Life on six bucks an hour

A portrait of Barbara Ehrenreich’s unlikely bestseller Nickel and Dimed, an ‘undercover’ view of the working poor:

“Her experiences, however, have had a lasting effect on her own conscience. ‘I used to have a boyfriend who thought we should have a cleaner. I couldn’t explain why I was opposed to the idea – it just seemed emotional on my part. Then I did the job and I knew why I felt so uncomfortable with it. Do I still eat out? Yes, but remember: even in an expensive restaurant, where the waiters do well in tips, there are still the dishwashers and the other people in the background.

‘My perception really has changed. Now, when I see a woman behind the counter in a convenience store, I have so many questions. How long has she been on her feet? What does she get paid? Who does she go home to?’ ” Guardian UK Books [via Walker]