Nickel and Dimed

Nickel and Dimed - 5 February 2008 Nickel and Dimed Barbara...

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5 February 2008 Nickel and Dimed Barbara Ehrenreich’s  Nickel and Dimed  is a written documentary, in which she describes  here attempt to venture into the lower class and experience (to a limited degree) what so many  Americans endure. Ehrenreich took up jobs in waitressing, maid services, care-giving, and retail  at Wal-Mart. By working and receiving the minimum wage, Ehrenreich had to deal with  struggles in meeting the expenses of rent, utilities, gas, food, and others. Ehrenreich expresses the  subtle difficulties of being part of a system that consistently works against low-wage earners, and  she feels that the biggest adversities that the lower class faces are in the jobs that are available to  them – including internal restrictions – as well as the rental prices of trailers, apartments, and  homes.  Ehrenreich describes the unskilled jobs, such as housekeeping and other services, as being  physically and mentally challenging. There are also employee politics that go on. She decides that had she  continued in a few of the jobs, such as the one at Wal-Mart, she would have fared well and been eventually  raised in position and pay. The problem, Ehrenreich found, was that the markets are increasingly  becoming competitive.  Furthermore, the rise of rents is outpacing the rise in pay throughout the nation, particularly for  workers that rely on hourly income. Low income housing is disappearing for many cities, forcing people  to live further outside the city or to live three and four to an efficiency apartment. She found that  employers go out of their way to establish requirement that sometimes sabotage attempts of individuals to  be employed in order to keep wages low. With such restrictions, employees are to some degree forced to  come return to their jobs in an effort to avoid the sometimes savage and unyielding job market. An  example of a sometimes subversive tactic is in drug testing required of many jobs, and Ehrenreich believes  that they are primarily used to disparage the employees and force them to see themselves in the lowly  position that they are indirectly forced to keep. Within her experience, she witnessed the housekeeping 
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This essay was uploaded on 04/20/2008 for the course POLI 100 taught by Professor Rabinowitz during the Spring '07 term at UNC.

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Nickel and Dimed - 5 February 2008 Nickel and Dimed Barbara...

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