I arrive at six in the morning, two hours before the store opens. Awaiting me is an aisle of boxes, stacked up. One last sip of my coffee, then I put on my gloves and take a big breath. Time to go in.
I am a James Beard award–winning gluten‑free cookbook author. And for nine months, I worked in our local grocery store for $15 an hour.
It is the best job I have ever worked.
Online, no one knows you are poor. No one is posting photos of the basket of bills overflowing, some of the envelopes with urgent stamped on them. Very few people write about the choices they make out of fear of going bankrupt, like selling expensive camera lenses that feel less important than rent. And few of us want to admit that we are struggling with money, even though we live in a culture where the rich have grown astronomically rich and the rest of us have grown anxious about health insurance. As my friend Ashley Ford wrote online one day: “I’m trying to choose an insurance plan, but I’m pretty sure the only good insurance is wealth.”
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