Oprah Winfrey (Photo swiped from Google)
This morning I heard the account on the news about the shop assistant who didn’t recognize Oprah Winfrey, wouldn’t show her a bag that was “too expensive.” Ouch! Imagine saying that to one of the richest women in the world … how embarrassing.
Here is one of the articles about the incident: http://www.mirror.co.uk/tv/tv-news/oprah-winfrey-handbag-racism-row-2157350
Oprah made a big stink about it and called the shop girl a “racist.”
I’m going to side with Oprah on this one, but not because I think the shop girl is a racist. Because I think the shop girl was condescending … period.
As a woman who likes to shop, I’ve experienced so many shop girls and shop owners that act haughty, judgmental and above it all, whether they are working in an expensive boutique or a tacky Mandees. I’m sure many woman can relate to that incident in “Pretty Woman” where Julia Roberts tries to buy clothes and the shop girls turn their nose up at her just because she’s not wearing what they felt was fashion-appropriate. (I thought Julia Roberts looked hot in that blue mini skirt and the sales girls looked like dullards who should have been auditioning for a “Little House on the Prairie” remake).
Face it … we live in a world where people like to feel superior and will take every opportunity to do so. They practically pounce on people with nice personalities such as Oprah because they THINK they can get away with it. It’s sad that losers with low self-esteem have to resort to bitchiness in order to make others feel bad.
I am proud of Oprah for bringing this out in the public, as snooty sales girls need to be bitch-slapped. But I don’t like that she said it was racism, as this happens to so many of us white women too. I’d even say it was age-ism before racism, actually.
As a 40-something white middle-class woman, here are THE TOP THREE most condescending moments I’ve experienced because of some asshole shop girl or shop owner.
1. In an expensive Hoboken boutique (that is no longer in business — gee, I wonder why?) where I once shopped along side of Molly Ringwald and bought clothes often, I tried on a long halter top gown. The owner talked me out of buying it because she felt that I wasn’t “busty” enough. (Uh, hello, 36-C!) I chewed her out and then never shopped there again. I told others not to shop there either and they listened to me.
2. In Mandees, I asked a sales girl where the pajamas were. In the most snotty, condescending manner she turned her nose up at me and said, “THIS IS NOT A PAJAMA SHOP!” Oh, excuse me, I didn’t know I was on Hollywood Boulevard, I thought I was in Union County, New Jersey.
3. In an expensive boutique that I used to love, I was at the party where they were switching owners — the new owner was under 30. She wouldn’t even look at me, which told me she was an ageist. Meanwhile she was bending over backwards to assist other 20-somethings. I never went back.
So, dearest Oprah, please don’t use the race card on this one. It’s not just you it happened to. It happened to me. It happened to Julia Roberts in “Pretty Woman.” And it happens to many other women, I’m sure.
Oh, and that expensive bag Oprah wanted to look at — it was hideous! My $40 bags are so much cuter, thank you very much!