...and it's Oprah Winfrey.
Unless you just got off the slow shuttle from the Planet Zargon, you know that Oprah Winfrey was touring Switzerland for some undisclosed reason last month, and she went into a shop in Zurich that has some very expensive goods. When she asked to see a $38,000 crocodile handbag, the clerk told her she wouldn't show it (it was inside a locked glass case) because the clerk thought it was too expensive for her.
According to this story, the clerk's main language was Italian (one of the three "official" languages of Switzerland, the others being German and French), and she had difficulty with translating "expensive" into English.
Next thing we know, Oprah screams "Racism" on a TeeVee show.
Meh. This isn't racism. It's loss control, boneheads. The clerk wasn't about to just hand over a $38,000 purse, a highly portable item, to someone she didn't know. That would be like a Ferrari dealership just handing you the keys to one of their models just because you walked in and asked for a test drive. You or I wouldn't do that, either, without some more secure way of handling the demonstration. The clerk took what she thought was the easy way out, and told the unknown-to-her Oprah that she couldn't afford that purse. She took a gamble with excellent odds, and lost her gamble. Oprah, of course, could have bought the shop and all it's inventory on the spot, had she chose to.
Now, it gets nasty, and I'm here to dish out some nasty in return.
Oprah brought this all on herself. As an uber-wealthy woman, she MUST have known the procedures for handling very expensive merchandise in haute couture boutiques. She must have. She must also know the way around this, pick one of several:
- Have your private secretary call ahead and inform management that the Big Cheese herself is coming by.
- Oprah could simply have presented her business card to the clerk. Or her passport. Or even told her who she was to her face. She could even have channeled being a supermodel and said "do you know who I am?"
Oprah took none of these common-sense choices, so she must have decided that the opportunity to play the race card was more important.
Or, Oprah might have set the whole deal up. That's a possibility, and not unknown among the class of race pimps. See the History books: Al Sharpton and the Tawana Brawley incident, the Duke Lacrosse incident, or most any of Jesse Jackson's incidents, all are planned to bring out a certain response which wouldn't otherwise come out.
Also of note is the fact that Oprah is marketing her new movie now, "The Butler", a movie supposedly about racism in the White House of yesteryear. She could easily have blown this incident out of proportion as part of her flacking for her own movie, which is a work of race-pimping anyway, if the reviews and trailer are to be believed.
As a side note, the Swiss Government, which I had great respect for up until now, immediately issued an "apology" for the incident. How was the Government even involved?
Race pimping: it's not just for political wannabees anymore.