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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
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
This book was written in first person by a woman who thinks way too highly of herself. On the contrary, she is just a snarky privileged "undercover boss" type. Read morePublished 3 days ago by P.H.
Really loved this book everyone should read it, it will make you be more considerate of those that serve you.Published 12 days ago by A. Friend
I got this book on the advice of my pastor after I lost my newspaper job. I have a part-time job cleaning offices and couldn't believe how physically hard and mentally challenging... Read morePublished 17 days ago by ILikeClothes
Ehrenreich, an upper-class writer, attempts to live on various minimum wage jobs, waitressing, house cleaning, nursing home assistant, and retail work in three different... Read morePublished 22 days ago by Amanda
I read this book and was enlightened and educated about the difficulty of the working class and poor. Read morePublished 25 days ago by Sherry Frazier