Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America
In the thought provoking novel, Nickel and Dimed, Barbara Ehrenreich explores the life of low-wage workers in America’s society. While speaking with an editor one day, the question of poverty and how American’s survive off six and seven dollars an hour played in Ms. Ehrenreich’s mind. So as a journalist, Ehrenreich goes undercover working several minimum wage jobs and tries to survive off the earnings. Seeing and living the lives of these poverty-stricken workers, Ehrenreich learns that hard work doesn't always lead to success and advancement in today's society.
This novel takes you on a journey, revealing the insights of how people strive to survive in America’s society working minimum wage jobs that do not suffice adequate funds to cover their needs and expenses. Ehrenreich begins her research in Key West, Florida. Her first task was to find a place to live. She opts out of her decision to leave in a convenient and affordable apartment for a five hundred dollar a month efficiency that is about forty-five minutes away from the employment opportunities Key West has to offer. Her next task was job searching. Ehrenreich applied for numerous jobs, and learns about the low-wage job application process. These job applications usually just involved several multiple-choice questions and a urine test. After not hear back from any of the jobs, Ehrenreich applies for a waitressing position at the diner “Hearthside,” (which is not the actual name as well as the names of associates she comes in contact with). Ehrenreich is offered the position of a waitress and is hired at Hearthside and works the night shift working from 2:00 in the evening until 10:00 at night for $2.43 an hour, plus tips. If a person strives to make means off six and seven dollars an hour, surely $2.43 is not sufficed, especially when customers do not like tip the waitress. During her time at Hearthside, Ehrenreich comes to despise management. She finds...
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