- "I'm afraid you're mistaken. I'm Shirley. See this nameplate? I'll tell you why I'm Shirley. I'm Shirley because I would like to be called Shirley, and it is impolite not to do so."
- —Shirley to the Baudelaire orphans
In the books, "her" full name is Shirley T. Sinoit-Pécer, which is "receptionist" backwards.
In the TV series, "her" full name is Shirley St. Ives. The reasoning behind this is unknown.
Shirley may be an oral pun on "Sir-ly", as Count Olaf is a sir in disguise, in the same way "Mandy" is a feminine name and has "man" in it.
The Miserable Mill
Klaus is successfully hypnotized, and his plights give Sir the choice to either fire them and give them to Shirley, or keep them as workers in the lumber industry.
Shirley then gives The Bald Man with the Long Nose in the alias of Foreman Flacutono the task of trying to saw Sir's assistant, Charles, in half so that the Baudelaires will finally be in "her" clutches. But the Baudelaires save the day, defeating Shirley's plans. Dr. Orwell is killed when she steps in the path of the whirring saw.
Shirley and Flacutono are locked in the library and monitored by Phil. Sir claims that Shirley being Count Olaf is so unbelievable as he met this young woman who isn't at all like Count Olaf. Sir says Shirley has one eyebrow instead of two, but plenty of wonderful people have that characteristic. Shirley defends "herself", claiming "she" was hypnotized along with the foreman. When Mr. Poe asks to see Shirley's left ankle, Shirley claims it's impolite to look at a woman's legs, but does so anyway. Count Olaf stops pretending to be Shirley and escapes by jumping out the window with the Bald Man with the Long Nose.
None - Olaf leaves his eyebrows alone this time.
Tattooed Ankle Cover-Up
Olaf uses stockings with the pattern of eyes on them to conceal his tattoo. At the end, though, he takes them off and has to hitch up his skirt to reveal his tattoo.
- "Why, hello there, little girls, what are your names?"
- "But if you do something impolite to me, then I might do something impolite to you, like for instance tearing your hair out with my bare hands."
- "Of course not. I'm going to offer you a cookie, like a good little receptionist."
- "I'm a poor receptionist who lives all by herself, and who wants very much to raise children of her own. Three children, in fact: a smartypants little girl, a hypnotized little boy, and a buck-toothed baby."
- "Ab' isn't a word, of course. Only a stupid person would say a word like 'ab.'"
- "If you'd like, I can take you to Dr. Orwell's office—the late Dr. Orwell's office—and show you my nameplate. It clearly reads 'Shirley.'"
- "Why, it's not polite to look at a lady's legs. Surely you know that."
- "And what if it does? What if it does have a tattoo of an eye on it?"