Nickled and Dimed

Freedom of the Mind
When someone is going through a difficult time they often detach their body from their mind to block out what’s going on around them. In the book Nickel and Dimed On (Not) Getting By In America, Barbara Ehrenreich tries to dissociate herself from the undercover work she is doing. She does this task in order to see how the working poor of society survive on minimum pay. She wants to see if she can go infiltrate a work place and survive on minimum wage. Even though she doesn’t want to get emotionally involved with what’s going on around her; she realizes how hard it is to work with minimum wage as the pay. While working at Wal-Mart, Barb was able to obtain a robotic state where she was removed from the work she was doing.
Barbara’s personality changes when she begins working at Wal-Mart. As she stated, “what I have to face is that ‘Barb,’ the name on my ID tag, is not exactly the same person as Barbara” (Erenreich 169). She begins to change due to frustration she feels towards the work system because she realizes that they treat all of the workers as expendable items, having no worth.   She has begun to lose all emotional connections to the people that she comes in contact with. ‘Barb’ has become a less understanding and meaner person that can no longer relate to people. She is no longer who she was before she started this project; she has become someone else, she has become Barb.
Erenreich explains, “…and then it happens—a magical flow state in which the clothes start putting themselves away. Oh I play a part in this, but not in any conscious way” (Erenreich 176). She acquires a robotic state of mind where she is no longer in conscious control of what she is doing. Everything that she has to do is now programmed in her so that it’s just as natural as breathing. Erenreich states that “all I have to do is form an image of the item in my mind, transpose this image onto the visual field, and move to wherever the image finds its match in the outer...