This Racist Store Refused to Let Even Oprah Shop There

Hell hath no fury like an Oprah scorned.

Oprah Winfrey was in Zurich, Switzerland for Tina Turner's wedding last month when a shop assistant refused to show Oprah a $38,000 crocodile skin bag because the assistant said the price was too steep for her, the Daily Mail reported.

Come again? That's chump change for Oprah. She's worth about $3 billion and is one of the most famous American women in the world. I could criticize her for potentially wanting to own an animal skin accessory, but that's another story for another time.

She asked to see the bag a second time and was denied again.

A lot of people with Oprah's status would have caused a scene at this point, but Oprah kept her cool and left the store without declaring that she was Oprah Effin' Winfrey — talk show host, billionaire, actress, producer, author and philanthropist.

But if we learned anything from the James Frey showdown, it's that Oprah won't let you get away with wrongdoings she witnesses. She declared the shop assistant's actions as racism in an interview on Entertainment Tonight.

"I didn't have my eyelashes on, but I was in full Oprah Winfrey gear," she said. "I had my little Donna Karan skirt and my little sandals, but obviously The Oprah Winfrey Show is not shown in Zurich. So this doesn't happen to me unless somebody obviously doesn't know that it's me."

By this, Oprah means racism. It's abundantly clear the shop assistant didn't know she was saying no to Oprah Winfrey, or she probably would have handled their encounter very differently.

Swiss tourism officials apologized for what happened, and the shop owner, Trudie Gotz, said the incident was instead a "misunderstanding," according to the Daily Mail.

Misunderstanding what? If a shopper asks to see something in a store you work at, you should probably get the item off the shelf and let them look at it. After all, the whole point of retail shops is to sell things. Judging a shopper's appearance and refusing to show them things because you suspect they can't afford them is terrible customer service and is incredibly rude.

This isolated incident shows the subtler side of racism, the kind that is less in your face but still hurtful and not OK. Nobody told Oprah she couldn't enter the store, but the treatment she received inside the establishment was racist.

Oprah's revelation surfaced around the same time that Swiss officials received criticism for local aurhorities' plans to bar asylum seekers housed by the government from some public places in Bremgarten.

"Bremgarten's decision has quickly drawn criticism from human-rights groups and incited accusations of racism, since the refugee center's residents come from Africa and Asia," according to Time.

Switzerland has one asylum seeker for every 332 inhabitants, which is almost double the European average, the Time article said.

But that's no reason to start getting xenophobic or racist. Because when Oprah catches wind of it, she'll hang you out to dry.

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Hope Miller

Native Texan, Arizona Wildcat alum, Anchorage-based freelance journalist, production assistant. I like yoga, sea otters, debating, reading, adventure and powerful storytelling.

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