Oct 05 2014
I found Barbara Ehrenreich’s book, Nickel and Dimed, extremely interesting because she experiences first hand what it is like surviving on low wages in three cities in America. She is curious if single mothers who depend solely on what they make at their low wage jobs are able to survive financially. The first city she takes on is Key West where we hear of her experiences as both a waitress and a housekeeper in a hotel. What stood out to me in this section was the lack of housing and that the next best option would be to rent on a night-by-night basis at a motel. The health problems that she observes and sometimes feels herself are due to the lack of nutrition and lack of health insurance. Next, she moves to Maine where she experiences an all white low wage workforce. During the week she works for a cleaning service and on weekends at a nursing home. Here she beings to see the lack of assistance for the working poor. The last city she moves to is Minneapolis where she works at Walmart and feels unsafe at her living arrangements at a motel because there is no other housing available. Although Ehrenrich’s accounts are over a decade old, it is important to remember the numerous social issues that the poor are still living with today such as low wages, poor living arrangements and lack of health care. Some day Barbara believes that the low-wage workers will rise up and demand to be treated fairly and that this action alone will benefit us all.
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