Low Wage Equals Limited Options
Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America is a book authored by Barbara Ehrenreich. The author decided to do some old fashioned way of journalism. Presenting herself as an unskilled worker, she entered the low-end of the labor market and spent three years to find out how people survive in low- wage incomes. She moved from Florida to Maine to Minnesota to experience it first-hand. As her journey started in Florida, she realized that having a low-wage life attenuates them with hardships and adverse circumstances. Finding good housing and job-search were two of the challenges Ehrenreich and her co-workers faced during her peregrination.
First of all, finding decent housing proved to be limited for low-wage earners. Decent housing seemed impossible to afford. Considering the money she was going to make, Ehrenreich “decided to make the common trade off between affordability and convenience and go for a $500-a-month efficiency thirty miles up…” (12). She had to drive several miles away to go to work. Many of the workers encountered in the book were forced to live with relatives, strangers in the same position, or in their cars in parking lots. Gail, for example, was sharing a room in well known downtown flophouse
for $250 a week (25). Tina, another server, and her husband paid $60 a night for a room in Days Inn (26).
Having inadequate living wages, some people were forced to live in trailers or their cars. Ehrenreich described her trailer’s bathroom “so small that her knees rub against the shower stall…” (39).They resided in substandard dwellings even if they work two jobs. The money they were making was barely enough to cover their accommodation. Between comfort and affordability of housing, low income families and individuals culled the most affordable housing.
Second of all, low-wage earners faced grueling job search and application process.
In Key West, there were...