OMG! There are at least two people in the world who do not know who Oprah Winfrey is. How incredibly shocking! Of course, both were Europeans so perhaps they have missed the television and movie world in the U.S. that has brought her to the top of the list of well-known faces. (I also doubt that the headhunters in Sarawak know her but then it is unlikely she’d be sauntering through the long-houses wanting to purchase something.)
In case you missed the horror of it, Oprah has twice been refused access to the elite of leather goods in Europe. It happened once in Paris at Hermes and the other time at a store in Switzerland. In Paris, the store was closed, and in Switzerland, the sales person refused to show her a purse that was on the shelf behind the counters and out of reach to the general public.
I can comment more on the Paris incident simply because I know the store and the management. Hermes closes its doors at a very precise time (and opens them equally precisely as I know from experience of waiting in the rain until the minute hand hit the 12 spot) and after hours no one is allowed in unless there is a special event. For special events, the doors are closed unless one’s name is on a guest list. My understanding from my French friends is that Oprah saw there were people in the store and had one of her entourage knock on the door to be allowed into the store. She was not in cocktail attire nor was her name on the list for the private event that was happening so the “bouncer” wouldn’t give her access – even when someone asked, “But don’t you know who Oprah Winfrey is?” Clearly he was not impressed.
As for the event in Switzerland, what is in the press and what I heard Oprah say during an interview was that she saw a purse on a shelf and asked to see it. The sales clerk said, “No,” and then, upon being pressed, commented that Oprah couldn’t afford the purse. It was some sort of crocodile I understand. (And who really wants to carry around a snapping, prehistoric creature anyway? I still remember those purses of my grandmother’s that had the head draped over the purse with the eyes replaced with glass fake eyes. And that brings back the memories of the mink neck pieces that had the mink heads clasping the tail around the neck with beady little eyes as well!) Obviously, the salesperson had no idea with whom she was speaking.
Lesson learned? If you’re a multi-millionaire, movie star and television personality, you might want to stop the spur of the moment shopping sprees and instead use your vast staff to make an appointment so that you will be known and have no problems. It seems spontaneity must be left to the poorer, less well-known folks! That should be some consolation for the rest of us.