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I have just read the introduction of our book for this week, and I can’t wait to read more. I feel embarrassed to admit that I have not previously read this work. Barbara Ehrenreich comes across open and honest; I really like her written voice.

I also feel a connection to her material because although I have had much more schooling than the average person, I find myself working temporary jobs every summer to make ends meet. My husband and I are both in education, and as we all know, teachers don’t get paid much. Boone is an especially expensive place to live. I look forward to the day I don’t have to waitress anymore, and I can see it right around the corner. I can’t imagine what life would be like if I did not have the hope that my education has provided me with.

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April Eichmiller


Mon Oct 02, 2006 12:24 pm
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I just typed a long e-mail and the computer logged me out, unbeknowst to me. So, the message was lost. Aaaargh.

I have managed to avoid jobs I deemed undesirable before I joined the teaching workforce; my first job at fifteen being a DJ at the local Am radio station, followed by tutor, teaching assistant, and antique store shopkeeper. Luckily, these jobs were to supply supplemental income as I did not have to give money to my parents while in school and then had a full scholarship to college with money leftover for spending.

However, all my boyfriends since my junior year in high school have been in employment positions such as the author of Nickel and Dimed and so many other Americans. My fiance supported himself and his slacker ex when he dropped out of college after his first semester; he was a driver for Dominos, worked full-time at a steel mill, and then at a fabric plant. To this day, his credit record haunts him. After reading the book, I feel bad for thinking he was being irresponsible during those times. Not that he ever talked about the money being too little on which to survive. Although I never made the transition to thinking badly about others working for minimum wage and struggling, I can see from Wes' regrets that many people probably do think it's their fault. That if they just worked harder or budgetted better, they would be living an easier life.

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Stephanie Holt Helmer


Mon Oct 02, 2006 4:27 pm
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Location: Ashe County Schools
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Nickel and Dimed was hard to put down. It was a true eye-opener, one that brought me down a notch. I agree with Stephanie in that it made me realize that low-wage workers aren't always the "slackers" the middle and upper class tend to think of them as. I have taken for granted the life I have been provided with by either my parents, husband, or professional job. Books like this give me a greater appreciation for health insurance (which is something I've always had and never given it a second thought). It also makes me think about the dollars I spend here and there - wasteful spending that so many Americans simply can't afford to do. I can see how poverty is a vicious cycle - people in low wage jobs beome locked in to the point where they can't afford to leave. Besides, they become part of something where it's much more comfortable to stay than to leave. Particularly interesting was the comment about how the current "known" devil was possibly better than the "unknown" devil that may be found supervising the next low-wage position. Another issue that struck my attention was how the ladies working as maids starved for Ted's approval. It came so infrequently, yet they hung on to every word. Perhaps it was because he was male ... perhaps it was because he was their livelihood. Adding those two characteristics together, it may have been because he was the only male these ladies have ever been able to count on for financial and/or emotional security. The sad part is that Ted did a sucky job at both.

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Rena Powers


Sun Oct 08, 2006 4:56 pm
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