Too Rich to Afford a Low Wage Job

| | Comments (2) | TrackBacks (0)

"She talks well past my legal break time and possibly hers-- about her daughter, how's she sick of working long hours and never getting enough time with her, and what does this lead to anyway, when you can't make enough to save?

I still think we could have done something, she and I, if I could have afforded to work at Wal-Mart a little longer." (Ehrenreich 191)

The last line of this quote really bothered me. Barbara has the ability to walk away from these low paying jobs and uncomfortable lifestyle she is experimenting with and step back into her normal, comfortable life style. The fact that she states how she would have maybe teamed up with the woman in the break room if she couldl "have afforeded to work at Wal-Mart a little longer" just shows how people who actually work at these jobs to make their living constantly suffer. Barbara was struggling to "afford" working at low paying jobs while millions of people base their lives around these occupations. The woman who was talking to Barbara was stuck in a situation she couldn't escape and looking for an opportunity to improve her job. Barbara, on the other hand, just thought how she may have joined in the woman's plan had she been able to continue living in the condition she was presently in. She had that option, to switch instantly from the worst to the best situation, while the othert woman could only dream of and hope for a better opportunity to come along. The life Barbara was struggling to "afford" to live is the price people pay everyday and even with greater sacrifices than what Barbara was dealing with.

I think everyone in our class had some sort of personal experience to relate to this book. I noticed during our last class discussion how people would comment how they were angry or disappointed with how Barbara handled or addressec vertain topics and situations. For example, Lauren's comment on Barbara's view of trailer trash was showed how Barbara may have been one sided on her view of different classes. And even the work situations Barbara described herself in, many of us either had the same jobs or simliar/worse experiences. Even though we may not have lived solely off our low wage jobs, most of us know what its like to work in less than comfortable occupations for hours on end.

0 TrackBacks

Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: Too Rich to Afford a Low Wage Job.

TrackBack URL for this entry:


Ally Hall said:

Katie, I totally agree with you. Barbara was lucky - she was only trying this out for investigative purposes. But so many people live paycheck to paycheck working at these low-wage jobs that they can never hope to just leave one day and immediately be in a better situation. It would be ridiculous for anyone in that situation to try to do what Barbara did and just go from job to job because they wanted to know what it was like.

And I also agree with the last part of your blog. Between waiting tables and working at a store like Wal-Mart, I think most of us have probably, at one time or another, done one (or both) of those jobs, I know I have.

Thanks for mentioning me in your entry. :)
Barbara just upsets me because she is in a position where she could make a change. But, she chooses not to. I really feel like she contradicts herself a lot throughout this entire book, the quote you chose being one example. It can just be frustrating to read someone else's thoughts when you do not agree with them (especially when it is a whole book full of thoughts).

Leave a comment

Type the characters you see in the picture above.