An Analysis Of Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel And Dimed

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Walking a Mile in Another Persons Shoes Barbara Ehrenreich goes undercover as a struggling and minumum wage payed American Waitress. Barbara Ehrenreich is the author of “Nickel-And-Dimed” an essay about an average minimum wage worker and how they live their lives on a low wage job. She disguises herself and tries to prove that it is impossible or possible to be financially stable. Barbara meets other minimum wage workers, uses mathematical statics and personal experience to prove that it is very difficult or even impossible to live off a minimum wage paid job and using all of these facts make this article effective and strong. Barbara takes a break from her cushion life as a well paid journalist and decides to see what it is like to live…show more content…
At the beginning of the article Barbara shows statics, mathematically calculated, that it is indeed impossible to make a living through 1 minimum wage income alone. Barbara starts by saying “Mathematically, the answer is no, as can be shown by taking $6 to $7 an hour, perhaps subtracting a $1 or two an hour for child care, multiplying by 160 hours a month, and comparing the results to the prevailing rents.” She then goes on to show statics by stating, “According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, for example, in 1998 it took, on average nation wide, an hourly wage of $8.89 to afford a one-bedroom apartment, and the Preamble Center for Public Policy estimates that the odd against a typical welfare recipients landing a job at such a “living wage” are 97 to 1” (Hirschberg 539). These facts and statics proves that it would be difficult to live off of a one person, minimum wage, income. It shows that mathematically it would not be possible to support everything in…show more content…
Barbara, disguises herself and experiments to see if she could live off minimum wage for a month. Firstly Barbara states “So unless I want to start my car as a residence, I have to find a second, or alternative, job.” (Hirschberg 549). This is personally saying that she is having trouble keeping up on rent and living off her pay and proving that it is impossible to live off of one income. Barbara later mentions more expenses and changes she has to make to keep on surviving on the pay shes receiving, “I make the decision to move closer to Key West. First, because of the drive. Second and third, also because of the drive: gas is eating up to $4 to $5 a day, and although Jerry’s is as high-volume as you can get, the tips average only 10 percent, and not just for a newbie like me. Between the base pay of $2.50 an hour and the obligation to share tips with the bus boys and dish washers, were averaging only about $7.50 an hour. Then there 's the $30 I had to spend on the regulation tan slacks worn by Jerry’s servers-a set back it could take weeks to absorb.” (Hirschberg 552). Even though Barbara knew that mathematically it was impossible to live off the minimum wage that she is paid, she started the experiment wanting to see the hidden struggles in living with a low paycheck and she succeeded in seeing that simple things like gas
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