June 22, 2005

Don Oprah

Oprah gets a retail snub in Paris, and if some of the ever-changing facts of this story are correct, it’s a racial slur, certainly, as well as commentary on her lack of celebrity power in Paris. But a crucial piece of information is being overlooked:
She arrived after closing time!

As anyone who works retail can attest, there’s nothing more annoying than someone banging the doors at 6:45, when it clearly states in airbrushed letters to the right of their anguished expression that the place closes at 6:30. No employee wants to stay on to cater to a tardy customer unless a whopping commission is guaranteed, and even then it’s just bad manners to expect everyone to stay over just for your retail whims.

And as anyone in retail can attest, the second most annoying thing just may be when celebrities throw their weight around. They assume that simply because they are famous, special attention should be paid, discounts should be given and, yes, the place should re-open when it’s closed. I realize a celeb’s positive retail experience could result in positive PR for the establishment, but just how often does that happen when compared with how often they fuss it up?

I’m the last person to get uppittude about special star treatment, since I’m a celebrity junkie. But as a retail employee who gets abused by customers multiple times a day, I've gotta say this:
when the store is closed, it's closed, and there's truly nothing inside that's that important (just ask your Buddhist friend, Tina), so realign your priorities and let it go.
For Oprah to want a store to remain open because of who she is goes against her supposed empathy toward the underpaid working girls who would have had to stay on to help her out. Yes, the French are rude, but so was Oprah, and I hope she doesn’t make too big of a stink about this.

But then again, it’s not a good idea to piss off Oprah. Putting herself on the cover of every issue of her eponymous magazine certainly qualifies as egomania, and she’s been fingering her narcissism hard for a long time now. The media seldom overlooks this type of over glorified self-worship (Trump, Paris Hilton, Geraldo, etc.), but in Oprah’s case, there’s barely a negative comment made. Why is this?

I have a (barely) cockamamie theory:
She has overwhelming amounts of money, power and influence. She has hordes of devoted minions to do her bidding. No one dares say a dirty word about her. Then, she insists upon keeping every aspect of her empire in Chicago…

She is obviously now the head of the Chicago Mob, the don of the Chicago Mafia family! Mull it over, add it up, not as preposterous as it seems, and quite the coup. And is that a My Little Pony head in the Hermes manager’s bed?


Darren said...

If Oprah wanted to do business after the posted hours, she could have at least tried to make it entertaining for the staff, as Spalding Gray did while shooting "King of the Hill" (due to a great makeup job, you'd never know he plays Dale Gribble) in St. Louis.
He had just shot the scene where his dead body is discovered (his character had slashed his wrists), and he had to pick up some alterations he'd had done at the Banana Republic at Union Station. Just for yuks, he didn't wash off the stage blood that was all over his wrists. He arrived a few minutes after closing time, still in this condition, pounding on the glass doors and moaning "Hellllp meeee!"

Chalicechick said...

I agree with pretty much everything you say here.


Anonymous said...

True and true. When I worked retail, we would get plenty of "oh I know just what I want, it will only take a minute"s and "what do you mean it's closed, do you know who I am?!"s. Listen people, the store is *closed*. Most likely the register is also closed. Yah I've spent the last 8 hours clomping around in 3 inch heels being cheery and polite to people who don't deserve it, but I'd surely be willing to stand around while you shop, even though I should be folding and putting things away so I can go home and to bed. Not. The store is closed! Go away!

I (was) a Loweser Baby, why don't you kill me? said...

I was working in a "big box" home improvement store. Ten minutes after closing time ON CHRISTMAS EVE a lady comes running up to the exit doors, knocking and screaming that she HAS to get in, her husband is expecting a flag for Christmas and it will just RUIN HER HOLIDAYS if we don't let her in!

Needless to say, the Manager On Duty lets her in and she buys the flag, thus making us ANOTHER TEN MINUTES LATE GETTING HOME ON CHRISTMAS EVE!

Boy, do I miss retail!