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Nickel & Dimed

November 29th, 2007 at 09:45 am

I'm about halfway through reading "Nickel & Dimed, On (Not) Getting by in America" by Barbara Ehrenreich.

I think many here in this forum would enjoy reading this book. The author is a journalist and decided to see for herself whether it really was possible to live on minimum wage, so she went undercover and took jobs as a waitress, nursing home aide, Wal-Mart employee and cleaning lady to experience life on the edge.

From the back cover: "She soon discovered that even the 'lowliest' occupations require exhausting mental and physical efforts. And one job is not enough; you need at least two if you intend to live indoors. Nickel and Dimed reveals low-wage America in all its tenacity, anxiety and surprising generosity - a land of Big Boxes, fast food and a thousand desperate strategies for survival."

Her story is quite an eye-opener. The book was written in 2001 and made the New York Times best-seller list.

As Carolina Bound mentioned in an earlier comment on this book, it's definitely going to make me tip more generously the next time I eat out.

5 Responses to “Nickel & Dimed”

  1. terri77 Says:

    I've heard about this book. I keep meaning to read it, but I haven't. I'm going to look for it now.

  2. Ima saver Says:

    I am sure waitresses will appreciate that. I was one for years. We had to get to work early and stay late, cleaning, cleaning and more cleaning. We were paid a big $2.01 an hour.

  3. rduell Says:

    This book was the reason I left my job as a library director (I was making $7.00 an hour w/ no benefits) even though it was a block away from home, and took my current job that I have to drive 20 minutes for. This job has benefits, I make a whole lot more money, and I'm also happier.

    We had read the book for book club and it was interesting to hear the comments from some of my board members who were in the group. They just couldn't believe that anyone could live on such low pay. Excuse me...you're the one setting my pay! Grr...

    Anyway..this book really did change my life.

  4. threebeansalad Says:

    It's a great book! I believe she's written other books-- have read any of those?

  5. Nika Says:

    I think there is a good idea behind this book, and the author makes a lot of excellent points.

    However, I think it does not go deeply enough into the lives of actual working poor - it is mostly concentrated on the author. I felt she did not really embrace being part of this life, and while living on this income, she kept herself separated.

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