Saturday, September 23, 2006

Nickel and Dimed, Fast Food Nation, oh my

I was ignoring my reading for a week or so, but on Thursday I started reading Nickel and Dimed: On (not) getting by in America, by Barbara Ehrenreich, for my book club meeting tonight (that I may or may not attend as it turns out, but anyway). I am nearly at the end, and it was both less and more than I expected. Also different than I expected. It's going to be a great discussion starter for our (nonfiction) book club.

Several thoughts that I continue to mull over (hmmmmm):
1. Working folks being incredibly beaten down by the daily difficulties of life.
2. Corporations, big business, making money on the backs of the workers. No "trickle-down" prosperity at all, at all.
3. How entirely invisible this part of our social and economic world is to me, a white-collar, highly educated, stay-at-home mom with lots and lots of options.
4. I think I shall never again seriously entertain the idea of hiring a housecleaner. Unless maybe it's to clean the windows; certainly not for kitchen or bathroom "cleaning" as she described it. Eww.

Now back to reading Fast Food Nation -- which is also different than I expected; the first part is about the rise of the fast food corporations / industry, and intersects with Ehrenreich's experiences being employed at a lower rung of the economic "ladder" in a variety of situations. Hmmm.


Anonymous said...

Love both of those books. Another good one: Faster.

Anonymous said...

Barbara, I haven't read that book (yet) and I'm assuming the part that caused you to not entertain thoughts of hiring household help describes the "big businesses" like Merry Maids that hire lower income, lower educated folks and pay them minimum wage but charge big bucks for the company. However... there is nothing wrong with hiring a housekeeper for help cleaning your house! Just make sure they own their own business and be willing to pay a fair price. My sister owns her housecleaning business, charges $20/hour, does all the work herself and provides for her family in this way. She is able to set her own hours, and can be home with her children for homeschooling, etc. My sister wouldn't be able to make it if everyone thought they shouldn't hire a housekeeper. Just some thoughts.