Remember this scene in Pretty Woman where Julia Roberts tries to shop at Rodeo Drive and gets treated like crap?
I guess most of us have experienced something like this at some point in our lives.
When I was a teenager back in the ’80s, I tried to buy eyeshadow in a San Francisco store and asked to look at it.
Then the sales assistant says, “But sweetie, that’s $40. Do you have $40?”
“Yes I do!” I said. (In fact, I had more.)
Wit that, I was able to buy it.
Many times I dress like a homeless person. I’ve been treated like crap at Hermés in Hong Kong, but I get what I want for the most part.
But one of my chicest friends (a Filipino) was in Italy many years ago to meet with a client who happened to be Dolce & Gabbana. During her free time she passed by a Prada store and asked to see a white bag that was on display.
“No,” said the sales assistant.
“Why not?” my friend asked.
My friend guessed it was because the bag was white??? Even though my friend was wearing gloves at that time, they refused her the bag. She walked away very offended.
Another time my cousin Jenny went to Hermés in Paris with the intention of buying a Birkin.
The sales assistant told her they had none. So she stepped outside, and asked her European husband to try.
Jenny’s husband entered and was able to purchase a Birkin for Jenny without any problem. The bags were hidden in the back!
The thing is, Jenny and her husband had to communicate by cellphone while Jenny waited outside, because they wouldn’t sell it to her!
This day and age, there are still many places, especially in Europe, that aren’t eager to sell luxury goods to Asians.
Not even to Oprah Winfrey.
In 2005, Oprah was refused entry at Hermés Paris, even while some shoppers were still inside.
And now a more recent incident in Zurich, where a sales person gave her the Pretty Woman treatment at Trois Pommes.
Here’s how Oprah described the incident on Entertainment Tonight:
“I was in Zurich the other day, in a store whose name I will not mention. I didn’t have my eyelashes on, but I was in full Oprah Winfrey gear. I had my little Donna Karan skirt and my little sandals. But obviously The Oprah Winfrey Show is not shown in Zurich. I go into a store and I say to the woman, ‘Excuse me, could I see the bag right above your head?’ and she says to me, ‘No. It’s too expensive.”
The saleswoman went on to suggest she look at cheaper bags. ‘I left the store but it proves that racism is still an issue.”
I follow Oprah on Instagram where she posts pictures of herself without makeup on.
When not on TV, Oprah has no problem going out like this.
The bag she was interested in was a Tom Ford bag named after Jennifer Aniston—except the one in Zurich was in crocodile and costs about $38,000.
Jennifer clearly loves the bag
Personally I don’t care for anything Tom Ford. But if I were him, I would send Oprah the crocodile bag with a nice note. (Tigilan na kasi ang crocodile bag!) Cause I love Oprah and I believe in her.
To think the store’s spokesperson had the gall to defend its salesperson against Oprah!
“This is an absolute misunderstanding,” Trudie Goetz, head of the Swiss luxury chain Trois Pommes, told Us Weekly in a statement. “Any sales person would love to sell a crocodile bag. She simply explained [to Oprah] that the bag she wanted to look at was beautiful but in a very high price range and suggested lower priced models in leather, ostrich and so forth.”
Goetz adds, “It was a misunderstanding. The staff member who welcomed Oprah is one of the hardest working and regularly deals with VIP clients. There was no discrimination.”
Well, I honestly doubt it.
When I owned a store I told my sales persons to be kind to everyone who walks through the door because some of the richest people dress like slobs. Not everyone wants to dress like a fashion statement every single day.
Bottom line: Be kind, for the person you are rude to may be your best customer.
Have you ever experienced rudeness at a store? Tell us in the comments section.