The fact that more than one employee of Wal-Mart has relied on emergency aid within the space of a few days is a damning indictment of the low wages paid. Her two minute breaks are now vital, and she tries to juggle simultaneous needs of drinking, getting outside, and sitting down, especially when heading to the Radio Grill for an iced tea could waste four precious minutes. When Barbara arrives at the Clearview, the sewage has been backed up in her room and is all over the floor. The labor shortage she had been expecting to drive up wages had no effect on the wages she was able to get. She looks at her gray, cranky coworkers and wonders how soon she would become like them. She realizes that employers are clever with their hiring process: The first site chosen for the experiment was Key West, Florida, as it was close to her home.

After leaving each job, Ehrenreich tells a few employees who have gained her trust that her reason for being in the job had only been to write a book about the experience. If her view is any indication, the working poor in Minneapolis are just as likely to have to live in close quarters in less-than-ideal apartments in order to make things work. Instead there are just full carts, then empty ones. After management discovers that a few items have gone missing, George is a suspect in the theft. The cockatiel, constantly squawking and pacing, prevents any kind of relaxation. During one day of work she twists her ankle and is unable to walk without pain.

They spend most of their lunch breaks and picking up a few items, such as potato chips, at a local convenience store and eating it in the car. Knowing that it would likely take two jobs to meet her goals, she also took a job as a dietary aide in a nursing home.

Nickel and Dimed: Scrubbing in Maine – The Simple Dollar

The problem, Ehrenreich found, was that has he markets sflling increasingly becoming competitive. Having gotten a relatively comprehensive introduction to the trials of low-wage labor in waitressing and housecleaning, Barbara is now ready for a change. Barbara feels resentful and somewhat contemptuous the first few days: Byy went about her life with the same aspirations, to start fresh in a new place with a new job. Though Barbara never finds an apartment, her last attempt is to call the United Way of Minneapolis, through which she finally reaches the Community Emergency Assistance Program.


selling in minnesota by barbara ehrenreich essay

She walked out forgetting to give George her tips, leaving her with feelings of guilt. Once again, Barbara has to do her best to juggle competing mnnesota, safety, gas prices, and ability to commute to work, among other factors.

The motel is dirty and unsafe. The nursing home job, consists mainly of feeding the residents of the nursing home and cleaning up the food items.

Ted, the boss, is strict with the women who work for him and keeps them to a rigid schedule that they must adhere to.

Nickel and Dimed: Scrubbing in Maine

The rental agents that Barbara does reach recommend finding a weekly motel until something sslling up. After one of the other maids in injured on the job, Ehrenreich demands that the younger maid stop working, and tries to halt the work of all the maids. Caroline took Irene in and she got a job, but after awhile Irene started drinking and carousing and finally left to live with a man. Still unable to sleep because of the condition of her hotel room, she eventually finds a nicer room at an extended stay hotel with bolts on the door and he screened window.

She initially goes about it in an unrealistic way, as if it were easy. The last chapter, the evaluation, begins with an analysis of how she actually performed at each job. In return, my office was impeccably cleaned almost every evening and the bathroom on my floor was always pristine, while other offices and restrooms were perfunctorily cleaned at best. Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich.

A woman there suggests she moves into a homeless shelter to save up for a rent and deposit, and sends her to another office to apply for welling housing subsidy. She heads that way, then sneaks outside to her car, at one point having to dodge into shoes to avoid Howard. So Barbara goes back to the help-wanted ads, and heads to an interview for an assembly job across town. The Economics of Poverty.


The service industry is often underpaid for the work they do, and showing them that you appreciate and value their work can do nothing but make your own life easier and rssay.

Her next city of choice was Portland, Maine. Barbara is overwhelmed by this generosity, which counteracts the severe, penny-pinching corporate philosophy.

Mountain Air is really looking for a self-disciplined, money-motivated, and positive attitude—nothing about healing the sick, Barbara realizes. When Ehrenreich eventually leaves at the end of the month, Melissa decides to quit to rather than work at the Wal-Mart without her.

selling in minnesota by barbara ehrenreich essay

When Barbara arrives at the Clearview, eurenreich sewage has been backed up in her room and is all over the floor. You can jump quickly to the other parts of this review of Nickel and Dimed using these links: She sees the results first-hand: Another, less mentioned aspect of low-wage working life is the likelihood of a lack of safe living conditions, which is only exacerbated by issues faced by women.

“Selling in Minnesota” by Barbara Ehrenreich

If you have a home cleaner, leave barbqra person a tip or a gift once in a while; if a secretary at work constantly solves your problems, leave a flower or a similar gift and a card for them.

A few days later, Melissa is assigned to bras, a new section for her. For example, at my previous job I used to give the janitor a birthday gift and would every once in a while bring a leftover meal from home and give to him. Instead there are just full carts, then empty ones.