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Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich

             More than once Ehrenreich discusses the severe bodily and psychological harm that hard work at low pay can cause, the physical damage as well as spiritual damage. While working as a maid, Ehrenreich saw that many of her co-workers had physical problems because they had worked as maids for many years. While on the job as a maid, Ehrenreich had to scrub " hard-stone floors [without] knee pads" the company she worked for did not have them (50). Although she did not stay on the job for long, other people had experienced that job for a long time. The fact that they have to kneel to clean someone's hard floor gives the impression that those people experience physical problems with their knees. Just to get payed a low wage people have to clean houses on their knees and crawl like animals to make a living. On another occasion one of Ehrenreich co-workers, Holly, "trips in a hole in the ground and falls down and screams" (63). On the job one is expected to do their best and in some occasions people make mistakes and get hurt on the job. Holly was rushing because she had an obligation to finish all the houses that were assigned to her and her group but as a result she got hurt. She did not want her co-workers to take her back to the office to be sent home because she knew if she was sent home she would lose money. That is the case with many low wage jobs, there are dangers to working in low wage jobs. As Ehrenreich works as a maid she continues to learn more about her co-workers and she learns that many of her team mates have been hurt. She learns that "Lori and Pauline have back pain [.] Helen has a bum foot [.] Marge's arthritis makes scrubbing a torture;another woman has to see a physical therapist for her rotator cuff"(52). These women have been working really hard just to get paid low wages even though they are physically hurt. Manual labor is hard and most of the time it causes pain to the person that does it.

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