The Theme Of Poverty In Nickel And Dimed By Barbara Ehrenreich

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Stuck in Poverty Waitress, maid, and retail associate are all low wage job titles Barbara Ehrenreich held during her experiment. Ehrenreich moved from Florida, to Maine, and then to Minnesota to prove if a person could really live on a low wage salary. Maintaining the expenses below her income was more challenging than she predicted. She documented her journey through the book Nickel and Dimed, where she discovered various themes of low wage workers. One theme, is the difficulty of exiting poverty on a low wage salary. The cost of everyday life creates an impossible scenario for low wage workers to escape poverty.
Housing triumphs as one of the largest factors preventing low wage workers from escaping poverty. The standard rule for the
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Ehrenreich spent hours after each relocation, endeavoring to locate the best job. Once a job is located, the interview and drug test requires time as well. Ehrenreich even comments on the time consuming and discouraging nature of the process, “The whole venture, including drive time and wait, has taken an hour and forty minutes, about what it took for the Wal-Mart test, and it occurs to me that one of the effects of the drug testing is to limit worker mobility – maybe even one of the functions” (Ehrenreich 135). The countless hours required to transfer jobs could be spent earning money at their current job. Time is also necessary to find assistance. For Ehrenreich to acquire food vouchers, it took several phone calls and most agencies closed before she departed from work. Discovering which programs a worker qualifies for and then obtaining the assistance, demands time. A study executed by the United States Department of Labor observed that of the working poor who qualify for assistance, only one-third receives it; many are unaware they qualify for these benefits. Several states even require a person to visit an agency twice before awarding food stamps, which consumes additional time (Kim). Without adequate time for education or searching for a better job, low wage workers are stuck in …show more content…
Assistance programs are intended to alleviate the struggle of purchasing all the necessities and shift low wage workers out of poverty, but this goal is rarely achieved. A low wage worker’s life is additionally challenging with children. Childcare is an enormous expense which leave no money left for establishing a savings account. Other unexpected expenses also must be accounted for too. The slightest addition expense is guaranteed to push a low wage worker’s expense past their income. Transportation is another problem since many of these worker’s lack a vehicle to travel to attain assistance or obtain a higher paying job. When education is crucial to moving up in society, a low wage worker’s limited time is another setback. With all these obstacles for low wage workers, for most, escaping from poverty is

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