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 Nickle and dimed 
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The theme of this book seems condescending to me. I began to wonder what the author's intentions were when she said that she was surprised at her co worker's reaction to her "confession" that she wasn't one of them. I'm surprised that they didn't laugh her 'upper class' I'm not one of you attitude right out of the workplace!

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Paula Holder


Wed Sep 22, 2004 8:35 pm
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I looked forward to reading this book, and I have to admit it was the first book I read for the class. After finishing it though, I have a somewhat mixed response.
To my knowledge, this is the first book of its kind to explore economic class issues from this viewpoint. I do think this story does bring up some important points regarding the hiring process and management techniques that are questionable in any setting.
However, I think Paula makes a good point in citing the author's condescension. The entire book does read like a diary of someone on "sociological safari." If she wanted to write a book about living on minimum wage, she could have also written her observations about the people she met and told their stories without making her own experiences the focus. I think fuller explorations of their lives (had they been willing) could have lent more authenticity and drawn a clearer picture of the challenges they faced.

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Bonnie Schultz
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Tue Oct 05, 2004 10:19 am
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I found this book to be a real eye-opener! I was unaware or had never really considered how difficult it would be to survive on such a low income. It seems that the people who are struggling financially face the most challenges when it comes to employment, housing and healthcare. I suppose it is easy to take these things for granted.

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Melanie Sharpe


Tue Oct 05, 2004 2:42 pm
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Bonnie, THANKS! You said what I was trying to say but couldn't quite get out. I know that as a reporter she needed to stay objective but when people are involved it is difficult for me to know when objective needs to turn subjective and caring.

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Paula Holder


Tue Oct 05, 2004 8:35 pm
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Having been in education for a while now, I've seen many different levels of poverty. I've played Santa Claus for the last 20 yrs and I've seen it there too. I guess that I always had deep in the back of my mind that, if a parent worked hard enough, they could pull themselves up and better themselves. Maybe, I was wrong. I will say that I'm now reconsidering my previous opinion that we didn't need a minimum wage at all.

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RANDY K. SAIN
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Fri Oct 08, 2004 12:03 pm
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Hi everyone. I agree with Bonnie that "fuller explorations" of the lives of the people she met could have drawn a clearer picture of the challenges they faced.
I have seen different levels of poverty. The school where I did my student teaching had all social classes represented, "from the 'projects' to the country club." The school has a uniform policy to try to help the children feel "equal" or "all on the same plane." Students of low economic status are provided uniforms (some new, some used) at reduced prices. My observation was that it did help the children of lower economic status feel more a part of the school. However, some children from the country club longed to wear their "regular clothes," jewelry, etc.
Reading Randy's response reminds me of an incident that I experienced at my school regarding Santa Claus. Every Christmas a local church does an angel tree for the students at our school who are in low income households. The guidance counselor distributes the collected items to parents. There is always an abundance of gifts. The guidance office is usually full of wrapped presents. When one of the parants came to pick up the gifts for her three daughters, she said, "Is this all?" (implying that she had expected more) I will never forget overhearing that. Fortunately, most of the other parents are very appreciative.
Elizabeth

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Elizabeth Rachael Dobson


Sat Oct 09, 2004 9:36 am
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Elizabeth, that is so true. I have heard children who have sponsors complain that the gift wasn't good enough, expensive enough, or even complain about writing a thank you card. How can we present help so that it doesn't become a way of entrenching the child in the poverty cycle by forming expectations of bigger and bigger gifts for no apparent reason. I know that working harder isn't always enough but neither is not working at all or just waiting for things to be given. What is the answer?

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Paula Holder


Sat Oct 09, 2004 11:13 pm
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