Introduction

Nickel and Dimed is an investigation of the working conditions of millions of Americans. The employees of restaurants, hotels, and bargain retail operations are exactly what they call themselves, wage-slaves. This country began with slavery as part of its history and perhaps it has not come very far. Maybe it is impractical to demand industry to create a better situation for the employee, but perhaps it is long overdue. What workers will accept for the job they do and how companies evaluate what human labor is worth are issues that should be constantly evaluated. What is an entire working life worth? How many hours does it encompass? How much does a company take as compared to how much it puts back? How can the lives of workers be improved to maximize productivity? Usually, the wage earner and the company are in an adversarial relationship. Coercion of the workforce by management is as American as apple pie. Can there be a better way? Most will say no because one party will always take advantage of the situation, and I believe this is true. Man is an insatiable being. As you read this book, put yourself in the position of the people in the low wage predicament, and try to think about how, as a nation, we can save ourselves from the vast wasteland of the low hourly wage.