Saturday, August 10, 2013

Oprah and The Racist Zurich Salesgirl

In case you missed this itty bit of news from yesterday….Oprah while in Switzerland for Tina Turner's wedding, went into a shop and asked the Swiss shopgirl to bring down a bag so she can have a better look at it. Swiss Salesgirl told Oprah that she will bring her other bags of similar quality that are less expensive, but that one Mba…is too mush for her purse. Oprah repeated the request two more times, insisting that she really wanted to see that particular black bag. Shopgirl still politely said No offering other less costly bags.
Oprah quietly said thank you and walked out of the shop.
So why did the sales girl refuse Oprah?
The bag was positioned on a shelf above her head. Maybe She didn’t want to go through the stress of bringing it down.
Counter argument – If she had thought the customer talking to her could afford it, she would have climbed up before you can say 'monkey' and made that 35,000 euro sale

Oprah is lying
What does she have to gain from lying when this can easily be refuted by CCTV?

The Shopgirl did not know who Oprah was
Granted Oprah’s show is not regularly aired in Switzerland so she might not be as popular to Swiss locals, but Shopgirl is supposed to treat all customers equally - not guess at the size of their account based on appearance before responding

The Shopgirl was being Racist
Oprah was black and therefore looked even less likely to afford the expensive bag (wonder what Oprah wore that day??).
You are damn right.

Listening to Trudie Goetz defence of her Salesgirl, I didn’t know if she was suffering from communication in English or just plain stubbornness in the face of truth.
I believe she rather said something like ’we have some less expensive’ — ’we also have some less expensive bags’ and not ’it’s too expensive for you “ 
“The shop assistant apparently asked her (Oprah) if she would like to see the bag, but she apparently said ’No, I just want to look’.

Biko, Please, Ejoo, what is the difference between see and look? We have some less expensive/not ‘it’s too expensive for you’

Anyway, the statement ‘she wasn’t sure it was Miss Oprah or somebody else’ was singularly incriminating. Mscheew.

Two lessons learnt from this:
Humility - As one of the richest and popular women in the entertainment world, she could have gotten away with ‘Do you know who I am? or imperially demanded to see her manager’. How many of us could have resisted doing that. But she didn’t. She said thank you and walked out.
Loyalty??- I admire Trudie Goetz the shop owner for not throwing her salesgirl under the bus at the first opportunity. She could have easily told the media, ‘I have sacked the salesgirl. I do not tolerate such behaviour’ and come out smelling of roses. But here she is trying to defend her Salesgirl of 3 years. I’m still not sure if the case is that she trusts her employee and truly believes there was a misunderstanding or because she is a bigger racist and does not wish to apologise…indeed she has not apologised to Oprah. But let me be the bigger person and go with loyalty.

Racism is alive and real but in the words of MJ in the song Black or White – ‘I’m not gonna spend my life being a colored’. I will go about my way jejely and do my best. I’m quite shocked about Switzerland though. I thought it was the most egalitarian country in Europe what with housing the bastions of equality and diversity the UN, UNESCO etc.
Someone tell me to wake up.


  1. Europeans no matter the country are still largely I am not surprised. One of the Kenyan girls I met while living in India was recently denied a flat she was hoping to rent in this same Switzerland simply because she was black and the landlord gave some flimsy excuse of the smell of her haircream or something related to that.

    I love Oprah's response and Oyinbo people no dey gree apologize to black people.

    1. A landlord said her haircream was what??!!! Oh mine. He didnt even try. Ah well, better to live with someone who is comfortable with you than one who is not.

  2. Hian! Bastion fire!! Racism is alive and thriving well, Switzerland inclusive, regardless of UNICEF. It is a shame tho.

  3. If Oprah was Nigerian, she would have been quick with the "Do you know who I am?!" bit lol. Kudos to her for even being patient

    1. Yeah Oprah totally impressed me i tell you.
      Good to see you here Naijawife. You and hubby are my favourite couple :)

  4. What a waste of commission #DeepSigh

    1. lmao!! tell me abourrit. thats how some people miss their blessing...

  5. Alive and kicking as they say. I saw that Geneva was quite diverse when I visited so I'm a little surprised like you.

  6. Exactly Myne. I've heard different about Switzerland too and thought the pot pourri of expatriates means greater tolerance. i assumed wrong it seems...

  7. bLESSINGS......
    Ignorance is like dirt, its always there.

  8. Very alive. I hear they have apologized now.

  9. I'm surprised that I am just seeing this post.

    She is racist, and she doesn't know Oprah. But it is so surprising that there are people in the western world that don't know Oprah.

  10. Amazing article.
    I am so impressed. Could never think of such a thing is possible with it...I think you have a great knowledge especially while dealings with such subjects.



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