#10 Nickel and Dimed

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This book was written by journalist Barbra Ehrenriech. It includes several chapters where she goes from her upper middle class life to living like she is the lowest class. She tries to survive in this lifestyle – and in disguise as an ordinary worker – with only 6-7 dollars an hour. This is a thrilling adventure that takes her to Minnesota, Florida, and Maine.

She starts out in Florida and is a waitress, where she learns how to survive as a low wage worker. She mainly eats fast food to survive. She starts out at a restaurant called the Hearthside. Then she transfers to a different one. She can’t make enough money to make ends meet. At the end of this adventure she learns that this is how poor people live and she is determined to help them. Next she goes to Maine where she becomes a cleaning maid. She lives in a crummy motel where she is suddenly confronted with the fear of rape, sexism, or racism. As a maid she learns that the crew looks up to a cruel man who is only sometimes nice. When her colleague breaks something she must take over for her and do twice the work. She learns that no one leaves because they have nowhere to go. She then left. Finally she went to work in Minnesota where she took up the job of a Walmart sales person in the women’s aisle. She is appalled by how little money the people make there, given how hard they must work. At the end of her adventure there, she wants to start a union but decides against it; she simple doesn’t have the money to continue. She says goodbye to a new friend – a who is also leaving – and reveals that she is writing a book.

I would give this book to anyone who wanted to do what she went through or who are in the situation that she pretended to be in. You can learn a lot about investigative journalism. And also a lot about poverty. I would also recommend it to anyone who thinks about the relationship of time and money. I liked it for its constant adventure into new things. I learned a lot about low wage work.


2 thoughts on “#10 Nickel and Dimed

  1. What a thought-provoking post! I have this book upstairs in a bookshelf, though I have not yet read it (your dad recommended it to me years ago). Now I WILL read it!


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