Nickel and Dimed by Barbra Ehrenreich Essay

Nickel and Dimed by Barbra Ehrenreich Essay

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Nickel and Dimed, by Barbra Ehrenreich, depicts the truth about low-income living in the United States. But rather than just writing about it, she actually did it. She chose various places across the country to conduct her observation and participation. She did what very few people would have had the courage to do. Hopefully, her book will change the way people look at low-wage work and possibly even change, for the better, the way low-income workers live their lives everyday.
When reading the book, there were many examples of all four principals of McDonaldization throughout. The first principal, efficiency, was the most common example, found very frequently. When she was working as a server at a restaurant called Hearthside, in Key West, she did not only work as a server. Ehrenreich had to do other chores such as sweeping, mopping, consolidating ketchup bottles, etc. By making the servers do other such chores, they are saving money. Hearthside can just have the servers do the cleaning as well as serve tables so they do not have to hire more people. The management at Hearthside does not care about overworking their employees as long as they profit from doing so. Another example of efficiency came from when she was working for The Maids, a cleaning service in Portland. “When you enter a house, you spray a white rag with Windex and place it in the left pocket of your green apron. Another rag, sprayed with disinfectant, goes into the middle pocket, and a yellow rag bearing wood polish in the right-hand pocket. A dry rag, for buffing surfaces, occupies the right-hand pocket of your slacks” (73). By doing this, it minimizes the time spent fumbling with bottles of different kinds of surface cleaners. The employees can just pull the n...


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...sses would certainly be a hard pill to swallow.
Then there is the grounds crew which has to not only make the college look very pretty so that the upper class approve, but they also have to clean up the disasters that the college students leave behind. Having to do such things as cleaning up broken ash trays, tossed over trash cans, and plain and simple litter, as well as who knows what else cannot be overly rewarding work, especially when there is so little appreciation that actually goes their way.
Ehrenreich’s work, I believe, will benefit society tremendously if it is emphasized more and more. If more people realize that what is happening to society can be changed for the better, than more people will try and change it. Ehrenreich wants people to realize the low-income job crisis. It needs to be changed, and if it is changed it should greatly benefit society.

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