Author Topic: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads  (Read 2504 times)


Erica

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 406
  • Location: Sierra County California
Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2017, 12:41:26 PM »
They don't live in cars, they live in RV's. Big difference. I live a few hours from Fernley and visited once
Most appeared to be doing just fine financially. They pay $13 an hr, a bonus if you don't miss work, and a good amount of overtime
« Last Edit: December 05, 2017, 12:43:37 PM by Erica »

accolay

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 578
Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2017, 03:26:50 PM »
They don't live in cars, they live in RV's. Big difference. I live a few hours from Fernley and visited once
Most appeared to be doing just fine financially. They pay $13 an hr, a bonus if you don't miss work, and a good amount of overtime

Yeah, seems awesome. Seasonal work, so they're basically only working a few months out of the year and camping the other part.

Of course, $13 an hour with no benefits isn't what we would define a "living wage" and they would still qualify for "food stamps" but you know....Living the dream.

TheAnonOne

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1239
Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2017, 03:31:41 PM »
They don't live in cars, they live in RV's. Big difference. I live a few hours from Fernley and visited once
Most appeared to be doing just fine financially. They pay $13 an hr, a bonus if you don't miss work, and a good amount of overtime

Yeah, seems awesome. Seasonal work, so they're basically only working a few months out of the year and camping the other part.

Of course, $13 an hour with no benefits isn't what we would define a "living wage" and they would still qualify for "food stamps" but you know....Living the dream.

This job looks a lot better when you frame the RVer as already FI, just supplementing their spending.

accolay

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 578
Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2017, 03:40:16 PM »
This job looks a lot better when you frame the RVer as already FI, just supplementing their spending.

I'm sure the majority of those folks are FI... and not just doing it out of necessity.


ixtap

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 780
Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2017, 03:43:36 PM »
This job looks a lot better when you frame the RVer as already FI, just supplementing their spending.

I'm sure the majority of those folks are FI... and not just doing it out of necessity.

I don't know, there was an article a few months ago about folks moving back and forth between this kind of work and summer work, like working at amusement parks. The article made them all sound miserable, but I also remember at least one couple who was maintaining the RV, plus a home someplace and complaining about costs.

accolay

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 578
Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2017, 03:58:15 PM »
Living in an RV is cool and happy when you're young, you have enough money to choose to live there while you're retired or you work for google and live in their parking lot or otherwise sticking it to the man by not owning anything etc.

It's not cool when you have to live there in retirement age while chasing jobs around the country sometimes unable to afford repair or gas because you're broke.


Cassie

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3841
Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2017, 04:40:46 PM »
I read some articles about seniors doing this and many were miserable. At 63 I would not want to live in our old 27 ft motorhome. About a month is enough for me.  Often their SS was low and some had lost good jobs and their homes during the recession. 

Laura Ingalls

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 60
Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2017, 08:07:53 PM »
I have met several full time RVs.  Their means vary a lot.  I have found that one of the best ways to tell the broke from the more FI is if they bother to title their RV in Texas or South Dakota.  Folks with no money don’t worry about their state income taxes liability.  I have also read Jessica Bruder’s excellent book.  Her subjects are mostly super broke folks that have never made much money and their other choices are limited. 

I would gladly live in 27 foot 5th wheel.  I would want to do it by choice not default.

Erica

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 406
  • Location: Sierra County California
Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2017, 08:59:41 PM »
It would be interesting to know the truth regarding their wealth & assets.

One thing that tipped me off is their haircuts. They were not done at Supercuts or Great Clips but they were clearly, nicer haircuts.

None of these people were fat. Many appeared in shape.

Very Nice RV's, overall.

I came in the beginning though....before they started working really hard.

Someone told me they got $500 last year as a bonus for not missing any shifts, Amazon pays for the trailer spot and they were served a few free catered lunches, spiratically. Some won a few gift cards the prior year, yes you guessed it, Amazon gift cards

Working 2 hrs on your feet running around ion hard concrete is hard work so these Seniors need to be in shape. I was told many stay at the Mobile Home Park until the end of Dec instead of leaving on Dec 23rd because they had no family to spend Xmas with. So they all spend it together. If you add up the cost of housing, the 4 hrs of overtime 3-4 days a week, and free exercise, it's not such a bad deal.

Don't use that dirty temp agency amazon uses to hire people. They screwed a bunch of old folks over regarding their overtime pay.
Only be hired via Amazon




SC93

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 371
Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2017, 10:12:09 PM »
I have met several full time RVs.  Their means vary a lot.  I have found that one of the best ways to tell the broke from the more FI is if they bother to title their RV in Texas or South Dakota.  Folks with no money don’t worry about their state income taxes liability.  I have also read Jessica Bruder’s excellent book.  Her subjects are mostly super broke folks that have never made much money and their other choices are limited. 

I would gladly live in 27 foot 5th wheel.  I would want to do it by choice not default.

Laura, not only my youngest daughter's name but my wife LOVES Laura Ingalls. Have you visited their homestead in Missouri? Anyway, to what I was going to comment about.... I know a few racers that have license plates on their trailers from Texas yet Texas is not their home state. They reside in Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa and usually from the midwest.

We had some friends that got an rv and went from state park to state park and worked. They were paid to work odd jobs at the park and they got free lot rent (or what ever you call it). As for me, I might be able to handle being in an rv a week at most and I hate driving them. My first legal job when I was 16 was a Southwind mechanic.

soccerluvof4

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2787
  • Location: Artic Midwest
  • Retired at 50
Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2017, 02:50:23 AM »
I also read an article once about this and it being mostly retired people Rv'ing around the country and loading up their stash around the holidays. The thing that I remember most was the work was hard and they were not treated the best. Hopefully that has changed.
" In life you don't get what you deserve you get what you negotiate"

slappy

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 445
Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2017, 07:07:58 AM »
This job looks a lot better when you frame the RVer as already FI, just supplementing their spending.

I'm sure the majority of those folks are FI... and not just doing it out of necessity.

This article makes it seem like exactly the opposite.

surfhb

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 391
Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #13 on: December 06, 2017, 08:26:20 AM »
This job looks a lot better when you frame the RVer as already FI, just supplementing their spending.

I'm sure the majority of those folks are FI... and not just doing it out of necessity.

This article makes it seem like exactly the opposite.

Me too.    Kinda of a sad existence if you asked me.

mm1970

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4816
Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2017, 10:46:52 AM »
Living in an RV is cool and happy when you're young, you have enough money to choose to live there while you're retired or you work for google and live in their parking lot or otherwise sticking it to the man by not owning anything etc.

It's not cool when you have to live there in retirement age while chasing jobs around the country sometimes unable to afford repair or gas because you're broke.
Whether you are young or old, it really depends on what you want.

I'd imagine that many of the RVers and Vandwellers are doing it because they like it.  They like the freedom.  I know many people like this - wanderers, travelers, etc. (I am not one of them!)

There are many many others who are doing it out of necessity.  They'd rather have a small house or condo, steady income in one place, but that's not their reality anymore.

It's a serious issue and I don't know the answer.  We have a lot of homelessness here in CA (all over the west coast).  It's easy for some people to say "you can't afford to live here, move!"  But the problem is harder than that.  And people want easy.  The fact is, there are plenty of homeless folks that have jobs, and have had them a long time.  But they can no longer afford a roof.  Moving doesn't help if there is no job at the other end.

One block up our street is a private park.  There are 4-5 RVs in there permanently now - has been that way for about 5 years or so.  The economic downturn dried up donations to the park, so it now runs using "volunteer park hosts", who get free "rent" for their RVs and 5th wheels.  They seem to be mostly older retired people.  We see them having potlucks.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2017, 10:50:07 AM by mm1970 »

Cassie

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3841
Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #15 on: December 06, 2017, 11:39:51 AM »
I know some poor seniors here who have section 8 housing where the government pays their rent and they pay 30% of their income. They also get reduced rate to ride the bus, food stamps, etc so they can live in a nice place and have a good quality of life.  It is not a low income apartment as many residents pay the full rate if they can afford it.   From what I have read about the RVer's many end up hurting themselves on the job from the long days and physical demands. An RV would have a hard time staying warm even with the heat running in Fernley in the winter.  The Midwest also has lots of places with a LCOL.

MayDay

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3377
Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #16 on: December 06, 2017, 11:46:15 AM »
If you can get section 8, it is great.  Here in Mpls,you can't even get on the lists. They are closed. They periodically open them for disabled people. A disabled friend just got on the list and she thinks it'll be a decade before she gets housing.

We are working on building affordable housing in my suburb. A developer wants their affordable units to be for 80% of median income. They will replace units that rented for 400$ a month.  It isn't even comparable.

Living in a southern location in an RV is often the only affordable option. Maybe senior section 8 waits are shorter since they die regularly.
Journal:  http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/journals/mayday's-journal/350/  featuring children, chickens (new!) and other ch words.

mm1970

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4816
Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #17 on: December 06, 2017, 01:31:16 PM »
If you can get section 8, it is great.  Here in Mpls,you can't even get on the lists. They are closed. They periodically open them for disabled people. A disabled friend just got on the list and she thinks it'll be a decade before she gets housing.

We are working on building affordable housing in my suburb. A developer wants their affordable units to be for 80% of median income. They will replace units that rented for 400$ a month.  It isn't even comparable.

Living in a southern location in an RV is often the only affordable option. Maybe senior section 8 waits are shorter since they die regularly.
Our Section 8 lists are 8 years long. 

LibrarianFuzz

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 23
Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #18 on: December 06, 2017, 01:32:00 PM »
If you would really like to read into this topic, I suggest reading: Nomandland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century.

https://www.amazon.com/Nomadland-Surviving-America-Twenty-First-Century/dp/039324931X

This book just came out a few months ago.

Here is a description:

From the beet fields of North Dakota to the National Forest campgrounds of California to Amazon’s CamperForce program in Texas, employers have discovered a new, low-cost labor pool, made up largely of transient older Americans. Finding that social security comes up short, often underwater on mortgages, these invisible casualties of the Great Recession have taken to the road by the tens of thousands in late-model RVs, travel trailers, and vans, forming a growing community of nomads: migrant laborers who call themselves “workampers.”

On frequently traveled routes between seasonal jobs, Jessica Bruder meets people from all walks of life: a former professor, a McDonald’s vice president, a minister, a college administrator, and a motorcycle cop, among many others―including her irrepressible protagonist, a onetime cocktail waitress, Home Depot clerk, and general contractor named Linda May.

In a secondhand vehicle she christens “Van Halen,” Bruder hits the road to get to know her subjects more intimately. Accompanying Linda May and others from campground toilet cleaning to warehouse product scanning to desert reunions, then moving on to the dangerous work of beet harvesting, Bruder tells a compelling, eye-opening tale of the dark underbelly of the American economy―one that foreshadows the precarious future that may await many more of us. At the same time, she celebrates the exceptional resilience and creativity of these quintessential Americans who have given up ordinary rootedness to survive. Like Linda May, who dreams of finding land on which to build her own sustainable “Earthship” home, they have not given up hope.

LibrarianFuzz

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 23
Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #19 on: December 06, 2017, 01:33:20 PM »

Our Section 8 lists are 8 years long.


Yes, ours closed years ago, too.

accolay

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 578
Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #20 on: December 06, 2017, 08:19:41 PM »
We are working on building affordable housing in my suburb. A developer wants their affordable units to be for 80% of median income. They will replace units that rented for 400$ a month.  It isn't even comparable.

Good luck. We haven't built affordable housing for years in the Metro Burbs with the MetCouncil. It's NIMBY problem.

MayDay

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3377
Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #21 on: December 06, 2017, 08:34:44 PM »
We are working on building affordable housing in my suburb. A developer wants their affordable units to be for 80% of median income. They will replace units that rented for 400$ a month.  It isn't even comparable.

Good luck. We haven't built affordable housing for years in the Metro Burbs with the MetCouncil. It's NIMBY problem.

Thanks.  The developer bought a trailer park that housed 100 extremely low income families, and wants to replace with 50 @ 80% median.  It is pretty heartbreaking.  The 100 families have already been evicted.  The land is sitting empty while the developer tries to get approval to build.  I will be shocked if we even get 50 to be honest.  One person committed suicide when he was evicted.
Journal:  http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/journals/mayday's-journal/350/  featuring children, chickens (new!) and other ch words.

Erica

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 406
  • Location: Sierra County California
Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #22 on: December 06, 2017, 09:22:21 PM »
The people I saw were in pretty good shape. Dressed as if they shop at REI. I mean you have to be in pretty good shape to walk 15 miles a day on concrete as that's how much walking/running they do.

It's hard to believe anyone who keeps themselves in that good of shape in their Senior years is poor. That is not typical of the poor.
But looks can be deceiving. Certainly not owning a house will allot you extra money towards nice clothes.

Apple_Tango

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 84
Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #23 on: December 06, 2017, 10:02:21 PM »
I'm in the RV community, I live part of the year in my 5th wheel for work. I'm also 26 and do it by choice. I pile up my stache, have more freedom, always get to sleep in my own bed, no bed bugs or roaches, etc. There is a huge difference in people's perception when it is a choice vs when it is a necessity. On youtube there are two really good contrasting examples. Knorpp and South are a family of 12 or something like that, who lived in their RV by choice for cultural experiences and seem to be quite well off (now doing a Europe trip). Road Rice are a family of 9 who are quite poor and it is not really a choice, it's all they can afford. The latter channel are much more likely to have negative comments. In one video they even filmed CPS being called on them, from a youtube viewer!!

A lot of seniors have not saved enough money, and SSI is not cutting it when they have a large portion going to rent/housing. Sometimes living in a car/van/RV is all they can afford. But in a way it is a choice. They can either be homeless on the street, in section 8, in a stationary trailer park, or they can travel in a car/RV and get part time traveling work. The RV community is actually quite friendly, it seems that the people in sticks and bricks are the ones who are mean and don't want to be around anyone who is poor, like it's some sort of catching disease. I think the main fear is that poverty is associated with drugs, alcohol, uncleanliness, stealing, etc. But honestly I have not seen that in the RV/workamping community. It's mostly nice, retired people.

I have a career, good degrees, etc and I have considered Workamping, seasonal work at national parks etc, as a choice once I'm FI. We'll see how it goes once I'm closer!
“Honesty Without Tact is Cruelty”- Kristen Bell’s Therapist
http://www.freegoodiesonthego.com/2017/07/honesty-without-tact-is-cruelty.html?m=1

accolay

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 578
Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #24 on: December 06, 2017, 10:16:27 PM »
We are working on building affordable housing in my suburb. A developer wants their affordable units to be for 80% of median income. They will replace units that rented for 400$ a month.  It isn't even comparable.

Good luck. We haven't built affordable housing for years in the Metro Burbs with the MetCouncil. It's NIMBY problem.

Thanks.  The developer bought a trailer park that housed 100 extremely low income families, and wants to replace with 50 @ 80% median.  It is pretty heartbreaking.  The 100 families have already been evicted.  The land is sitting empty while the developer tries to get approval to build.  I will be shocked if we even get 50 to be honest.  One person committed suicide when he was evicted.

Oh yeah....we're talking about St Anthony yes?

SC93

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 371
Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #25 on: December 07, 2017, 07:01:09 AM »
Section 8 needs to be elderly and handicapped ONLY.

mm1970

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4816
Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #26 on: December 07, 2017, 10:22:56 AM »
Section 8 needs to be elderly and handicapped ONLY.

LOTS of single moms with kids in Section 8 housing. Many, if not most, working but unable to afford the full amount of rent (the amount they pay goes up with income).

asauer

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 476
  • Location: North Carolina
Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #27 on: December 08, 2017, 05:38:05 AM »
Is this the new Grapes of Wrath?  Migration for subsistence?

pachnik

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1568
  • Age: 53
  • Location: Vancouver, BC
Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #28 on: December 08, 2017, 08:10:38 AM »
Is this the new Grapes of Wrath?  Migration for subsistence?

I read the article and wondered how much choice the migrants had in it.  If they had a choice with decent options and chose to do this, great.  But if not, I don't think it is so great.  I don't think it would for me.

Cassie

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3841
Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #29 on: December 08, 2017, 11:41:31 AM »
From some of the articles I have read it is not really a choice for many seniors.  Some had professional jobs at one point but got laid off and couldn't find more work. Some made bad financial decisions. Some don't want to live in apartments.  Some of them have a tough time with the physical demands and spend their off time just sleeping and resting. Some end up hurt on the job.

clutchy

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 277
Re: Article: Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America's new nomads
« Reply #30 on: December 08, 2017, 12:17:43 PM »
Is this the new Grapes of Wrath?  Migration for subsistence?

You know maybe yes? 

I ran into a bunch of 50 and 60 year olds out in Quartzite in the desert.  They were having a great time and I got the feeling they really enjoyed it. 

the town is a ghost camp for most of the year and buzzing with life for the other half.  RV's parked out in the desert grouped up or on pads.

It's like a cheaper snow-birding. 


I'm sure there are those that are suffering as with anything there are winners and losers.