Nickel and dimed Ehrenreich
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The other maids seem almost desperately poor. None of them are homeless, but they never have enough change in their pockets to pay for the tiniest of things—a toll booth, more than a bag of Doritos for lunch. Maids are not allowed to drink or eat anything on the job—which becomes a moot point anyway, because the owners almost never offer anything. Barbara provides a particularly vivid account of cleaning the enormous house of a rich lady—referred to as “Mrs. W.”—and scrubbing on her hands and knees right next to the owner. Mrs. W. looks at her for some time, and then asks if she can do the same thing to the entryway while she’s at it. Never a mention of anything to drink or eat.