Nickel and Dimed and Slave Wage World

A review of the book “Nickel and Dimed” by Barbara Ehrenreich, her adventures into the slave wage world.

This paper examines the book “Nickel and Dimed” by Barbara Ehrenreich which is a journal of the time spent by the author ‘undercover’, to see if she could lead a basic life (rent, food etc.) from earning the minimum wage in light of a welfare reform which implies that any job is better than living on government assistance. It discusses her experiences from 1998 to 2000, when she lived in three different states, Florida, Maine and Minnesota, working at $6 to $7 an hour jobs and assesses her findings. The paper brings to light general problems such as stress in the workplace and how what was an experiment for Ehrenreich is real life for so many others.
“Ehrenreich soon discovers that it is not easy to eke out a living from entry level positions, which is the common starting point for most welfare mothers and others on government assistance who are required to trade medical benefits and food stamps for the work force. Her first job was as a waitress, or server as they are called in the politically correct world today. Her wage is $2.13 per hour, due to the Fair Labor Standards Act, which states employers are not required to pay tipped employees any more than that. However, as she soon discovers, managers are required to make up the difference between that and the hourly minimum wage of $5.15, if wages including tips fall short of this, but few, if any ever mention this law.”