Nickel And Dimed : On Not Getting By America By Barbara Ehrenreich

1726 Words7 Pages
Feb. 3, 2016
Sociology: The Family
Book Report
Nickel and Dimed
In this Book Nickel and Dimed: On Not Getting By In America by Barbara Ehrenreich is based on Ehrenreich’s ethnographic research on the tricks that people in low-wage jobs are able to survive in America off their income. Ethnographic Research (“observation involves embedding oneself reply and over the long-term in a field site of study in order to systemically document the everyday lives, behaviors, and interactions of a community of people”). Throughout the book Ehrenreich places herself as much as she can in certain situations that the lower class go through on a daily basis, for this experiment Ehrenreich took on low-wage jobs in Florida, Maine, and Minnesota, where she
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In this book Ehrenreich changes the names of the people and places, so the “Hearthside” is not actually the name of her first low-wage job), working for two weeks from 2pm-10pm for a wage of $2.43/hour + tips. After the two weeks were up Ehrenreich learned a lot about the people she had been working with, most of them were living in such poor conditions and or were living from paycheck to paycheck with nothing left over. Examples: Gail: Shares a room with a male roommate; she would like to not live with him but the rent would be impossible alone, Andy the white cook lives in his boat that doesn’t run, and Joan is the hostess that lives in her van parked behind a shopping center. These living situations of some of the workers at the Hearthside is really common as we learn later in the book that no matter the area that you are living in low-wage jobs do not meet the requirements needed in order to live financially stable.
Ehrenreich also “realized that finding a job is just a matter of being in the right place at the right time and flexible enough to take whatever is being offered that day”(Ch. 1, pg. 15). People who get low-wage jobs cannot be picky when it comes to finding a job, it can take anywhere from a day to a year finding a job so really they have to take whatever job they can when it is offered. Otherwise they would have no income and would not have a house to live in because low-wage earners live from paycheck to paycheck and if
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