“In their shoes”

                Ehrenreich’s “Nickel and Dimed” is a very interesting book that acts like an open book about the experience of the low wage American workers and their workplaces. Ehrenreich’s experience as a low wage worker opens her eyes to the truth and the reality of the “other half” that are forced to live in difficult situations in order to support themselves. Even though she breaks some rules and is not completely experiencing the low wage workers in their shoes, she imagines the impossibility of earning a decent living. Low wage workers who have to work two jobs have to eat unhealthy cheap food, have body aches, a little rest, and risk their health. In addition, she is not really a low wage worker and believes that pretending to be a waitress at “Jerry’s” or “Hearthside is not entirely different from being an actual waitress working for tips. Even if she pretends to be somebody she is not, she cannot pretend not to do her job and fulfill her task as a waitress.

            She understands the true meaning of living in a low wage workers work shoes. As a waitress, housekeeper or a maid, she is experiencing the pain of labor pressing hard on her shoulders by each day that passes by. Therefore, she understands the troubles and financial difficulties that a worker has to go through just to be alive. While I was reading this book, I thought of the graphic adaptation of Stud Terkel’s “Working” where the waitress, Dolores is explaining the struggles she has to go through every day. Dolores is different from Ehrenreich because Dolores is optimistic and takes pride in doing her work. But on the other hand, Ehrenreich is being a pessimist and a realist stating how hard it is to serve people for long hours on foot. One thing that they have in common is that they both believe that serving others and providing food to starving people is a positive aspect of their jobs. Ehrenreich states that she imagines that she is a princess and it is her duty to provide assistance by feeding her subjects by hand. (Ehrenreich 19) As an observer and an undercover low wage worker, she is seeking truth and justice. She feels the workers needs and wants.

 

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