Employees Share The Dirty Little Secrets Their Industry Hides That Consumers Need To Know

When you become an employee of a company, you start to see that company in a different light. Because you’re not just a consumer anymore, you’re able to witness their operations from behind the curtain and see what the rest of the world doesn’t. You gain knowledge and experience in the field, but also an insight into the “secrets” that the company hides from the general public.

It’s interesting to see the dirty little secrets businesses and industries are able to keep close to their chests. Thanks to the following employee testimonials, consumers can become aware of those secrets and make more informed decisions when spending their money or choosing a service.

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#35 Making It Up As They Go

A fair amount of sign language interpreters are underskilled and uncertified. When they don’t understand a deaf person, they will simply make up a translation and the deaf person never hears it.


#34 A Dining Experience To Defrost

The larger the menu at a restaurant, the greater the chance your food was frozen and just reheated.

This applies more to large chain restaurants.


#33 Insulation and Lies

If you’re getting insulation installed in your attic, ask the technician for the specifications sheet on the material to be installed. It will tell you the number of bags the job will require. Then, ask the installer to confirm how many bags will be installed and count the empty bags.

If your technician is unethical, he or she can turn the blowers all the way up and close the material gate. You’d get extra fluffy insulation installed in your attic that you don’t need. It’s a rip-off.

Get a quote by the bag, not by the inch.


#32 A Discomforting Truth About Comforters

Hotel manager here. Most of the time, the comforter is only changed when it’s visibly dirty. Always take off the comforter and use the blanket in the closet, or ask them to bring you a new one.


#31 Protection Against Therapists

Please ask for your therapist’s credentials. Not in an aggressive way, but just ensure that they are who they claim to be. If they purport to be a “life coach,” then be skeptical. There are so many counselors operating illegally (or in legal grey areas) in the US.

Some states don’t protect titles like “counselor” or “therapist,” giving free rein to anyone who wants to set up shop. Good, qualified therapists want you to get the best treatment. Many people who have terrible, negative experiences in therapy are likely seeing someone who is underqualified or not qualified at all.


#30 A Secret About Shipping

If you chose to ship your order via UPS and your package shows up via USPS instead, the retailer changed the shipping service because it is cheaper and faster, according to their quote. If you want, you can call the company and request that they refund you the difference because USPS is ALWAYS cheaper.

For clarification, I’m talking about instances where you pay for a shipping method but the retailer decides to ship it from the store via USPS. I know in some cities the packages are handed off between UPS and USPS. This is a decision of the carrier, not the retailer, and the retailer makes no extra money from that.


#29 Sketchy Dental Practices

There are some really bad dentists out there, and you probably don’t even realize it.

Most people stay with a dentist based on their insurance policies or their chairside manner, but they have no idea of the quality of dental work they are actually getting. I have seen some absolutely abysmal procedures done and, due to ethical reasons, I can’t simply tell the patient, “Hey, Dr. So-and-so did a terrible job with your filling and now you need a root canal because he screwed up.”

If you’re in a new town and looking for a new dentist, call a local endodontist and ask who he or she would recommend. They see all the work from local dentists.


#28 Proofreading Phonies

I’m a freelance copy editor and proofreader.

Many of the books in my portfolio were previously published and “edited,” meaning the author had already paid someone to edit them…

Yet, the author still needed to hire me because the books were still filled with errors, to the point where reviewers would publicly comment on the poor editing.

In the freelance editing world, there seems to be no shortage of people who will take an author’s money but not do a good job editing. Typically, these are random people who sell their services online.

To avoid this, you should hire editors that come recommended by people you trust. If that’s not practical, then you should at least get an editor to do a sample edit. Perhaps throw in some errors on purpose. If they catch those errors, as well as errors you didn’t put in deliberately, then they’re good.


#27 Be Careful With Your Brews

The tops of beer cans are gross. You should always wipe a beer can clean before drinking out of it, or pour the beer into a glass instead. They get all sorts of gross stuff over them during storage and transportation.

And don’t get me started on what I’ve seen inside beer coolers. Disgusting. The cans often get punctured and the beer flows out, attracting flies. The flies then, in turn, create maggots.


#26 An Exhibit Nightmare

Museum professional here. The exhibit you see on opening night is the worst version of the exhibit.

We fix minor details, clean up wires, and put on last coats of paint on items up to two weeks AFTER the opening night.

The member preview is even worse — people end up paying extra just to see something that’s not even fully done yet.

Go see it two to four weeks after opening night. Everything will look beautiful, and you won’t have to fight the crowds.


#25 No Need To Call The Plumber

Plumber here. There are so many things you are capable of fixing around your home. I can’t tell you how many toilets I’ve fixed, shower drains I’ve unclogged, and leaks I’ve stopped that took no tools or time at all. A 15-minute educational video on how most of the plumbing in your house works would probably lose me a good thousand dollars a month.


#24 Bitter Truth About Baggage Handling

Airport ramp agent here. You should know that your bags get aggressively manhandled. We can have 150 bags unloaded and reloaded in a 15-minute window. The workers have one task, and one task only: to get the bags from the cargo door all the way to the middle. How they get that done is pretty much up to them.

Bags with four wheels are the greatest thing since sliced bread since they just roll. Sports bags with no wheels are literally hurled down.


#23 An Expiration Estimate

A lot of use-by dates for food are arbitrary.

Often times, the salad my store sells goes bad before the expiration date, but the sandwiches stay good for a week or longer. Water bottles and honey all have expiration dates on, them despite the fact that they don’t really expire. Many fruits are pulled from shipments if they look bad, way before they get sent to the stores. Others are pulled a few days after prep, despite still being perfectly fine to eat.

All we can do is trust that the vendors kept the products up to certain standards.


#22 Always Read The Paperwork

I work in mortgages. Just so you know, the fees are not “hidden.”  It’s just that people often sign a bunch of paperwork without reading it.

Also, I have the discretion to waive a lot of those fees if the client just asks me. But some people would rather throw a fit than work something out with me.

If a client behaves like a decent human being, I may cut them a break. If the client would rather blow up the issue, I’ll charge the fees.


#21 Nurses Being Overworked And Understaffed

Nurses. We’re always understaffed, and our patient-to-nurse ratios suck. Why pay six RNs to take five patients each when you can pay five to take six, right?

Yeah, I’m sorry your Nana has been laying in her own excrement for 2.5 hours. It’s just that she’s 300 lbs, thrashes around constantly and tries to kick us when we move her. We’re also drowning with other patients, so it’s hard to get us all into the same room at the same time to work together on a difficult patient.

I don’t even care about patient satisfaction surveys anymore. I once had the father of a 29-year-old woman go off on me for taking 15 minutes to get her a Sprite. I told him straight up that I had another patient with a heart attack and was tending to more serious matters.

The thing that gets really annoying is when patients hit their call light for dumb reasons. The call light activates a very loud alarm, and a timer is recorded against us.


#20 The Reality Of Restaurant Workers

The people making your food are probably not healthy. They often can’t afford to take a day off or are made to feel like they can’t. One of my friends in the industry told me he’s never met a chef without a mental health or substance abuse problem. While I don’t think such is the case with every chef, I think it does occur more often than we think.


#19 If The Shoe Doesn’t Fit…

I work in the shoe industry and found out that many manufacturers would “fake” half sizes. For example, a shoe labeled 8.5 would really be an 8 or a 9. This happens a LOT, especially with private label brands that don’t want to pay extra for half-size molds. Retail buyers are typically aware of this but would turn a blind eye because it saved them costs. Always try on shoes before you buy them!


#18 Worry About Pilots, Not Planes

Planes are actually super safe. Virtually all crashes are caused by pilot error, which rarely occurs.

I will say though that when we inspect planes that have landed, we sometimes find issues that should have caused a major problem in the air, but didn’t.


#17 Plane Passengers and Cellphones

Pilot here.

Turning off your cellphone before lift-off actually doesn’t matter… for the most part.

Cellphones nowadays, like iPhones and Androids, don’t operate at the same frequency as the equipment we’re concerned with. It’s that one guy with the cell phone made in Mongolia in 1996 that’s going to ruin it for everyone.

We could take the time to inspect everybody’s cellphones, but it would take forever. It’s just more convenient to tell everybody to shut off their phones.


#16 Hungry In High-End Retail Clothing Stores

When customers ask if there’s more stock of a particular item in the back room, the answer is usually no. But we’ll go and “check” anyway so we can get the heck away from you (and eat a snack).


#15 Reselling Under Different Labels

A lot of clothing brands are owned by the same company, and they often just re-label their products to see if it sells better under a different name. They only apply small changes, like the tags or the buttons and zippers.


#14 Decaf For The Rude

If you’re unnecessarily rude to your barista, you’re probably going to get a decaf.


#13 A Poor Place For Pets

I was a manager at Petco for two years and left after seeing some pretty shocking things.

There’s a freezer in the back of every store that gets filled with dead animals. Hazardous waste services must come once a week to remove it. There’s also no time for employees to give proper care to the animals. They are considered products and are therefore just as disposable.

I’ve gotten into trouble several times. One time, I was penalized for refusing to make a sale to unworthy pet parents. I was also suspended twice for allowing my team to go over the vet budget to take care of sick animals.

It is the most horrific company to work for. Those who claim otherwise are still wearing their Petco-approved veils and have yet to face the reality of what they do.


#12 Bad Bar Behavior

When you ask your bartender to make your drink “strong” instead of paying for a double shot, the bartender will just reverse the order of how he or she makes your drink. The mix will go in first, then the liquor.

If you wish to order a drink with less mixer in it, order the drink “short.” The bartender will make it with the same amount of alcohol and less mixer than usual.

If you wish to order a drink with more mixer than normal, order the drink “tall.” The bartender will make it with the same amount of alcohol and more mixer than normal.


#11 Saliva for Spot Cleaning

I work in dry cleaning. One of the spotting agents we use is called digest, which is made of powdered cow stomach. The enzymes in the digest literally eat organic spots. It’s extremely effective.

You can make your own digest by applying saliva to food spots. I’ve removed blackberry jam from white cotton by just repeatedly spitting on the spot and scraping it clean. Warning: It takes a whole lot of time and saliva, and the process is disgusting… but it’s free!


#10 The Fake And Fired Employee

My old boss invented a fake employee who he would blame all the company’s mistakes on when speaking with complaining customers. Once in a while, he would tell the customers that he “fired” that imaginary employee just to please them, then later come up with a new imaginary employee.


#9 A Fishy Meal Choice

Fish are full of worms. Absolutely crawling with them. I’ve talked to many cannery slime-line employees who will now never eat fish again.


#8 Your Right To Sue Security

Security guards have no legal right to search your person or your belongings. They can ask you things like, “Could you empty your pockets,” or “Could you please open your purse,” but they cannot legally search your stuff without your consent. If you say no and they search your stuff anyways, you can sue the heck out of the company they work for.


#7 Bottled Beer Over Dirty Draught Lines

I’ve been a bartender for over five years, and I’ve seen some disgusting stuff come out of beer lines. Every time I go out, I wonder how often the bars I visit clean their lines.

I usually stick to bottled beer.


#6 Covering Up Car Stains

I detail cars. If you have some dirt or stains embedded in your carpets and it won’t come out, we spray paint it to cover it up.


#5 An Inaccurate But Flattering Reflection

I previously worked in women’s retail. Many changerooms have slanted mirrors that give a distorted reflection. It makes people look thinner and better in the clothes they are trying on. That’s why you often hear women say, “When I tried it at the shop it looked great, but now I’m not so sure.”

You can check to see if a mirror is angled by looking at it from the side. If the width between the wall and the mount of the mirror is larger at the bottom and smaller at the top, then it’s set at a slant!


#4 The Correct Way To Purchase A Computer

When you buy a computer, buy the cheapest laptop or desktop sold by a major retailer. The computers that cost double or triple the price are definitely not double or triple the speed.

Also, say no to anti-virus and avoid extra warranties unless you plan to be rough with your equipment. Buy it as it is and walk out paying only taxes.


#3 Filthy Fruit

Got a drink with a citrus wedge? Squeeze the fruit into your drink, then discard it. Fruit is filthy and rarely gets washed before it’s sliced up to use as a garnish.


#2 The Cold Truth

I work in restaurants. If people ask us to change the thermostat because it’s too hot or too cold, we only go and pretend to change it.


#1 The Tracking Of App Activity

App developer here. Every app you have can track your activity within it. Android and iOS apps can send information of everything you type while in the app.

If you’re in an app, never assume your information is private.