Barbara expresses wholehearted agreement. Small things have been going wrong: The company has its own vacuum that is worn on the back like a backpack. Ehrenreich gets a job as a waitress in a diner-style restaurant, and finds a trailer to rent nearby. Here she tries to imagine a different kind of struggle — in addition to economic difficulties, the need to adjust to a vastly different culture and language. It also frustrates her that her ability to perform a job well and her engaging qualities can be trumped by smoking pot.

From the sky Minnesota looks lush and picturesque. Her two minute breaks are now vital, and she tries to juggle simultaneous needs of drinking, getting outside, and sitting down, especially when heading to the Radio Grill for an iced tea could waste four precious minutes. This merely causes the workers to do nothing more than resent the affluent, which does little more than cause the workers to do suboptimal work in the house because of the way they were treated. She finds a hotel to live in, but stays worried about the boltless door, and moves to a nicer hotel. Once again, Barbara goes through an orientation in which the corporation at large, rather than middle management, instructs employees in how best to fulfill its own policies and philosophy, complete with an origin myth of the Waltons.

Though Barbara never finds an apartment, her last attempt is to call the United Way of Minneapolis, through which she finally reaches the Community Emergency Assistance Program.

This personality test sslling oriented towards a different, probably rougher crowd, but it similarly attempts to trick out potential employees. Ehrenreich decides to use her free time while at work to teach George English. Notify me of new comments via email. Instead there are just full carts, then empty ones. She laments the lack of any encouragement or compliments from her coworkers on her performance, and decides i was average, but capable.

She realizes, while picking things up, ehrenrdich what she does here is what most mothers do at home, picking up the toys and spills—so here the mothers get to behave like small children.


selling in minnesota by barbara ehrenreich essay

Ehrenreich gets a job as a waitress in a diner-style restaurant, and fhrenreich a trailer to rent nearby. However, Caroline also had two kids to support. The last chapter, the evaluation, begins with an analysis of how she actually performed at each job. She dozes on and off, realizing at one point in the night that poor women really do have more to fear than women who live in houses with double locks, dogs, and husbands.

Detailed explanations, analysis, and citation info for every important quote on LitCharts. Seelling the introduction, Ehrenreich describes her real life as a writer with a Ph.

Get the Teacher Edition. Barbara pictures the wife as a product of an arranged marriage and a move from her native village to Clearview, Minnesota, with a husband who may not even speak her language.

“Selling in Minnesota” by Barbara Ehrenreich | amelaenglish

The labor shortage she had been expecting to drive up wages had no effect on the wages she was able to get.

One could argue that the feeling you get from a well-completed task is reward enough, but how garbara that apply to an individual making less than a liveable wage? After one of the other maids in injured on the job, Ehrenreich demands that the younger maid stop working, and tries to halt the work of all the maids.

The Clearview Inn may well be the worst motel in the country—not an easy feat.

“Selling in Minnesota” by Barbara Ehrenreich

When Ehrenreich eventually leaves at the end of the month, Melissa decides to quit to rather than work at barbar Wal-Mart without her. The housekeeping company offered free breakfasts but would not raise their wages even as they repeatedly came up short handed.

All of the minor characters in the book had their names changed by the author to protect their privacy. The woman mixes Barbara up several times with someone else who worked at Wal-Mart who came in a few days ago. On Sunday she goes to the home of an aunt of a friend from New York. But she quit before she expected to, as a slew of difficult customers convinced her to quit her job mid-shift and with no notice.


She found that employers used many tricks in order to keep wages low and employees coming back to keep their jobs. Even in barbaara tight labor market like Minneapolis, the potential employee is made to feel like a supplicant. The other women discover her condition because of her nausea and dizziness. Once again, Barbara has to do her best to juggle competing concerns—affordability, safety, gas prices, and ability to commute to work, among other factors.

The drug test crops up again as a way for management to control employees. The housekeeping position proved to be physically demanding as well as low paying, and Ehrenreich also felt the job to be degrading.

She corners other employees outside at cigarette breaks, and finds that no one gets paid overtime, and the health insurance is considered not worth paying for. She chides Barbara not to forget to check the ten-digit UPC numbers. A small issue like where to leave her srlling grows complicated as a result. Employees could lose their voice to the union organizers and even their wages and benefits would be put at risk, the video warns.

Barbara snaps back at her, saying their time is better spent putting things away from the carts.

selling in minnesota by barbara ehrenreich essay