Remember that scene in Pretty Woman where Vivian (Julia Roberts) walks into a boutique, dressed in her streetwalker clothes, and the saleswoman says, “I don’t think we have anything for you here. You’re obviously in the wrong place.”
Well, that basically happened to Oprah Winfrey.
While in Zurich, Switzerland, for longtime friend Tina Turner‘s recent wedding, the talk show host went shopping, strolled into a high-end store called Trois Pomme, and a handbag behind the counter caught her eye. So, she asked to the shopkeeper to see it.
“She says to me, ‘No, it’s too expensive,'” Winfrey, who made $77 million in the last year alone according to Forbes, told Entertainment Tonight. When she pressed, the woman offered to show other, cheaper options, saying, “that one will cost too much. You will not be able to afford that.”
But Winfrey, 59, did not want to make a scene. After asking several times to see the handbag, she acquiesced to the shopkeeper. “[She] said, ‘Oh, I don’t want to hurt your feelings,'” Winfrey recounted. “And I said, ‘Okay, thank you so much. You’re probably right, I can’t afford it.’ And I walked out of the store.”
“I could’ve had the whole blow-up thing and thrown down the (American Express) black card, and all that stuff but why do that?” the media mogul explained. “But (racism) still exists, of course it does.”
In wake of Winfrey going public with the incident, a spokeswoman for the Swiss tourism office, Daniela Baer, told The Associated Press on Friday “we are very sorry for what happened to her.” The tourism office also posted an apology on Twitter, saying “this person acted terribly wrong.”
Big mistake. Big. Huge.