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Was Oprah bag drama altruism?

IT is understandable that the incident in which a shop assistant (presumably white) is reported to have suggested that a very expensive crocodile-skin handbag would be too expensive for Oprah Winfrey has been interpreted as an instance of racism (News, August 10).

Perhaps, however, there is an alternative – and much more charitable – interpretation.

Is it not conceivable that the shop assistant, quoted as stating, "No, you don't want to see that one, because that one will cost too much," was expressing disdain for the fact her employer was prepared to pander to the minute and spoilt proportion of the world's population that might be induced into spending £22,500 on a handbag?

Perhaps it was displayed at that vulgar price as a rather poor joke, albeit at the expense of the huge number of the world's inhabitants, who cannot conceive of such an amount of money.

The shop assistant might have been embarrassed at her employer's joke and credited Miss Winfrey with the intelligence to recognise the price as a joke – and Miss Winfrey as a person likely to share her opinion.

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