30 Days of Carol: Day 20 – What Was Therese’s Manager’s Deal?

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In The Price of Salt, Roberta Walls is described as a woman who “flew up and down counters and from one corner of the floor to the other, from nine in the morning to six at night.” This would be Therese’s manager at Frankenberg’s, or as we experienced her in Carol, the see-you-next-Tuesday-iest version of a character brought to life. Sorry for partying, but…… The book also relays that Roberta was angling for a promotion at Frankberg’s, and this combined with the description of her frantic physical state of being implies a Type A personality. Fine. Everyone needs a Tonya to their Dana to their Alice to their Shane.

But like, what was movie Roberta up to? You can be Type-A and not be the most ghoulish co-worker to have ever co-worked. Roberta Walls is a member of the Snaps When Getting Someone’s Attention Society, AKA some of the worst to ever do it. Therese asks Roberta for a pen and paper and Roberta – who’s two feet away doing absolutely nothing – looks at Therese like they’re outside and she’s across the street with a precarious armful of items and Therese has asked for her help in retrieving a pencil shaving from the ground.

Person: “Hey, could I borrow a pen to write down information a customer is telling me?”

Roberta:

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And then in the middle of Therese actively talking to a customer screaming from across the room “BELIVET, MISS BELIVET” so loudly that Therese is forced to apologize and excuse herself. Which by the way for someone looking to be promoted is terrible managing? Correct me if I’m wrong but there’s a little thing called Frankenberg material and interrupting a customer with shouts isn’t a part of its makeup. Frankenberg’s is about: 16 spaces after a period, hygienically moral or morally hygienic appearances, business-like manners, and nothing else.

Roberta Walls: have a relax.

Los Angeles based writer. Let's keep it clean out there!

Erin has written 207 articles for us.

21 Comments

  1. “So I snapped at you, Miss Belivet?

    Well perhaps if you’d had to deal with a few too many staff members staring blankly at the walls, disappearing on unscheduled vacations at the busiest time of year, and potentially incurring lawsuits by stealing and utilizing confidential client data, whilst you work yourself to the bone trying to keep this goddamn business going so that all those staff members can still afford a home to have their breakdowns in, then you’d snap too.

    And let me tell you, I know from breakdowns. I’ve had more breakdowns than you’ve had tepid lunches, but you know what? I still turn up and do my job the next morning. And that’s without my breakdowns having the benefit of including Carol. Although they haven’t included Harge or Richard either, so perhaps on balance we can call it even.

    So, think about that next time you kvetch, Miss Belivet. Now please excuse me, I have a business to run on little energy, less money and no gratitude.”

    @riese…with understanding.

  2. I’ll be with you for Christmas,
    You can count on me,
    Please have my gloves, delivered with your love,
    As I find my way free,
    Christmas Eve will find me
    In your arms, mon charme,
    I’ll be with you for Christmas,
    As I hold you in my arms

  3. heheheheh SNARK I love it.

    The 30 days of Carole columns show the fortitude of a dissertation and in tribute I will rewatch Carole after day 30 to appreciate anew all the nuance your research has highlighted.

  4. I like Therese had only tunnel vision for Carol. As soon as I knew it was Carol on the phone that manager was completely forgotten about.The whole store could have been on fire in that scene and my only focus would have been on the sound of Carol’s voice on the phone.

  5. Has anyone noticed that EVERY woman in the movie other than Carol and Therese acted like this?

    Roberta, weird lady who lived in Therese’s building, Carol’s maid, the clerk at the motel, etc.

    If this isn’t the most perfect depiction of the existential dread of being a woman in the 50s, I don’t know what is.

  6. The reason she is so over the top is that she has to be unlikeable for Therese to not mind quitting with zero notice. If Therese liked her job, she might have had a harder time going with Carol on the road trip. In the movie, Therese talks about how she loved toy trains as a child, but in the book, the toy trains are a metaphor for being stuck in a boring, meaningless job and life forever. The miserable manager shows Therese what she will become if she doesn’t pursue her dreams.

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