The Alpine Country Club describes itself as "an investment in leisure and luxury," promising its members everything from a "world class" golf course and tennis courts, to a fitness center and poolscape, to several "gracious" dining options—whatever that means—that are located on the Demarest, New Jersey property.
"Alpine offers the finest amenities and services designed with ‘family’ in mind and sure to delight everyone," it promises… although not everyone has been delighted with the private club's offerings lately.
Maryana Beyder, a New Jersey real estate agent, has recently filed a lawsuit against the private club, alleging that one of its waiters spilled red wine all over her and all over her $30,000 Hermès handbag. (The nominal median per capita income in the United States was $31,786 in 2017, in case anyone needed a reminder of how bonkers expensive that purse is.)
Anyway, this is an unspeakable hardship on a number of levels, both because that particular bag has since been discontinued by the French fashion house, and because it had been a gift for her 30th birthday. "Whoever the waiter was proceeded to pour red wine and didn't stop," Alexandra Errico, Beyder's attorney, told NorthJersey.com "Poured it all over her. Poured it all over her husband. And poured it all over a very expensive Hermès bag."
This tragedy occurred last September, when Beyder was having dinner at the exclusive club. (According to a job posting for the club, to become a member requires a $65,000 initiation fee, along with annual dues of more than $19,000 after that.) She believed that the server—who was identified only as "John Doe" in the legal filing—"acted in a negligent manner" when he inadvertently spilled wine on her handbag, which, again, cost several thousand dollars more than a 2020 Honda Accord.
"The defendant had a duty to provide qualified and competent employees for its business and for the safety of its patrons," the lawsuit states, as reported by NBC News. Beyder and her attorney have also accused the club of failing to confirm its servers' qualifications "and determine their appropriateness for their respective positions" before hiring them.
Errico said that Beyder has tried to resolve the situation with Alpine Country Club for more than a year, but both the club and its insurance company eventually stopped responding to her—which Errico suggested was a form of discrimination.
"It's sort of like a rich person problem," said Errico. "They couldn't comprehend that a bag could be that much. I think that was the biggest problem with that. They kind of discriminated against her that she actually owned that type of bag." And by "that type of bag," Errico means one that is only slightly less than the average annual salary for a waiter in New Jersey.
Beyder is suing both the waiter and the Alpine Country Club itself, and VICE has reached out to the club for comment. In the meantime, maybe someone will start a GoFundMe for Beyder, because we can't imagine the shame and heartbreak of being unable to carry a $30,000 handbag into one of the "gracious" dining areas of a $19,000-per-year country club. It's a devastating situation and, boy, let's hope that service industry worker is held personally and financially responsible for his actions.
This article originally appeared on VICE US.