Barbara Ehrenreich - As a non-fiction narrative, the author was the main character of the book, conceiving and carrying out the low-wage experiments. Ehrenreich kept her real name while applying for jobs, though she did not reveal her Ph.D. in biology, nor her background as a writer.
B.J. - Manager at Ehrenreich’s first job at a restaurant in Key West.
George - Dishwasher in the Key West Restaurant. An immigrant from Czechoslovakia.
Ted - Manager of The Maids, a housekeeping service in Maine that Ehrenreich joins.
Holly – A maid who works with Ehrenreich in Maine.
Marge - A maid from Maine who suffers from arthritis.
Melissa - An employee of a Wal-Mart in Minneapolis.
Howard - Assistant manager at the Minneapolis Wal-Mart.