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19 von 19 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Sehr informativ - Höchst lesenswert!
Wer schon einmal in den USA war, hat sich sicher gefragt, wie der aufmerksame Kellner, die freundliche Verkäuferin, das nette Zimmermädchen denn wohl eigentlich lebt. Hier erfährt man es, und das in einer spannenden und unterhaltsamen Art, wie man es von so einem Sachbuch zunächst nicht erwarten würde. Die Autorin unternahm das Wagnis und...
Veröffentlicht am 29. September 2001 von drfleischmann

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3.0 von 5 Sternen Quite good, but there are some problems!
Quite interesting book - it was time that the issue was adressed, however, I think she made a few mistakes in her approach.
(1) Starting out is always hard and it takes more money until you are settled in a certain routine - by switching jobs too often she does not acknowlege that fact.
(2) I was a single mom with three jobs and went to college - looking back I...
Am 7. Februar 2005 veröffentlicht


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19 von 19 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Sehr informativ - Höchst lesenswert!, 29. September 2001
Wer schon einmal in den USA war, hat sich sicher gefragt, wie der aufmerksame Kellner, die freundliche Verkäuferin, das nette Zimmermädchen denn wohl eigentlich lebt. Hier erfährt man es, und das in einer spannenden und unterhaltsamen Art, wie man es von so einem Sachbuch zunächst nicht erwarten würde. Die Autorin unternahm das Wagnis und verließ ihren Schriftsteller-Elfenbeinturm, um sich als Kellnerin, Putzfrau, Verkäuferin und in anderen Berufen in amerikanischen Niedrigstlohn-Sektor durchzuschlagen. Das Ergebnis ist gleichermassen informativ wie ernüchternd: Zwar sind die Jobs anstrengend und auslastend, aber zum sparsamsten Leben reicht es allenfalls gerade aus, trotz mieser Motels und schlechter Ernährung, - oder manchmal nicht einmal das, dann müssen zwei Jobs her. Fazit der Autorin: Sie dachte, es gäbe vielleicht irgendwelche Tricks, mit Mindestlöhnen auszukommen, aber es gibt sie nicht - was bleibt ist einfach Armut. Trotzdem, ein moralinsaures Buch ist dies nicht geworden. Es ist sehr unterhaltsam und sehr informativ, und der Durchhaltewillen der Beteiligten nötigt Respekt ab!
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7 von 7 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Amerikanischer Alptraum, 1. September 2001
Von Ein Kunde
Ein absolut lesenswertes Buch! Jeder Politiker, der glaubt, das amerikanische "Jobwunder" auch hier in Deutschland herbeiführen zu müssen, sollte es lesen. Zudem schreibt B. Ehrenreich als eine Art "amerikanischer Wallraff" spannend und mitreißend über ihre persönlichen Erfahrungen im Niedriglohnsektor (Kellnern, Putzen, Verkaufen). Die Aufteilung des Buches in drei Teile - drei Städte, drei Jobs - ist sehr gelungen. Eine bewundernswerte und erstaunlich bescheidene Frau, die mit diesem Buch Großes geleistet hat!
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3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Sehr lesenswert, aber mit 'Schönheitsfehler', 16. Dezember 2002
Das Buch gibt sehr wertvolle Einblicke in das Leben einer 'low-paid' Arbeiterin in den USA, hat aber m.E. ein paar 'Schönheitsfehler'. Frau Ehrenreich verbringt viel Zeit damit, ihre eigenen Versuchsbedingungen zu analysieren - in wie weit sie ihre eigenen Regeln eingehalten hat, in wie weit diese realistisch seien usw... wo ich lieber (noch) mehr über ihre Erlebnisse und die ihrer Kolleg(innen) erfahren hätte. Mich hat außerdem gestört, daß sie nicht nur die Ausbeutung der Putzfrauen durch die Reinigungsfirma beschrieben hat, sondern auch gleich deren Reinigungsmethoden kritisiert hat. Die Kritik mag wohl berechtigt sein, aber darum geht es in diesem Buch nicht, oder? Sehr interessant und für mich unerwartet war Frau Ehrenreichs Analyse der Methoden, mit welchen die Arbeitgeber solche niedrige Löhne durchsetzen, auch in Gegenden, in welchen Arbeitskräftemängel herrscht.
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1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen How the Working Poor Are Abused, 2. Juni 2007
Von 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - Alle meine Rezensionen ansehen
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"How does anyone live on the wages available to the unskilled?" That's the fundamental question that Dr. Ehrenreich set out to answer by living as an unskilled person in Key West, Portland Maine, and Minneapolis. Basically, she couldn't make it work very well at all, despite having many advantages over the typical worker in these jobs. Along the way, she meets many people who make it work better, but are still being ground down by their fragile economic and work status.

This book reminds me of the classic sociological exposes where the author set out to try the role of the downtrodden on for size. Her conclusion is that "no job, no matter how lowly, is truly unskilled." These are hard jobs. Despite her association with wanting to be a pleasant, helpful person, Dr. Ehrenreich soon begins to see customers as the enemy in her service jobs. Interestingly, her co-workers can keep a friendly, cooperative attitude better than she can.

Although there is anger in her report, there is also much humor (often aimed at herself and the managements of the companies involved) and praise for her "unskilled" colleagues as they cope with housing and medical costs that soar much more rapidly than their wages in an America where income and wealth are growing best for the richest and most well educated.

Her rules for this experiment were simple. She would not use her educational skills, she would take the highest paying job offered to her, and find the cheapest place to live. Unlike many poor people, she started off with enough cash to make down payments and place security deposits on apartments. She also could rent a car, so she had more choices of places to live and work. She did not have children with her, as many "unskilled" new workers coming off of welfare do. Despite her best intentions, she bent all of these rules. You would have done the same. She lived in some pretty scary places, and probably placed her life more at risk than this book indicates. We should all be grateful for her courage and her willingness to share what she learned in such an accessible and interesting form.

Based on her experiences and what people told her who were her co-workers, it is only possible to succeed with these jobs if you hold at least two of them. You also have to have some way to get between the two jobs, and some method of finding an inexpensive place to live. Your best bet is to share housing with friends or relatives. You won't have access to the time and information to find a better job very easily, and will find yourself worn down by the constant surveillance, high workloads, and physical demands of your work.

One of the most interesting parts of the book is that she raises the question of whether the currently free market for labor is the best approach. There are other costs. Turnover is high in these jobs, and supervisory costs are also high. If people liked the jobs and stayed longer, profits would be higher and costs lower. In some jobs, it was typical for people to leave after only one day. Also, there are social costs in terms of children who don't get help, medical needs that are untreated, and criminal behavior that is encouraged.

The problems described here seem to be typical for restaurant, "unskilled" health care, retailing, cleaning, and lodging workers. The number of these jobs will keep growing.

I hope that people who own or manage businesses will take the time to consider how they can redesign jobs in order to pay better wages to "unskilled" people, so that a living wage is available. I also hope that the same consideration will be provided for these workers as for the scarce technical talent that is so often wooed.

Also, think about how you treat such workers when you are a customer for these services. How can you be more considerate?

Uphold dignity, respect, and opportunity for each person!
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1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Wenn es hinten und vorn nicht reicht, 19. Juli 2003
Barbara Ehrenreich versucht nicht nur, sich in die Lage derer zu versetzen, die mehrere Jobs haben und dennoch weit unter der statistischen Armutsgrenze leben, sie schliesst sich ihnen sogar an, indem sie, wenn auch nur für kurze Zeit, in unterschiedliche Billigjobs in verschiedenen amerikanischen Bundesstaaten annimmt. Es geht ihr - im Gegensatz zu Günter Wallraff seinerzeit "in Ganz Unten" - nicht vordergründig darum, Missstände in diversen Unternehmen aufzuzeigen.
Sie tut das zwar auch, jedoch steht bei ihr der menschlich-soziale Aspekt an erster Stelle, denn sie analysiert, warum Millionen von Amerikanern für 6-7 Dollar pro Stunde schuften, ohne finanziell auch nur ansatzweise auf einen grünen Zweig zu kommen. Schlimmer noch, sie zeigt die Zwickmühle auf, die Leute mit skandalös niedrigen Einkommen zwingt, in Motels für 40 Dollar die Nacht zu leben, da ihnen ihr Einkommen nicht erlaubt, Rücklagen für Kaution und Mietzahlung zu bilden.
Barbara Ehrenreich verknüpft in diesem Buch sehr geschickt eigenes Erleben mit "Kollegen"-Schicksalen und Hintergrundinformationen. Diese Kombination bewirkt, dass man stellenweise mit angehaltenem Atem weiterliest, denn bisher war es noch immer so, dass mit einiger Verzögerung die "neuesten Trends aus den USA" über den Teich nach Europa kamen. Wer sich mit der aktuellen (sozial-)politischen Entwicklung in Deutschland befasst, wird die Lektüre von Nickel and Dimed um so bedrückender empfinden.
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3.0 von 5 Sternen Quite good, but there are some problems!, 7. Februar 2005
Von Ein Kunde
Quite interesting book - it was time that the issue was adressed, however, I think she made a few mistakes in her approach.
(1) Starting out is always hard and it takes more money until you are settled in a certain routine - by switching jobs too often she does not acknowlege that fact.
(2) I was a single mom with three jobs and went to college - looking back I have no idea how I did it and how I survived it. There were days the baby was with the babysitter for 18 hours a day. Yet, I did not question anything, because I knew it was my only chance to improve my situation permanently. I did not get state benefits because I was working, but I managed to pull myself out of the swamp and I am "middle class" now with a post-grad job, even though I was really poor (and eating spaghettis out of a tin if I had to and stuff like that).
(3) Her approach of life-style is too much middle class. You can get used to everything, really, also to living in a car. Once, to save money (before I had a baby) I lived in a former bathroom, barely big enough to put in my bed. I did not feel deprived after a while - you just get used to things. Obviously, being middle class now it is a kind of unbelievable for myself, but I was happy.
(4) I think the poor use different tactics and approaches than she does. At least I was for sometime sharing a small bedroom when I was in college and the rent was unbelievable high. I always picked restaurant jobs if I had the chance because usually you get one to two meals a day, so that saves money, too. I bought a lot of stuff second hand. If I was running short of money, I'd sell some CDs or stuff. I always got by - on very little money.
But it was interesting and worth reading!
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4.0 von 5 Sternen Working Poor, 16. September 2003
Von Ein Kunde
Barbara Ehrenreich has written a short but captivating report about one level of American society - the working poor who are former "lazy welfare people", housewives needing extra money, skilled workers without work, etc. Her experiences as a Walmart assistant, a dietary aide, a maid - to mention a few - came about after the welfare reform when she asked herself what would happen to the appr. 4 million women formerly receiving welfare who would only earn $6 to $7 an hour.
Her experiences describe the invisible world of low wage workers, how they have to work very hard for next to nothing. Barbara Ehrenreich discovered no lazy (welfare) people where she worked and although she saved, skimped and at times had two jobs, she never earned enough to live on. One reason for this being the high rents in the U.S. So we see that working hard doesn't necessarily make one less poor.
What captivated me most was the realization of what the "welfare reform" is doing to many women and families. Told that they will be free and independant when they no longer get welfare and have to work, they soon realize the truth.
Almost every area in life all over the world is being "reformed". Does this mean that we will not only have a Mcdonald's at every street corner in the future but also the "reformed American Way of Life"? How unsettling!
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1 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen ON THE OUTSIDE LOOKING IN..., 24. Dezember 2005
Von 
This is a well-written, interesting, anecdotal book about a well-educated woman's sojourn among the working poor. If only the author had stopped there, the book still would have been a hit. Instead, the author chose to claim it to be representative undercover reportage. Unfortunately, she does not do this with any objectivity, as she views all that she does through liberal, rose colored glasses. Nor does she live as the truly working poor do, as her existence is isolated, cut off from all support systems. While the author received raves from the New York Times Book Review, which acclaimed the author as "...the premier reporter of the underside of capitalism", the reader should remember that the New York Times is the bastion of East Coast liberalism, and take such praise with a grain of salt.
The author comes across as a somewhat vapid individual, whose inherent biases and expectations prevent her from being able to live as a true member of the working poor or interact with them on a truly human level. She objects to having to take drug tests in order to secure a minimum wage position, stating that the costs of such a test outweigh the benefits, without any clear understanding, other than the cost of the drug test itself, of what the potential costs of employing substance abusers would be. She authoritatively uses statistics willy-nilly without grounding them in an appropriate context. The author does, however, establish one very important key point that would certainly tend to keep the working poor running in place, and that has to do with the cost of housing. The book leaves little doubt that there needs to be more affordable housing for the working poor. Yet, the author offers no suggestions as to how that would best be accomplished.
Moreover, the author, during her work as a cleaner for a cleaning service company, seems to have a lot of negative things to say about people who have had some demonstrable achievements in life. The author seems to forget that in almost every chapter she does not hesitate to remind the reader that she holds a Ph.D, is middle class, educated, yada, yada, yada. The one positive thing that comes out of her experience as a cleaner is that she points out that some cleaning service companies are doing a pretty filthy job of cleaning people's homes. Thanks, Barbara, for the tip, as I would now never consider using such, preferring to do it myself. Unfortunately, her remarks just might cause some of these companies to lose business, causing them to cut back on personnel, the very working poor of whom the author writes.
While the book is interesting at times, the pretentiousness of the author is generally grating and the books ends up being a poor execution of its promise. The author is the quintessential do-gooder, placed in settings of which she has little understanding other than her own pre-conceived, ideologically based ones. It is true that minimum wage will never allow anyone to flourish without some sort of support system in place. Minimum wage is nothing more than what its name states it is. Minimum wage, however, allows the unskilled, minimally experienced worker to get some job experience and a proven track record in terms of the work world. Moreover, some of the problems that the author mentions are just those of bad management by those in positions of power. This is not, however, a situation relegated to those who hold minimum wage jobs. Corporate America is rife with bad management and bosses that treat their employees, even well-compensated ones, badly.
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2 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen IDEOLOGICALLY BIASED ACCOUNT..., 19. Dezember 2005
Von 
This is a well-written, interesting, anecdotal book about a well-educated woman's sojourn among the working poor. If only the author had stopped there, the book still would have been a hit. Instead, the author chose to claim it to be representative undercover reportage. Unfortunately, she does not do this with any objectivity, as she views all that she does through liberal, rose colored glasses. Nor does she live as the truly working poor do, as her existence is isolated, cut off from all support systems. While the author received raves from the New York Times Book Review, which acclaimed the author as "...the premier reporter of the underside of capitalism", the reader should remember that the New York Times is the bastion of East Coast liberalism and take such praise with a grain of salt.
The author comes across as a somewhat vapid individual, whose inherent biases and expectations prevent her from being able to live as a true member of the working poor or interact with them on a truly human level. She objects to having to take drug tests in order to secure a minimum wage position, stating that the costs of such a test outweigh the benefits, without any clear understanding, other than the cost of the drug test itself, of what the potential costs of employing substance abusers would be. She authoritatively uses statistics willy-nilly without grounding them in an appropriate context. The author does, however, establish one very important key point that would certainly tend to keep the working poor running in place, and that has to do with the cost of housing. The book leaves little doubt that there needs to be more affordable housing for the working poor. Yet, the author offers no suggestions as to how that would best be accomplished.
Moreover, the author, during her work as a cleaner for a cleaning service company, seems to have a lot of negative things to say about people who have had some demonstrable achievements in life. The author seems to forget that in almost every chapter she does not hesitate to remind the reader that she holds a Ph.D, is middle class, educated, yada, yada, yada. The one positive thing that comes out of her experience as a cleaner is that she points out that some cleaning service companies are doing a pretty filthy job of cleaning people's homes. Thanks, Barbara, for the tip, as I would now never consider using such, preferring to do it myself. Unfortunately, her remarks just might cause some of these companies to lose business, causing them to cut back on personnel, the very working poor of whom the author writes.
While the book is interesting at times, the pretentiousness of the author is generally grating and the books ends up being a poor execution of its promise. The author is the quintessential do-gooder, placed in settings of which she has little understanding other than her own pre-conceived, ideologically based ones. It is true that minimum wage will never allow anyone to flourish without some sort of support system in place. Minimum wage is nothing more than what its name states it is. Minimum wage, however, allows the unskilled, minimally experienced worker to get some job experience and a proven track record in terms of the work world. Moreover, some of the problems that the author mentions are just those of bad management by those in positions of power. This is not, however, a situation relegated to those who hold minimum wage jobs. Corporate America is rife with bad management and bosses that treat their employees, even well-compensated ones, badly.
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Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America
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