As my Mother, of Blessed Memory, used to say, “there are three sides to every story, his her’s and the truth.”
Oprah scored some PR points last week with the story of trying to purchase an expense (approximately $38,000) handbag in Switzerland and being told by the sales clerk that she wouldn’t show it to the TV star because she probably couldn’t afford it. Oprah claimed it was racism because the sales woman assumed that a black woman could not have the income needed to purchase such an expensive accessory item.
The Sales person who served the TV star fought back today, speaking anonymously and reported by the Daily Mail she called Oprah a liar, denied that she refused to show Ms Winfrey the handbag and said she feels powerless after the racism charges.
Speaking anonymously to Sunday newspaper SonntagsBlick, the Italian bag lady said she felt ‘powerless’ and in the grip of a ‘cyclone’ after Winfrey went on TV in America to claim she had been the victim of racism.
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Below is a translation of the interview in SonntagsBlick
VIEW: Adriana N. * why you want to do this interview anonymously?
Adriana N: Because I’m afraid of people’s reactions. I do not want to be approached on the street because of this incident. I want to live normally, also can continue to work normally.
How are you?
Terrible! I can not sleep for days. I feel like I’m in the middle of a hurricane. Totally powerless, and delivered. It’s horror, what happens there.
Do you fear for your job?Trudie Goetz I have asked on Friday if she wanted me to quit.She says no and was very understanding. It’s nice to know that there is such great supervisors who stand protectively in front of you.
What exactly happened when Oprah Winfrey came in your business?She arrived on Saturday 20 July in our boutique. It was in the afternoon, just a normal day. Oprah Winfrey had a friend there, maybe it was her bodyguard, I do not know. He has certainly held up the door for her.
How was she dressed?She wore a long black skirt. At the top I can not remember.
And then what?They came in and asked where the ladies department is located.We were three sellers in the business. I led Oprah and her companion to the first floor. Above, I asked her if I could show her something special. She said she had never been in a place like this in Switzerland, and was looking around. I was not sure what I should present her.
What have you done?I went to a cabinet and showed her one of those Jennifer Aniston bags that are very popular. I explained to her that there are these bags in various sizes and materials, as I always do. She glanced at a rack behind me. Far above. Issued it was 35000 francs crocodile bag. I told her that it was the same bag as the one I was holding in his hand. Only that it is much more expensive. I would like to show you other bags.
Oprah Winfrey claimed on U.S. television, you had not handed her the bag for racist reasons.This is absolutely not true! I even asked her if she would look at the case in more detail. Ms. Winfrey has once again looked round in the business, but said nothing more. Then she went with her companions in the lower floor. My colleague has not stopped them the door. They were not even five minutes in our business.
They would have said to her: “You do not want to see this bag. It is too expensive. You can not afford, “says Winfrey.It’s not true. This is absurd. This is something I would never say to a customer. Not really! Good manners and politeness are the lifeblood of this business.
Why does Oprah Winfrey then such accusations?I do not know! It is so powerful, and I am merely a saleswoman. I have not done anyone any harm. I also do not understand why it needs to cannibalize so great on TV. To have everything happened, as it claims, why has it then do not complain the next day at the wedding of Tina Turner Trudie Goetz? My boss was also a guest there, yes. I do not understand.
Trudie Goetz says it was merely a misunderstanding …Yes. I spoke with Ms. Winfrey English. My English is good but not excellent. Unfortunately.
Did you know who you served?No, I did not recognize Oprah Winfrey. It would also have made no difference. We really make an effort to treat all people with the same respect and treat everyone equally. If someone asks me if he or she can see an article, I present this forever. Because this person is a potential buyer. And my job is to sell. I am proud when I can sell an item. It is an honor for me if I can sell a beautiful piece. This means that I’m good at my job.
How long have you worked for Trudie Goetz?five years. Previously I have worked in Italy in a major boutique.I studied fashion design. So I move almost all my life in this world. I love my job.
Do you often have to do with foreign customers?Yeah. More than fifty percent of our business customers are international. They come from all over the world. I had never problems.
So you’re not a racist?Certainly not! I am Italian. Why should I discriminate against someone because of his heritage? That does not make sense!
How often do you actually sell 35000 CHF expensive bags?Maybe a handful per year. This bag is very exclusive.
What would you do differently today?I wonder and think and know it still does not. Because I do not know to this day what I could have done wrong.
What would you say to Oprah Winfrey?I would apologize. It was a misunderstanding. Ms. Winfrey, I certainly do not want to intentionally offend. I hope this nightmare will be over soon.
Who’s telling the truth? The Saleswoman makes a compelling case. And Oprah made the comments after making an asinine comparison
between the death of Trayvon Martin to
the 1955 murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till, which helped ignite the
civil rights movement. Perhaps Oprah came up with the handbag story as a
defense mechanism. On the other hand Oprah could be telling the truth.
Not being in the handbag store at the time, there
is no way to determine who is telling the truth, but as my mom would
say, the truth is probably somewhere in-between.