Daily Archives: December 22, 2023

by Emily Guendelsberger


Guendelsberger follows in the footsteps of journalist Barbara Ehrenreich, who 22 years ago went undercover to document low-wage jobs for her book Nickel and Dimed. In 2019’s On the Clock, Guendelsberger becomes a (temporary) worker bee in an Amazon warehouse, at a call center, and in a San Francisco McDonald’s.

Most of her book depicts the misery and humiliation endured by people working such jobs — but then, we already knew about that (or should know about that).

The question is, why don’t corporations and governments do something to alleviate the pain of folks who can’t afford health insurance, can’t afford to move, and find themselves at the mercy of algorithms, invasive monitoring, and decision-makers so far removed from life at the bottom that, even if they wanted to improve conditions, might not know how?

If nothing else, those of us fortunate enough to be on the other side of the cash register (or the phone line), might think twice before blowing up at the human being stuck trying to help us.


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