For a writing project, the author undertook working at minimally skilled jobs, living and supporting herself on minimum wage.  As critical as finding a job is, locating safe affordable housing runs neck and neck in importance for the working poor in America.  The author, Barbara Ehrenreich, went into this undercover research confident that she could unearth secret tips and tricks poor people used to get by.  She learned more than that.  She learned about hunger/food insecurity in a bountiful nation, the affordable housing crisis, and what being really broke means.  The author experiences work as a waitress, hotel housekeeper, house cleaner, nursing home aid, and retail stock clerk.  She also experiences how inadequate the food voucher/emergency food box safety net can be in some communities.  This book really gives you pause to think…maybe that’s a good thing.

Cristine McMurdo-Wallis, the reader, brings a cool, matter of fact delivery that she expertly heats up to emphasize the authors points. Her whiskey voice helps set the tenor for this undercover report.

A minimum wage is not necessarily a living wage. This point is brought home by the author through anecdotal experiences and in-person interviews.  The book was published in 2001 but the debate about what minimum wage should be is still taking place throughout our country at the state and federal levels.  It’s currently linked to the Consumer Price Index in only 5 states to keep pace with the cost of living.  Minimum wage is before-tax income; keep that in mind as you listen to this book whose importance has not diminished through these passing years.

Nickel and Dimed, by Barbara Ehrenreich,

While I’m doing some deep thinking listening to audio books, I’m sewing batik print pocket aprons for my online shop ( ).  Or, choosing recycled yarns to crochet scarves from for my other shop ( ).  My daughter’s (and friend) have and online shop, , where they hand make and sell rainbow cotton knickers with pocket, hand knit picnic blankets from recycled yarn, and macramé necklaces.  My other daughter has an online shop, , where she designs and crochets mushroom shaped bags from recycled yarn.