Offensive remarks are never enjoyable, however, comments about someone's financial condition are especially cutting.
Come January 2023, Zoe Gabriel from Singapore was exposed to ridicule when she posted a TikTok about a purse from the local retail brand Charles & Keith, a gift from her father. The 17-year-old felt elated as she unwrapped the $80 bag, referring to it as a 'luxury' item, yet her enthusiasm was quashed by some of the negative remarks.
One comment received much attention and Gabriel decided to upload a response video, full of emotion. The comment, that had been deleted, read "Who's gonna tell her?" with a laughing emoji, and as Gabriel heartbreakingly discussed why the purse was so meaningful to her, it was seen in the background, as she was raised in a financially strained home.
She referred to BreadTalk, a prominent Singaporean bakery, and said that something like bread was a luxury for us. Whenever we passed by a store, my parents would say we'd get it the next time, but that time never arrived.
Taking into account the situation, Gabriel articulated why the offensive remark was thoughtless. "For you, an $80 bag might not be a luxury. Yet, for me and my family, it means a lot, and I'm so appreciative that my dad was able to get me one. He had to put in a lot of effort to get the money."
Gabriel's video had an instant success and even managed to reach Charles and Keith Wong, the founders of Charles & Keith. Based on what The Straits Times reported, the brothers were so “impressed” with Gabriel that they extended an invitation to her and her father for lunch and a private look at the company operations at its headquarters.
On their Instagram feed, they then posted a photo of Gabriel in a lilac-colored Charles & Keith bag for International Women’s Day, appointing her as a new brand ambassador.