This is one of the more profoundly disturbing books I have read, and it's a possible contemporary successor to Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed.
Ms Bruder follows "workampers" in their itinerant, gypsy-esque lives around the US doing low-wage, unstable work out of necessity. This demographic is disproportionately older (55-75) and constituted by women. For various reasons, they've been forced to the extreme economic and social margins of American society. To witness their cheerfulness amidst a grueling, dystopian vulnerability (economic, physical, and mental) evokes a profoundly unsettling sense of perturbation from me.
Our amusement parks, our produce, our favorite campsites, and *even our packages from Amazon* depend substantially on impoverished and, frankly, desperate seniors. They live in vans, old RVs, and even cars permanently camping while taking short-term, dirty, and dangerous minimum wage jobs. They do this at the expense of their physical health. They're encouraged by being told that they're not working hard enough if they're NOT taking at least 2 tylenols at the end of their shift - free OTC pain meds being a "perk" of working in an Amazon warehouse. Jeff Bezos loves these workers, and hopes to eventually employ all vankampers for at least one stint by the end of the decade. Why shouldn't he? They're a godsend. They bring the non-cynical can-do work ethic of yesteryear, they're economically desperate, and Federal tax credits offset 25-40% of their wages!
Welcome to the new America, where downwardly mobile ex-middle class grannies are working themselves into an early grave for free super-saver shipping.
- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (21 September 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0393356310
- ISBN-13: 978-0393356311
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 2 x 21.1 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 231 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 53,681 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)