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"Murphy was an optimist!"

Being Poor Is Expensive! October 18, 2006 8:49 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Daily Life
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So, when you run out of money and bounce a check, the bank charges you a $35 fee for each overdrawn draft. Typically one leads to another like a snowball running over dominoes. If you are poor, probably with bad credit, and work for yourself, you cannot have a credit card to act as overdraft protection. Society doesn’t permit that. Ironically, if you have money, you can also have as much credit as you like; I know this – once upon a time I was "the credit card kid!" I overheard someone tonight bragging on his cell phone that "I can put my child’s college education on my credit cards." The poor person that is not provided the leniency of credit during their difficult times is further punished for not having money by being charged a $36 per day overdrawn fee by their bank. Quickly, a poor person that has drained their bank account trying to purchase store brand food and necessities can come under the hammer for several hundred dollars in non-tangible fees.

Out of curiosity, I called LaborReady yesterday to see how they worked:

Me: How do you work?
LaborReady: You work today, you get paid today.
Me: Excellent! Do you have any jobs that pay $300 or $400?
LaborReady, laughing: No. Show up at 5am [20-30 minute drive] dressed for construction and fill out an application. At 5:30 we will tell you if you are working that day. Pay is $6 per hour.

$6 per hour! After taxes and cost of lunch, that will about pay the gas it took to get to the LaborReady office and job site. How could a poor person even consider paying the banking fees doing something like that?

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1. jonathan hickman - October 18, 2006

They had a story on NPR this morning on In-N-Out burger, which pays close to 10 bucks an hour for burger flippers and around 100k a year for managers.

2. GAC - October 18, 2006

Having completely been in that vicious cycle (and somewhat recently, to boot), AT and I have taken measures to assure that we’re not there again.
We found a bank that does not charge for being in the hole. What a ridiculous charge, anyway?! Obviously that poor customer has no money, how in the hell are you going to penalize him or her for that??
We also had a problem with rubber checks. An NSF from the bank, plus the charge from the store was usually around $60, plus the cost of merchandise on top of that. We’ve been check-free for several years now. There’s a lot less chance of getting hit with an NSF when all you use is cash and debit, but it does still happen occassionally.
We tried credit cards (just for emergencies!) but they quickly got out of hand. I would like to have another one some day, but first I want to get into a financial situation more stable than the one I’m in now.

3. Bill Myers - January 15, 2007

Ya Slaverready is crap. I worked for Labourready once in construction for a few days before starting a ‘real’ job – too make some dough and keep busy. Bunch a drug-dealers and rock-heads. I’m glad I’m out of there

Bill Myers

4. DMM - July 13, 2007

I just lost my job and went to Labor Ready to help pay my bills. Come to find out my one weeks deductions from my old job was more than what I made at Labor Ready. I also reported unsafe working conditions to Labor Ready and I was ignored. Nobody seems to listen to you when you are poor.

5. Doug McCaughan - July 14, 2007

Nobody seems to listen to you when you are poor.

Isn’t that the truth! And the assumptions and stereotypes placed against the poor are downright insulting. Things like: "You are poor so obviously your children are neglected."