stores is silly, as is the idea that you can estimate the contents of a person’s wallet by the way they look.
    I am just surprised that people act like they only discover that these ideas are around only now (because Oprah). That is the part I don’t understand.
    It would be great if this whole thing can help people realize their own biases as well, but I fear everything will just get back to usual when the news starts after the summer is over.


  15. The Other Dave Says:

    Jeezus fickin christ people, try to get out of the lab now and then, will ya?

    Switzerland is not part of the Eurozone. They use Swiss francs.

    And recognize that the purse as a proportion of Oprah’s income was only like $40 to the average associate professor.

    There’s no doubt in my mind that the clerk was discriminating based on race or weight or both. Have you guys been to Switzerland? Remember they were pulling this only a few years ago…

    I saw those (and related) posters, and they were 1930s creepy.


  16. The Other Dave Says:

    And that curly ‘L’ thing? That’s for British pounds. The UK doesn’t use the euro either.


  17. drugmonkey Says:

    I am just surprised that people act like they only discover that these ideas are around only now (because Oprah). That is the part I don’t understand.

    need we ask if you are other than African-American?


  18. Ok, I probably come across as totally naive and privileged (and pretty incoherent).
    My point is: yes, shops discriminate and I think that’s stupid (and maybe part of their way of being exclusive and extra fancy). I also didn’t mean to dismiss any outrage of people who have to deal with this kind of crap every day. Not at all.

    The people I meant are the Swiss press (particularly the kind that is usually very judgemental) and neighbors and labbies. Reactions are (were) part “OMG people are suddenly judged by appearance by one idiot shop girl. No way”, part “Oprah must’ve been overreacting because Zurich is Swiss and tolerant and neutral” and a small part “maybe we should not be so quick to judge/dismiss people either”. Bigotry didn’t get invented in the past weeks, so I am still a bit baffled by the amount of surprise in my surroundings. That’s what I meant, but not what I wrote, I guess.

    But then again, I am just a Dutch girl living in Zurich. I only have to deal with the occasional “there are too many foreigners taking away our Swissness and our jobs, but you can stay for not because at least you’re not German or Muslim”, what the heck do I know…


  19. sciencedude Says:

    “There’s no doubt in my mind that the clerk was discriminating based on race or weight or both. ”

    Of course. That’s the only possible explanation. We all know that rich people are never black or fat, let alone both. And if a black person is treated badly by a white person, it has to be based on race.

    BTW, I wonder what the price tag was on the bag the clerk was showing to Oprah. She said it was similar, but cost less. Maybe only $10,000?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: