Essay on Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed

1639 Words 7 Pages
Barbara Ehrenreich is a journalist who wrote the book Nickel and Dimed. She goes undercover to see how it feels to work for $6 to $7 an hour. She leaves her regular life to explore the experiences of a minimum wage worker. Ehrenreich travels to Florida, Maine, and Minnesota, looking for jobs and places to live on a minimum wage salary. At one point in time, she had to work two jobs to makes ends meet. As she worked all these jobs, she discovered many problems in the social world. The things she went through were not the types of situations that she usually experienced. She wasn’t used to living and working environments of the poor. She had to deal with the different personalities and customs of her co-workers, their living …show more content…
When they would have an employee meeting, each person was for himself. Ehrenreich explained how “Joan complains about the condition of the ladies’ room and I throw in my two bits about the vacuum cleaner. But I didn’t see any backup coming from my fellow servers, each of whom has slipped into her own personal funk; Gail, my role model, stares sorrowfully at a point six inches from her nose.” (24). Ehrenreich learned the entire staff of Hearthside had difficulty with their living arrangements. After a week, Ehrenreich compiled the following survey: Gail is sharing a room in a well-known downtown flophouse for $250 a week. Her roommate, a male friend, has begun hitting her, driving her nuts, but the rent would be impossible alone. Claude, the Haitian cook, is desperate to get out the two-bedroom apartment he shares with his girlfriend and two other unrelated people. “ As far as I can determine, the other Haitian men live similarly crowded situations. Annette, a twenty-year old server who is six months pregnant and abandoned by her boyfriend, lives with her mother, a postal clerk. Marianne, who is a breakfast server, and her boyfriend are paying $170 a week for a one-person trailer. Billy, who at $10 an hour is the wealthiest of us, lives in the trailer he owns, paying only the $400-a month lot fee” (26). No one made enough money to stay in a decent place to live. While still working at Hearthside, she searched for another job so that she would
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