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As a waitress in Florida, where her name is suddenly transposed to "girl," trailer trash becomes a demographic category to aspire to with rent at $675 per month. In Maine, where she ends up working as both a cleaning woman and a nursing home assistant, she must first fill out endless pre-employment tests with trick questions such as "Some people work better when they're a little bit high." In Minnesota, she works at Wal-Mart under the repressive surveillance of men and women whose job it is to monitor her behavior for signs of sloth, theft, drug abuse, or worse. She even gets to experience the humiliation of the urine test.
So, do the poor have survival strategies unknown to the middle class? And did Ehrenreich feel the "bracing psychological effects of getting out of the house, as promised by the wonks who brought us welfare reform?" Nah. Even in her best-case scenario, with all the advantages of education, health, a car, and money for first month's rent, she has to work two jobs, seven days a week, and still almost winds up in a shelter. As Ehrenreich points out with her potent combination of humor and outrage, the laws of supply and demand have been reversed. Rental prices skyrocket, but wages never rise. Rather, jobs are so cheap as measured by the pay that workers are encouraged to take as many as they can. Behind those trademark Wal-Mart vests, it turns out, are the borderline homeless. With her characteristic wry wit and her unabashedly liberal bent, Ehrenreich brings the invisible poor out of hiding and, in the process, the world they inhabit--where civil liberties are often ignored and hard work fails to live up to its reputation as the ticket out of poverty. --Lesley Reed --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Great book with eye opening descriptions on just how bad minimum wage life can be.Published 2 days ago by Melissa Barraza
heart wrenching and as close to the experience of poverty as a white, middle class woman can get. A must read for all Americans. Read morePublished 1 month ago by A. C. Sebek
Good read and perspective on the working poor. You can't help but change some of your perspective on life, work, wages, a living wage after reading.Published 1 month ago by Doug Kramer
A great read. Much funnier than I had been lead to believe. While the Author's methods may be questioned; the insights she brought us is invaluablePublished 1 month ago by Karl Cummings
I read this for grad school a few years ago. I said it then and will say it now, that it's not really that relevant in our current economy. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Becca W