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The first site chosen for the experiment was Key West, Florida, as it was close to her home.Searching for a job and a place to live, she found a waitress position at a small restaurant, which she calls Jerry’s.They spend most of their lunch breaks and picking up a few items, such as potato chips, at a local convenience store and eating it in the car.
The nursing home job, consists mainly of feeding the residents of the nursing home and cleaning up the food items.
After a short time on the job Ehrenreich is entrusted with feeding the entire Alzheimer's ward by herself.
After a particularly difficult day, Ehrenreich decides she will be quitting soon, and will give her tips to George.
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.
After management discovers that a few items have gone missing, George is a suspect in the theft.
The stolen items are never revealed by management, and Ehrenreich is convinced that George is innocent.Combined with the problems with co-workers, Ehrenreich also has problems finding affordable housing.She finds a trailer to live in, and is satisfied that it is safe enough for her purposes, though she is unsure if she will be able to maintain it on her waitressing income.She surprised that with so little experience on the job she is given such a responsibility.Many of the patients are diabetic and the wrong desert could worsen their health.To do this, she tries to survive in a variety of different settings, choosing three very different cities and finds a job and a place to live in each.She attempts to live only on the money she makes at whatever job she finds, though she makes the decision not to go hungry and to use a credit card if absolutely necessary.Ehrenreich decides to take on a second job, and the hotel that adjoins the restaurant is hiring housekeepers.Ehrenreich decides to take the second job, as it is the only way she will be able to stay in her trailer.In the introduction, Ehrenreich describes her real life as a writer with a Ph. in biology and an upper middle class home and life.On the advice of Harper’s editor Lewis Lapham, Ehrenreich decides to take on an experiment to show the world what it’s really like to live as an unskilled, low-wage worker.