Oprah Winfrey must not be a household name in Switzerland because a store clerk at an expensive Zurich boutique didn’t know that American media mogul was a billionaire.

During a recent trip to northern Switzerland for Tina Turner’s wedding, Oprah said a saleswoman at Trois Pommes refused to show her a $38,000 handbag because it was “too expensive.”

“She said: `No, no, no, you don’t want to see that one. You want to see this one. Because that one will cost too much; you will not be able to afford that,'” Winfrey said in an interview with “Entertainment Tonight.” “And I said, `Well, I did really want to see that one.’ And she refused to get it.”

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“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,” she added

She went on to say the sales assistant suggested she look at cheaper bags.

“There’s two different ways to handle it. I could’ve had the whole blow-up thing,” she said, but “I left the store but it proves that racism is still an issue.”

Just hours after “Entertainment Tonight” aired the interview, Swiss tourism officials and boutique owner Trudie Goetz offered their apologies to Ms. Winfrey.

“We are very sorry for what happened to her, of course, because we think all of our guests and clients should be treated respectfully, in a professional way,” said Swiss tourism spokeswoman Daniela Baer.

Goetz insisted that the whole incident was a misunderstanding.

“I’m very sorry about this incident,” she said during a radio interview. “This can only happen because of a communication problem and a misunderstanding.”

“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’. And then she (Oprah) asked how much the bag costs and she (the employee) told her how much the bag was,” she explained. “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.'”

What do you think of the story. Was it racism or a misunderstanding?


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