Summary of Barbara Ehlereich’s Journey and Her Conclusions in the Book Nickel and Dimed

June 22, 2022 by Essay Writer

In Nickel and Dimed, Barbara Ehlereich is determined to see what life is like in America as a lower class citizen.

She decides to travel to 3 states, spending a month in each, working minimum wage jobs. The states she traveled to were Florida, Maine, and Minnesota and the goal was to be able to support herself and pay for bills and other necessities working as a lower class citizen.

First, Barbara starts looking for a job in Key West, Florida. She finds a trailer to live in and finds a job as a waitress. She finds that the money she is being paid is not enough so she gets another job working as a maid in a hotel. She starts to feel exhausted with both jobs and soon quits them both. Next, she moved to Portland, Maine. She lands a job as a maid and a second one as an aid at a nursing home.

Her second job as a maid was also exhausting, and didn’t pay enough. She dislikes this job especially because she feels there is inequality among the workers. She even faces conflict with her boss because she felt like another female employee was being treated unfairly. She faces anxiety at the nursing home, as the people she is taking care of is very ill and she is afraid of accidentally harming her patients.

Next, she goes to Minnesota. She tries to find both a job and an affordable residence. Unfortunately, there are not enough apartments available for her to claim. Soon after, she gets a job at Walmart. She moves into a hotel but starts to worry about her safety in it. She then moves into a different hotel. Once her mission is complete, she tells her co-workers that she worked the low-wage job to write a book about her experience.

Barbara concludes that in every state she visited, she had the same issue of lack of job positions and money to support herself. She feels that she has worked hard and that the employers, who make most of the money for the things that the employees do, are unappreciative of their hard work.

She thinks that the problem in America is the expensive cost of living cost. Most people in America are poor and it is hard for them to find a secure and safe living environment in close proximity to their workplace.

She says that most people working low wage jobs cannot find high paying jobs because of no college education and transportation issues.


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