gracemissylolasmom's Blog

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Nickel and Dimed


There is a book out by Barbara Ehrenreich called “Nickel and Dimed”.  It is essentially about a social experiment that she did to make a very true, valid, and unfortunately still current point, and that is you cannot make a living wage at $6 per hour. Yet that is currently what some states have still, or at least at the time she wrote the book, as the minimum wage. So she set out to prove it, before movies like Fast Food Nation made it popular to experiment before our very eyes, to show what something challenging can and does do to a person. Barbara attempted to live on $6 per day while taking minimum wage jobs in multiple cities and lived in several states. Her experience is inspired and horrible at the same time. Her writing is engaged and thoughtful!

Here is a Link to book website on

I read it a few years back, and then today, I loaned it to my house cleaner.   I told her this book is about how people in the service profession can barely make ends meet.  Whether you work as a maid, a house cleaner, a waitress, a barista, a bartender, really any profession that relies on tips in addition to a base income to pay all their bills, rent a roof over their heads and put food on their tables for themselves and children each day.

It is a constant, daily struggle…

And one which many of us fail at considerably!   Minimum wage is just that minimum. No one can expect to get ahead while on minimum pay, for maximum work. My house cleaner is young, in her 20’s, has a child, and is a single mom. Like a lot of 20 year olds these days – maximum responsibilities and minimum resources with which to do life.

She, like anyone in a service job, is doing the best she can! In a job that is literally back-breaking and serially underappreciated. I asked her if she had difficult clients and she reluctantly agreed. I know she does! And she suffers their rudeness and disrespect in silence. She is doing the work that I cannot right now, because of my formerly broken, soon-to-be recovered fully, hip. For others, less physically needy than I, she is doing the work because they can afford it. But just because they can afford it, doesn’t give them the right to mistreat people. I will never have sympathy for the have’s of society who treat others whom they rely on to shop, cook, clean and raise their children and manage their daily lives, especially when they are rude to the very same people they rely on!!! There is simply put no excuses for treating those on who you rely to make your life easier poorly or indecently. Who do you think you are? Why does your bank account balance give you the right to treat someone disrespectfully? It doesn’t!

“Yea though I walk in the shadow of the valley of darkness”…I want for nothing…for my God is with me, covering and protecting me under the shadow of His wings!!! My God has those who serve – whether as slave, indentured, or for minimum wage, covered under His grace and His mercy. And He will judge those harshly who mistreated those who served His children. Last time I checked, we – every last soul ever created, whether they believe in Him or not – are God’s children!!! So as such, He both covers us with His grace and mercy, and He judges us for how we treated His creation.

Those who disrespect their servants shall be repaid in kind when they meet their maker!!!

J. E. Morse
Posted from WordPress for Android


Author: gracemissylolasmom

I am 44 years old. I love the Lord, God my Savior above all else. I am a mom to 3 dogs who are the delight of my life. I love my nephews and family fiercely. I am a project manager. I volunteer for an organization called Ncompass. I am going to be blogging about all the subjects...and more!

2 thoughts on “Nickel and Dimed

  1. This is such an important post. It is impossible to survive off of a minimum wage, yet so often we rely on people working those more than we care to admit. And it is horrible to image anyone being rude to others simply because they are financially better off, or for any reason really

    • You are so right Tayla. There is something fundamentally wrong with someone who pays for a person to do that which they won’t do for themselves, and yet they also have the audacity to then put down those they have hired to this work for them! It is such an f’d up society we live in…

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