Day 20  March 25, 2003


1. Names. Schedule notes: 4/1 is the English Festival, I’ll be occupied. 4/3 we’ll discuss DTRT and talk more about the poster sessions. I’m going to postpone the “possible solutions” paper till then as well.


Last session on this book, Thursday. Be sure to read that last section carefully.


2. In the News:,2933,82026,00.html Missing teen recovered.

Wounded Soldiers Flown to Germany On costs of the war. Robert Fisk in Baghdad. Michael Moore at the Oscars. POW’s shown on TV. : Paul Krugman on the Dixie Chicks, Clear Channel, etc.


2. On Nickel and Dimed, part 2:


A fascinating counterpoint in your responses: from identification to skepticism. I’m still trying to figure out what the reasons for those varying responses are.


It has something to do with class, doesn’t it? What class do we consider ourselves part of? I remember meetings where people talked about “working class” and “middle class,” and realizing that I didn’t grow up part of either one, as they were using the terms. I was a farm kid, and that was something different yet.


Or is it a question of tone?


90: “A productive fake member of the working class.”


68: Versions of Jesus. “The true business of modern Christianity is to crucify him again and again so that he can never get a word out of his mouth.”


79: the maids are mostly “embedded in extended families.” That makes it possible to get by, if not to live well.


85: never a moment for job hunting.


95: “If we’re cleaning their house, they’re wealthy.” Anybody here have parents who hired their cleaning done? We did, for years, though currently not . . .


99 maids and “invisibility.” Isn’t this a big theme of the book? 117: “The poor have disappeared from the culture at large. . . . Even religion seems to have little to say about the plight of the poor . . . . The moneylenders have finally gotten Jesus out of the temple.”


106: “Work fills the landscape.” Hard to do anything else, look for another job, find out what’s happening in the world.


Holly’s injury and attempts to get help for her. Ted, the supervisor. What about him? 110 ff. 115: “the word I am thinking of is pimp.

118: how do her fellow maids feel about those they work for? They would just like to have some of what they have.


Three, Selling in Minnesota.


124-5 tests, and getting hired. She’s worried because of her “chemical indiscretion.” 128: she figures it cost about $77,000 to find each drug user. Why?

135: “one of the effects of drug testing is to limit worker mobility—maybe even one of the functions.”


127: the problem of lying relentlessly on the test, and looking “both perky and compliant at the same time.”


139 ff: again, the apartment search. The Budgie Adventure at the loaned apartment, and again the shortage of affordable apartments.


143: The Cult of Sam and Wal-Mart.


Student Responses:


    This book is very interesting to read, due to the facts about poverty, but is also difficult for me to read. For the past two summers,  I've worked at Cedar Point Amusement Park in the hotels. I began as a Room Attendant before being moved to night bellman. I therefore understand how tough it is to be a maid and a room attendant. Each room had two queen size beds, which you had to get on your knees to make each and a sofa bed which you had to move to clean underneath. The floor in the bathroom area had to be cleaned on your hands and knees. Sometimes the supervisor would go in after you finished and used on of those lint brushes made of sticky tape to see if there were any hairs left. You are scheduled for 8 hours, but they push you to end early, and for all your extra effort, you don't get the remainder of the 8 hours.


     It was also sad reading of the people working there, because they are exactly like people I work with. One woman in the book is a room attendant, older woman with no teeth. She is exactly like a woman at the hotel. There are dorms at Cedar Point, which only cost about 12 dollars a week. I stay there, but is really sad is that there are several older men that stay there too. I always wonder where they go when Cedar Point is closed and they can't stay there anymore. I laughed at the section about the Maids where she discussed the wealthy people she cleaned for. They are like many guests at Cedar Point. Though some guests are very nice and appreciate what you do, some look down on you or won't even notice you exist.


      This book is also interesting to me because, as a Music Liberal Arts/ Performance major, there aren't a lot of jobs out there which this major will be of much use. I often wonder, even before reading this book, what sort of job I will be able to acquire after college. It can be scary to think about. My only comfort is that people often go into a career which is completely different from what they went to college for and so there may be something out there for me.


       An article I found in the Counterpunch is by Robert Fisk. It is called A Cauldron of Fire: Irresistible, Unquestionable Power. It gives a first-hand account of the bombing of Baghdad on the 21st. It tells of reports of civilian casualties and people frightened with nowhere to go. Wasn't this war to free the people of Iraq, not kill and terrorize them? Fisk states that, "the symbolic center of this raid was clearly intended to be Saddam's main palace, with its villas, fountains, porticos, and gardens." But I have yet to hear of Saddam being killed. Civilians, who we are supposedly saving, are dying when the person we're after is still alive. Many people have linked Bush with Hitler since this has begun. Whether this is a fair statement, I don't really know, but as I read the part of the article where Fisk said, "from high-rise buildings, shops and homes came the thunder of crashing glass as the shock waves swept

 across the Tigris river..." I could think of only Kristallnacht.


Matt Gothard



  I think that Barb gets more involved in her assignment when she goes to Maine.  She lives more like a low wage worker and doesn't talk about cheating, like she does in Key West.  She gets two jobs and keeps both of them until she leaves, one is with a maid service during the week and at a nursing home on the weekends.

     She had to do some tough work depending on how big the house was, but she didn't complain about it like she did with waitressing.  One thing I noticed is that she stood up for herself and her coworkers when one of them was sick or injured.  She tells her boss what she thinks and thinks that she will get fired but all he does is thank her for her concern and goes on like nothing happened.  I believed that she realized that when people are making such low pay they have to stand up for themselves or people are just going to walk on them for the rest of their lives. 

    The thing that was funny is her tactics for quitting.  She tells a coworker to tell her boss whatever she wants to.  She doesn't care to tell her employers that she is leaving or what she was doing there in the first place.

    I also read some of the Minnesota story and thought that it was really interesting how she talked to the woman that actually went through what she is doing in real life.  This woman picked up and moved with her kids from one low paying job to the next and yet she survived.  I think that proves that even if people do not make a lot of money they can still survive in the world.,2933,82026,00.html   Missing Michigan Teen Recovered Safe in California

   Why are teenagers so stupid nowadays.  This girl willing went with this older man that she barely knew.  I don't see how her parents could not know I mean they must not have been involved in her life as much as they should have been.  This guy was convicted of murder and you think that would have been a big sign for her not to go with him.  My cousin did the same thing once and it just makes me wonder what has happened to the parent children relationships over the years.

Wounded Soldiers Flown to Germany

     I swear people in this world are so crazy.  Supposedly a fellow soldier threw a grenade into tents and injured his own people.  It doesn't say what this guy was thinking but obviously he couldn't take it.  They are investigating and I am really interested to find out what happens.

-Candy Apperson


  I am really enjoying the book "Nickel and Dimmed."  I think her experience of taking on the role of a lower class worker is very interesting and shows the reader when she is doing some of these dead end jobs that it does not matter who she is and how many years of education she has had over the years.  It is true she is unable to get the whole experience of a lower class worker when she has money to fall back on and is able to make the occassional trip to an Applebees.  However, I give her a lot of credit for even doing the experiment to the extent she is, for example holding jobs that pay $6-7.00 an hour and living in the lower income housing.  I have enjoyed reading about her different experiences with her different jobs and the people who come into her path along the way.  Through her experience she sees people discriminated again, for example the busboy at the very first restraunt she worked.  Since he was an immigrant, which caused other employees to believe he was dishonest and stole from the restraunt.  I am so caught up in my own live and living comfortable in my dorm room or at home, I don't think about the living conditions of lower class workers.  I was amazed at some of the stories she told, such as two people living in a one person trailor and a group of immigrants sharing one room. All the jobs Barbara has held to this point in the book have been tiring and strainous.  The one example that comes to mind is when she is working for "The Maid" company.  She has the carry the vacumm on her back not to mention getting on her knees to scrub the floors.  I give her a great amount of credit for taking on this experiment, however I think if I were in her position I would not have lasted a week. 

  The article I chose to read for this week was from fox news.  It was titled "Missing Michigan Teen Recovered Safe in California."  Lindsey was missing since March 1st of this year and was spoted 2000 miles from her home in Michigan to California.  She was spoted at a gas station, by someone who recognized the truck and the lisense plates.  Drake, the man who kidnapped her has murdered a woman in his past but claimed to be a born again Christian.  He met Lindsey and her family at First Assembly Church In Goshen, In. 

Amanda Egley


I agree with alot of what Kelly said last week during class. I don't feel

like she is getting the whole experience by having that credit card to fall

back on. I kind of think that it defeats the whole purpose of the experience

but yet I do give her credit for going out and doing this cause I definitely

wouldn't have the guts to do that, especially alone.  I would be too scared

to do that on my own.  But I like how she gives us the insight of things

going on throughout her jobs.  I like the journaling that she does cause it

kind of gives us an idea on what it is like, day in and day out to live like

that, if we never experience that ourselves.  I feel like I did experience

it myself my going to Washington D.C. for my cross cultural trip cause we

did live in a homeless shelter so we kind of got to see some of this poverty

first hand even though these people weren't living in hotels or what not,

but we did see the poverty that Barb saw.  I did enjoy the book, I did read

the whole thing once again.  I did notice that a couple times throughout the

book that she would go from situation to situation without really saying

that she was switching situations and it kind of confused me because it

would start talking about something totally different and I wouldn't

understand what she was talking about so I would have to reread it. But

other than that, I thought it was a good book, but I felt that throughout

the whole thing, she should have done some things different to really live

out the situation a little better.,2933,82026,00.html


In reading this story, it doesn't sound like the parents are gonna press any

charges or the courts either for that matter. But yet, it doesn't sound like

she was kidnapped either. By reading the story, the writers pretty much make

it out to sound like she went to meet him on her own will and that they went

where ever they went together and she wanted to go with him.  Its kind of

fishy to me. Why would such a young girl want to be with a man, a married

man for that matter.  The wife didn't seem like she was too distraught over

this who situation.  But all in all, its good that she is home where she

needs to be. Happy endings are always good.


Amber Fitzwater




      I must say that I admire Barbara’s dedication to this assignment.  As I’m

reading this book and picturing her doing this manual labor I can’t imagine

that it is at all easy for her.  At one point she mentions that she has done

waitressing before but now she is a lot older and not so sure that her body

can handle it.  If I were in her place and I knew that my middle-class home

and my job and all my friends were waiting for me I would definitely be

tempted to just give it up and go back.  Especially since it seems like she

wasn’t all that eager to take the job in the first place; she was kind of

pushed into it.  But I don’t notice Barbara complaining much.  I’m really

surprised that she doesn’t mention her family or friends more.  She did say

she had a live in boyfriend and I would think it would be hard for her to go

this long without seeing him, and I would think that she would miss him, but

she doesn’t mention these feelings so I’m not sure if they never existed or

if she just choose not to write about them because it didn’t really have

anything to do with the topic at hand.

      I’ve done some waitressing and I find it interesting that I can relate to a lot of what she says.  Although there’s also a lot she talks about that

doesn’t really fit my experience.  I can vouch that many of the people in

this profession do smoke and I thought the reason she gave for this was very

insightful, this is the only thing they can do for themselves, I’m not sure

if it’s true or not, but it would make sense.  I’ve also experienced the “no

standing around” that she talks of.  In my restaurant it’s not enforced a

whole lot unless the big boss is there, and then we all make sure to stay

busy, or at least look busy.  I really hate this because sometimes there’s

not a lot that needs to be done but you’ll have to find something to do

anyway.  I’ve heard waitresses complain when they have to do cleaning during

slow time because they say we only get payed $2.13 an hour and that’s not

enough for cleaning.  So in a lot of ways I can understand how Barbara


      I read in the Christian Science Monitor, “In Texas, New Option for Murder Sentencing?”  This article tells how Texas by far has the largest number of death sentences than any other state.  Previously there were only two options for capital punishment cases; the death sentence or a life sentence with a possibility of parole after 40 years.  These were the only two options, so now someone has proposed that a life sentence without the

possibility of parole be an option.  This bill passed in the Senate but was

turned down in the House by 5 votes.  They think that it will pass next


                                    -Alisha Fought




I must say that this book is turning out to be very interesting.  It is definitely not what I expected it to be.  It has proven to be very easy reading.  Before I knew it, I was more than half way through the book.

After reading through the first ten pages or so, I was

not quite sure how I was going to like it.  The entire

idea behind the book did not really seem to interest

me at all.

I think that my main problem or source of skepticism

with the idea behind this book was that I did not see

how there was any way that the author was going to be

able to completely separate from her current lifestyle

and jump into such a different lifestyle.  The

differences between the two lifestyles are so great

that I cannot even imagine how she was able to do such

a thing.  Going from being an author with no boss, not

having specific hours to work, and working wherever

her laptop will go, to the extreme opposite of working

long, set hours with many other people, having a boss

to report to, and in less than perfect facilities

seems like such a big change for one person.  The

author did this all in a very capable and manageable

way.  The various difficulties that she faced in each

of the cities, such as finding a job and living

facilities, proved to be quite challenging.  

I would have to say that the part thus far that I have

found the most entertaining was her frantic detox

efforts as she describes them.  I guess I just did not

expect that the author would admit to smoking and how

it might have possible hurt her possibilities for

certain jobs that required drug testing.  Her

increasingly aqueous condition” (pg. 130) as she

called it, ended up working out in the end for both of

the potential jobs at Wal-Mart and Home Depot.

Overall, I would have to say that the author’s

presentations of her experiences were overly

informational and yet entertaining.  She seems to

truthfully reveal how living in what many consider to

be low-wage America can be for those considered as the

working poor.

For my article I read from today’s issue of the New

York Times.  The article I read was about how the

President Bush estimated that the total war costs

would total roughly seventy billion dollars, but many

feel that this number will be even higher (

-Lesley Johanns




On page 52 the author talks about how she is living like the "truely poor"

yet she is renting a motel until she can get on her feet with a job and an

apartment.  If she wanted to live like the "truely poor" she would have

taken very little money with her and found a way to get out to portland and

then when she got there she would have tried to find a place to live and a

job without the help of the internet or without being able to go there and

scout it out ahead of time.  Also she would not have the comfort to go home

seemingly whenever she wants to and know that all the luxuries of home are

just a call away or a drive away and she can afford things if she does get

into trouble. I guess it frustrates me when people feel like they put

themselves in other peoples shoes by doing something half heartedly but

glamorizing it so that everyone thinks they deserve the right to empathize

with them.  It seems to me that this is even going on out on the lawn next

to founders.  These people think that they are "suffering" for their voices

to be heard but they have all the modern luxuries and are really just having

a good time displaying what they believe.  Same with the people that went

over to the middle east to act as "human sheilds."  They went way before the

war effort and came back long before any fighting started, now they have the

right to say that they did their part?  That's ludicrous!!!!  These people

may have made a statement but they obviously did not have enough conviction

to really see this thing through or they would still be there.  I know they

have jobs and families but so do these other people and they are putting

them on the line for what they believe in, sounds like that's conviction to

me.  If you are going to go for something or believe in something go all the



I found this article interesting that we the U.S. who are not doing anything

for anyone else but looking only to our own pocket book would be spending

money on other countries.  Boy we must not be as bad as I thought, from what

I heard we are just after money in this whole thing anyways.  I guess you

have to spend money to make money huh?  I think the thing that is most

interesting in this whole article is how we are helping Israel who is not

really helping us but is sitting in fear waiting for Saddam to bomb them,

which seems to me why we are in this thing in the first place, kinda seems

to me that in a way some of the prophecies are coming true about Israel

always being around and the Lord protecting His people.  (that's a whole

different topic for a shorter e-mail.)  I just thought this was real

interesting that some people are still interested what it will cost their

pocket book instead of what it will cost them in human lives.


-Allan King



            As I read this book I really started to get intrigued.  I am lucky that I am privileged to live in a house with my two parents who work to give me a good living.  I understand what she is going through though.  At one point most or all of us started out working at minimum wage and working pretty hard to make very little.  That is the only part I understand.  Right now I have a nice job that I go back to each summer that helps me pay for school.  She needed money to live and worked so many jobs and moved around a lot.  I never understood how bad people making such low wages lived.  This really opened my eyes to the world.  I could be working right now and not getting a higher education.  But I remember each time I think about my future, and I always think this will help me so much more and I will be able to give my family so much more then.  I have always worked hard I think.  I really don’t want to live this way.  This book has opened my eyes to what my life could be.  I can also relate when she leaves work and is totally exhausted.  She knows she needs a place to live so she is willing to sacrifice working so much to live a nice life.  I personally love going to work most of the time.  That may be because I love my job.  I just thought it was interesting that, which is how she was making a living.  Working little jobs at minimum wage to pay for everything.  I want something more.  I think this book was very inspiring though.  I am glad we were asked to read this book for class.  I think it was a great choice!


Michael Moore a documentary writer, while receiving his Oscar spoke out against the war.  He criticized Bush and the U.S.  Moore writes many documentaries that go into gun violence, General Motors boss and also politicians.  There were boos and applause after his speech.  Walking off stage he said, “We are against this war, Mr. Bush. Shame on you, Mr. Bush. Shame on you.”


Jeff Hinderschied


            After class last Thursday, I left thinking about a lot of things. The established institutions in our country. The cycles. The injustices. The way minimum wage jobs are even perceived. Or even more, how the people who do minimum wage jobs are perceived. Then you look at these problems, ever so present and a very near reality to our nation, and you wonder about the freedoms citizens of America really have, and then the freedoms we are spending our money and waging war and violence to bring forth for other nations… it somehow makes sense if you hold on to the rhetoric of, “We are the superpower, and we should be helping countries stand on their own feet.” HOWEVER, we know there is so much more behind that. We know that the story doesn’t end there. We know that this war may have been preventable. We know that our own gains for our own country have some part in this, however much we citizens understand of our own country.

            But there is something that continuously doesn’t make sense. And that is our own apathetic attitudes. Trusting that who we elect will always make the right decisions for us and our country, even without our voice holding accountable their decisions. Interesting concept of democracy.

            Watching the Oscars last night, Michael Moore held his gold statue in hand, saying, “Shame on you, Mr. Bush! We like nonfiction because we live in a fictitious world…(and something about ‘in a country with fictitious elections. And elect fictitious leaders.’) We are against this war! Shame on you!” While half the audience sat there clapping, or maybe like 1/3, and the rest booed. The cameramen flurried to zoom in on some major stars and their reactions. Most were sitting wide-eyed, some were smiling. People across America, I am sure, sat open-mouthed, in shock, in celebration that a director had the gumption to ruin his reputation to be THAT bold receiving an award (note how he waited until he had that award in his hand to say anything), while some likely in disgust—get this man off stage, who does he think he is, if you don’t like our country, then just leave. I have heard that comment by more than one American in the news lately. A pro-war protester on the Toledo news stated, “I say to all you against the war, if you don’t like being  a citizen of this country, then just leave.”

            Standing around the fire in the make-shift camp of tents Friday night, half the people there supported the war; half were against it. Unfortunately, I am unsure either side really knew how to keep emotions in tact to have a “civil discussion,” and the argument, “We were born in this privileged country, so it’s obvious that we ARE better than the Iraqis and need to go over there and get control” was presented a few times. Most of us sat with our mouths shut, especially when the argument, “Yeah, well you guys can sit out here. I have buddies over there. I have friends, OVER THERE. I have a cousin OVER THERE. Who are you not to support him?” And I wanted to say, “I have friends over there! I have buddies over there! I’ve had cousins and uncles and people I admire very much over there before.. and guess what? I don’t want them to be there! Name someone who is excited to get that phone call that sends them out the door with only a big duffle bag that’s some ugly green?” I can’t honestly believe how much of a movie like thing the media is making this war. Who wants to see their son or daughter interviewed, let alone as a prisoner of war? One family had their son interviewed, as was shown in the NY Times today, and they knew right away how scared he was. His brother said, “I'm lost. I'm scared to death. I'm afraid of losing my family. That's my heart." And mothers, they can see their sons, US POWs, before they are even notified by the US.

And the prayer service at our college, well, maybe there could have been more prayer. Maybe some people could have talked a little less. But the two people that went on and on had not slept in days because they were talking about these issues, and all of those things just came pouring out. At least students are involved enough to say more than “I don’t know,” or “I don’t care.” But also, those who have been very active from the beginning are burnt out I think, just by talking with them. All of this social activism stuff is pretty new.

My old roommate sent me an email of an NPR statement: ”All right, let me see if I understand the logic of this correctly. We are going to ignore the United Nations in order to make clear to Saddam Hussein that the United Nations cannot be ignored. We're going to wage war to preserve the UN's ability to avert war . The paramount principle is that the UN's word must be taken seriously, and if we have to subvert its word to guarantee that it is, then by gum, we will. Peace is too important not to take up arms to defend. Am I getting this right?” (PETER FREUNDLICH: National Public Radio Commentary: March 13,2003.).

Then I received an email form some international friends, who are circulating an email about how important it is for each of them to stay close to where they are, traveling only if necessary, and always carrying forms with them. “The new Department of Homeland Security is strictly enforcing an old immigration regulation which states that all individuals who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents must have their documentation of registration on their person while in the United States. To avoid potential problems in this regard, please be sure to carry your passport, I-20 or DS-2019, and I-94 with you at all times.  Failure to have these documents with you when questioned by a law enforcement officer (if stopped for speeding, for example) could result in detention and possible deportation.”

And this, is freedom.

Kathy Dickson