Ehrenreich's Case Study: Nickel And Dimed

1332 Words6 Pages
March 2, 2013 SOC R121 Nickel and Dimed Paper The first site chosen for the experiment was Key West, Florida, as it was close to her home. Searching for a job and a place to live, she found a waitress position at a small restaurant, which she calls Jerry’s. She was worried about being too overqualified for the job. Then she feels under qualified as the job seems as being difficult and physically demanding. Ehrenreich finds the manager, B.J., difficult to work with, adding to her many problems on the job. Another is George, a Czech dishwasher in the country for one week and unable to speak more than a few sentences in English. Ehrenreich decides to use her free time while at work to teach George English. After management discovers that a…show more content…
She feels that her performance was good at each position. She also describes the unskilled jobs as being not only physically and mentally challenging, but a difficult place to work. She decides that had she continued in a few of the jobs such as the one at Wal-Mart she would have done well and been eventually raised in position and pay.The problem, Ehrenreich found was that has the markets are increasingly becoming competitive. The rise of rents was too much and that the wages she was getting paid wasn’t enough especially for hourly workers. 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. The labor shortage she had been expecting to drive up wages had no effect on the wages she was able to get. She found that employers used many tricks in order to keep wages low and employees coming back to keep their jobs. The drug tests required of many jobs, she believed, were mainly in force to denigrate the employees and force them to see themselves in a lowly position. The housekeeping company offered free breakfasts but would not raise their wages even as they repeatedly came up short handed. Most of the places where Ehrenreich worked had policies against the employees talking to each other in one way or another.Because low-wage workers have very few options, little education, and transportation problems, they may be unable to find a better paying job even knowing that they exist. The problems that the people at the bottom 20% of the economy are so many and so complex that changing their places in life is extremely
Open Document