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Swiss store makes a $40,000 mistake

You don't have to be poor and disenfranchised to feel the sting of racism, as Oprah Winfrey, the $77 million-a-year publisher/television network owner/actor/self-help maven demonstrated last week when she recounted an unsavory shopping experience in a Swiss boutique.

In Zurich to attend Tina Turner's wedding, which, incidentally, was photographed without authorization by what may be the world's first remote-controlled paparazzi drone, Winfrey spent some time shopping.

At one shop she came across a Tom Ford-designed handbag that sold for nearly $40,000. Winfrey told "Entertainment Tonight" host Nancy O'Dell that when she expressed interest in the bag, she was told by a sales associate "No. It's too expensive."

No truer words were probably ever spoken, had they been directed at me, who considers Tamarack a bit beyond the outer limits of upscale shopping. But the $40K bag -- along with the shop in question and a good chunk of beautiful downtown Zurich -- was well within Winfrey's disposable income budget.

Winfrey said that when she asked again to see the bag, a saleswoman reportedly stated, "Oh, I don't want to hurt your feelings," to which the celebrity said she replied "OK, thank you so much. You're probably right -- I can't afford it," and walked out of the store.

When contacted later about the incident, according to an article in Salon, the store's owner said the encounter was a "misunderstanding," but did little to erase concerns about stereotyping.

"I have to admit the employee is Italian," she said.

***

In other news of the world, Fox News reported that a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in China's bustling Jiangsu Province shows that the frequent consumption of raw, crushed garlic can significantly reduce the risk of lung cancer.

Taken at night, in the presence of a prospective mate, it can also be a pretty effective birth control medication.

***

Who says police don't have a sense of humor?

Last week, lawmen in Longmont, Colo., wrapped up a six-month investigation of a drug ring with the seizure of 3 pounds of methamphetamine and a series of arrests involving suspects with names like Michael "Kid Rock" Kaiser, Josh "Stacker" Ward, Brice "Deuce" Korte, and Josh "White Trash" Washbourne.

The code name of the investigation?

Operation Bad Nickname.


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