Nickel and Dimed

Topics: Wage, Minimum wage, Employment Pages: 2 (720 words) Published: June 4, 2007
Nickel & Dimed

In Nickel and Dimed Barbara Ehrenreich takes a break from her real life and lives as a low wage-worker takes a low wage job in order to understand and find out what wage workers really go through everyday not knowing what's next for them, and how they live off of minimum wage. In everyday life low-income people do many things in order to survive on a daily basis. There are people who work multiple jobs, or live in a shelter, live in their cars, house/apartments housed by various amounts of people, even if they don't know them, and in the book Barbara talks about many of these examples.

The first example I want to discuss is when Barbara was working as a waitress at Hearthside. She and a few of her co-workers were talking about their housing situations, and her Gail was telling her about sharing a room. "Gail is sharing a room, and her friends roommate is flirting with her, making her go crazy, but she says if she didn't have a roommate the rent would be impossible alone" (Pg.25). Then there is the Haitian cook who lives with his girlfriend, and two other unrelated people" (pg. 25). Tina and her husband pay $60 per night to stay at a Day's Inn, and Joan who lives in her van (pg. 26). All of these individuals mostly live in these types of situations because they cannot afford to pay rent alone, or even come up with a deposit for an apartment.

Another strategy low wageworkers do is have multiple jobs. Barbara begins to work two jobs when she began working at Hearthside and Jerry's (pg 29). Most people have two jobs because the wages of one job is not sufficient to feed, cloth, and have basic necessities that people should have to try and make ends meet for a while.

Also another strategy that low wageworkers use to survive is living out of motels. For example when Barbara moved to Maine she didn't know anyone, or have any place to stay, or even a car, and moved into a Motel 6, she only had $1000 in her pocket (pg 53). While staying at the...
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