The United States of America is the richest nation in the world. Very poor countries look to us for help. We give them clothes, food, and housing. I understand as a rich nation we should help out some of the less fortunate people in the world, but what about the poor people of America. In this book, Ehrenreich, explores what it is like to work for very low wages in America. She learns how it is a very hard job, physically and mentally, on the person struggling to make ends meet.
In 1999 and 2000, Ehrenreich worked as a waitress in Key West, Fla., as a cleaning woman and a nursing home aide in Portland, Maine, and in a Wal-Mart in Minneapolis, Minn. She first finds out that meeting her rent is a lot more difficult then she thought. As a waitress in Florida, she struggles each month to reach her rent of $675. As rental prices go up in America, people's wages do not. They struggle, working 7 days a week, most working more than one job, just to meet rent cost. In all three jobs she sees many examples of how the common person struggles each day. She describes full-time workers who sleep in their cars because they cannot afford housing and employees who yearn for the ability to "take a day off now and then-and still be able to buy groceries the next day. These ideas are very scary but they are reality. Many of these employees at this level are not working just for themselves, but for their children also. Public funding is not always available and I it is, most of the time it does not cover all the expenses of the families needs. Because unemployment is so high in America, the people who work these jobs fight to keep them. They work very hard for very little. Civil liberties are often ignored and hard work fails to live up to its reputation as the ticket out of poverty They accept the bad conditions because they know that there is someone else out there ready to take their job if they do not keep it.