PAYROLL CARDS : WITH FEES ATTACHED, NOT A GOOD IDEA

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Let’s talk about “payroll cards.” If you’re low-income, you already know what they are. They are proof that you’re not in charge of your own life.

To be low-income in today’s America is to do without. It’s your fault if you can’t make ends meet, say the Tea party folks. 

You drove uninsured because you couldn’t afford car insurance and you need your car to get to work ? Too bad; pay the fine, pay to reinstate your driver’s license. Pay, pay, pay. That’s just about all that the low-income person hears in America today. Pay.

Such is the context in which “payroll cards” now enter your life.

What are payroll cards ? They’re a kind of prepaid debit card onto which some employers deposit their workers’ weekly wage. The gimmick is that almost all payroll cards have fees attached. You can’t take money off a payroll card without paying a withdrawal fee. Want to use your payroll card as a savings vehicle instead of withdrawing the money ? Some cards charge an “inactivity fee.”

That’s fine, if workers CHOOSE to use a payroll card. If they make that choice, they agree to the fees attached.

What isn’t fine is that some employers make it mandatory for their workers to receive wages on a payroll card; or, they offer direct deposit or check but either don’t tell their employees or make clear that they frown on an employee making that choice.  The payroll card is a favorite especially of firms that pay its workers minimum wage or just above minimum. For their workers, it’s payroll card or nothing — or a displeased boss.

It is unlawful for an employer to require workers to pay fees to access their wages. It matters economically, too: because to a $ 7.50 an hour worker taking home $ 265 a week, a $ 2.00 withdrawal fee cuts into vital cash. The only way to do it is to withdraw one’s entire pay check at one time and keep the cash at home, just like in the 18th Century before banks existed. Some payroll card employers are doing just that. And if that cash gets stolen — by a family member; it happens often — well, that’s just the way it is when you are low-income in today’s America.

The firms that insist on paying by payroll card, with all the fees that come with them, argue that many of their workers don’t have bank accounts and that the fees attached to payroll cards cost far less than those charged by check cashers. This is true; but the argument is a fake one, because the reason that employers use payroll cards has nothing to do with saving their workers some money. It’s about saving the EMPLOYER money.

It is much cheaper for a large firm to pay its thousands of low-wage employees by payroll card than by electronic deposit or by check.That, and not the convenience of workers, is why the payroll card is this season’s hot employer item. Payroll cards are yet another example of how many of  today’s large employers view their employees not as an asset but as a “cost item.”

Payroll cards do work for social security recipients, because Federal law prohibits card issuers and ATM companies from charging any fees to social security recipients paid by card. If this Federal law cannot be extended to cover cards used by private employers, then payroll cards simply should never be mandatory or pretended to be so. The Attorney General of New York is suing to force companies headquartered in his state to offer payment by direct deposit or check. Good for him.

No-fee payroll cards should be required everywhere in today’s America. It is hard enough to be low-income without having fees unavoidably attached to one’s (mostly) minimum wage paycheck.

—– The Editors / Here and Sphere

Stripping, fact and fiction revealed through the memoir’s of a Sin-dustry newbie…..

Stripping, Is it an art-form, or just a

        skanky way to make money?

stripper

I met Jazmina and Chloe back in 2007, Jazmina a.k.a Jazzy was a tall slender girl about 25 years old, long dark pin straight hair, olive complected and beautiful by all accounts. Chloe was a larger, much curvier gal, with fiery red hair, blue eyes, pale complexion, and a bra size to match her unbelievably bold and outrageous personality.

Jazmina mother of three beautiful little Jazzy look alike’s, had a long heart to heart with me about her life. Minus an alcoholic mom, and a few boyfriends from the wrong side she was from a fairly normal up-bringing.

Chloe was just a rebel from what I could tell, older than Jazzy by about 3 years, yet Jazzy had her in maturity by about 6. Chloe was adventurous, wild and intoxicatingly fun. Her curvy bodied “OH HELL NO” to some — was her — “$500.00” pay day to others….. Literally half a grand for a days worth of “work”.

Raising the question is it really work? How hard could it be to take your clothes off? Literally one piece at a time slowly walking around a pole while gyrating to the music picked and played for you? Where do boundaries exist? when are they crossed? Is it worth it? Why do it at all?

Questions that could only be answered years later, when I found myself in a predicament, similar to the one Jazzy had confided in me just 3 years prior. So to the phone I went. Dialing her number seemed not at all strange, almost welcoming……Like the answer to my problems — salvation even — could be just a “Hello- what’s up?” away. And just like that a stripper was born.

Arriving at the club that night knowing not what to expect but instead scared to death, I popped a little something for anxiety and thought to myself “am I really about to do this?” and truth be told I WAS……I had no choice….

The flashing neon sign of the club was actually more tasteful than I had remembered — not so cliche — or Amsterdam red light district-ish — “somewhat classy for a strip club” I thought to myself. After an hour of self-pep talks, and driving in and out of the lot, I finally parked, and got out. “You have had children in teaching hospitals — where it felt as though the entire maternity ward had seen, examined, and could on all probability thoroughly describe your nether regions in great detail if asked to”  I said out loud — to myself — this should be 1000 times easier than that.

This club was a step- up from the usual ones I had been to. I had spent many a night paying some half witted, over salined, bitchy broad to give a friend or friends newly 18 or 21 year old brother his first real taste of the XXX world. This particular place was no dive pig pen, or not-so-foxy- or lady at all. THERE WERE RULES……Strictly enforced rules….

A) No removal of bottoms.

B) Pasties — use them –or lose money

C) Lap-dances Definition: Not so much in the lap as much as a dance near , or around the lap area. Dancers hands may only be placed on recipiant’s shoulder’s or knees. There is to be no butt to crotch contact, dancer may not “grind” … Recipient may not touch — AT ALL — PERIOD.

D) When the shift is done the dancer MUST tip out the –

  • DJ — For playing the shit she wanted to dance to.
  • Bouncer’s — For protecting her ass.
  • Other Dancer’s — If they participated in any champagne room, or dual dances with one or more dancer’s
  • Floor manager — For running a tight ship
  • House — For being allowed the opportunity to shake your covered parts on one or even all three of their stages, then working their room in an attempt to gain more money, and also attracting the clientele to the club — to purchase overpriced drinks, and go home alone.

After the sign up card, which was very minimal to say the least — identification shown — and a quick “By the way your responsible for your own taxes” paper to sign, I was escorted to the changing room — before receiving the “grand tour”.

The dressing room was so overwhelming to me, a first timer / newbie. There were fake hair pieces on model heads strewn about the make-up clad counter tops. Mirrors galore, posing the question; Fun house, or nut house? The amount of glitter containing products also taking up residence on the counters was astonishing — sure fire way to get that  “night prowling ” husband in deep shit, as that is NOT easily washed off. Self tanning spray a.k.a oompa loompa spray was a staple — along with; hairspray /hair glue, fake nails, and pastie heaven — felt more like Barbie hell to me, but hey I was the newbie right?

One girl took me under her wing and “taught me the ropes” so to speak.

“What are your outfit choices?” she asked to which I replied a muffled: UMMMM!

“Outfits??? shit —  how could I forget something so vital?” “Oh yeah perhaps the freaking out over the getting naked thing, threw me off.”

Well now what? Sweetly and to my rescue she came with a strange looking bag of random, well I guess you could call them “parts” of clothing.

When I was done “getting ready”, I was at best a mish-mash of a patriotic hula-cowgirl-teachers assistant….Hmmm. well “here goes nothing” I thought. Standing behind the DJ booth I waited for my “name” to be called in rotation, I would dance one song on the main stage, one song on the satellite stage, and one more on the second satellite stage. “Wait what 3 songs, 3 stages?” If I was going to puke that would have been the time. But before vomit could enter my esophagus, the DJ announced loudly “And for the first time here at (insert club name here) please help us welcome (insert ridiculously cheesy any porn star-ish name possible here)……

Pole tricks

I had watched the 3 or 4 girls that had gone previously, and the pole seemed to be an acrobatic tool. “I’m flexible and acrobatic” I thought…..NOT SO….That pole is deviously challenging — and not at all a good idea to debut your lack of stage skill, or learning curve sexy skill components. As the first song played I gripped it, white knuckling the hell out of it , and praying those 6′ heels would not do me in. I swayed “not so sexily” to the rock song playing.  “Floor work….yes floor work” I thought to myself, ” how hard can it be to roll around and do acrobatic things in a seductive manner?” NOPE WRONG AGAIN……..knocking off peoples drinks, almost spiking “the ball” literally, and trying to gauge the amount of space in which to roll around…….HA!!!! — a fools errand at best –but I tried. Other than Mr. whiny-wet pants everyone seemed pretty nice, even throwing “pity bills” or at least that’s how it felt. After stage 2 and 3, my legs felt immobile, What the hell were these muscles, where did they come from, and why do they hate me? All relevant questions a newbie asks once they are un-able to move.

After realizing the catty nature of my next step in stripper-dom,, I really wanted to run and never come back…..These girls literally would have cut your grandma’s throat if it meant that they had a chance of scoring a lap-dance or two, from a mindless patron. It was absolute mayhem on the floor. But the newbie gets the attention or so I learned:

  • The regular clients want to see how far you will go.
  • Will you push boundaries or break rules?
  • Will you know what is and is not acceptable?
  • Will you play by the rules and rat them out if they slip you an extra $50.00 and an apology.
  • Are you willing to leave with them?
  • How desperate are you for cash?

It’s pretty stomach turning when you start to realize the mentality of some of these men, and women.

By night’s end I just wanted to go home, shower, and be done with a world I never thought — would actually take and blacken a piece of my soul — but it did. Question is will I come back tomorrow?  I guess you’ll have to come back to find out, and so will I……..    Your’s Truly: Sin-dustry

Written By: Heather Cornell

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