This article is based on the AksReddit question “What dirty little secret does your profession hide that the consumer should know?”
[Source can be found at the end of the article]
I work in a small town bakery.
No, that eclair wasn’t made yesterday. The shell was cooked, then frozen two weeks ago. The custard inside is made from a mix called kustard. The chocolate comes from our supplier in a big bucket.
If you’re lucky, I put it all together sometime this week though. My boss says to tell you it was made yesterday to make you feel better.
The same or similar can be said for all of our products.
I am a peddler of lies.
Retail. It’s not out the back. We already know it’s not out the back. But since you asked we’ll “look”, but just walk out the back and have a drink of water, or that pee we’ve been holding in, or check our phone. You’ll thank us for trying, but we didn’t really do anything.
I work for a large organization. At work we have recycling, trash, and compost waste bin options. I work until closing and every night I watch the janitor dump all three trash cans into one big one that he wheels around.
Former research intern at Student Affairs for a major university here:
If you were a student, you got monitored for everything. If you swiped your student ID card at the gym, it wasn’t just to check you were enrolled — it got labelled on your record that you went there and could be used to investigate if your grades went up or down compared to people who didn’t go to the gym. Same for advisors, the pool, tutoring, career services, etc.
The fact that this was going on wasn’t technically a secret but I don’t think students ever really pieced together why they were always swiping their ID cards. It was for a good cause (improving services) and there were strict privacy rules protecting student data, but I think a lot of college students would get creeped out to know that the school can and might be tracking their every move.
Used to work in a bank call center. For me at least, and I imagine for other people I worked with, hearing an angry customer say “I’d like to speak to a supervisor” was the greatest thing ever. No longer my problem!
Used to work at a famous restaurant chain, and during dinners we would get slammed. So in prep for this we would cook a grill full of chicken before hand, then keep it in a metal container with a little water to stop it from drying out. Then when an order came, we just take out a piece, dry it on the grill, then send it out. Sometimes the chicken would be 5 hours old.
Used to work at an electronics store. If there were only a limited amount items available for a special deal going, the staff would usually hide them in the back for themselves and buy them at the end of their shift. This was big on Black Friday too. You could just lie to the customer and say someone online must have made an order to pick it up from the store.
Duvet covers in your hotel room are generally only washed once a month. And I’m not talking motel 6, I’m talking about full service fancy hotels with $400 a night rooms.
When you bring in your broken electronics, all we do is Google how to fix it, then we fix it and charge for it, but you could totally just get the tools and do it yourself, unless you really don’t want to break warranty stickers.
Lots of pastors often feel very alone, isolated, unable, unwanted, taken advantage of, and generally not super happy. Pastoral ministry is HARD and WILL wear on your emotions and life if you let it.
Yes, my wife and I fight.
Yes, our kids aren’t perfect despite our best efforts.
No, I’m not always as prepared for my sermon as I should be.
Yes, I think about quitting from time to time.
We’re people just like you.
Used to work at a laser tag arena when I was in High School. Sometimes we would go on the computer that runs the game and give random people power ups such as invulnerability. Like, if you asked me to give you invulnerability for the entire game I just might, depending on how bored I was.
If your dog has a bite history or resource guarding issues and you fail to disclose it to me or try to minimize it, I will tell literally every dog walker I meet to avoid taking you on as a client. We all know how to deal with aggressive dogs; no one wants to deal with a terrible owner.
The chef nudges and arranges your food by hand, if something topples on the way to you it’s discreetly pushed back where it came from, and when we pack your food to go it sometimes touches our hands a bit. If you saw it happening you’d have a fit, but it’s just a reality of working in food.
We also touch your silverware and straws, and some servers even touch the upper part of your glass before you ever get to it. If I give you a fresh fork, I make a whole show of carefully lifting it by the very edge from a nicely polished silverware tray, but before that I probably carried it in a little bouquet of other forks in my grubby server fist.
I wash my hands like 1000 times per shift because Im not a barbarian, and you aren’t going to get sick from a split second of fingers on your food, but people seem to think that their food is never touched by hands before it’s given to them and that’s just unrealistic.
We honestly have no dirty little secrets. As a matter of fact, we will zealously guard at our circular desks, in the courts, and even with our own lives, if we had to — YOUR dirty little secrets. NO ONE gets to know what you read. Not without the clearest and most compelling of court orders, and even then, there’s not much info we can share: our software permanently purges your borrowing information after each transaction, anyway.
The government might be able to monitor your phone calls, web browsing, and emails, but they can’t fucking see what you’re checking out and reading!!
I worked in print media in my first career. A paginator / copy editor makes everything fit on the page, and that includes writing headlines and captions for photos to fit. Evert wonder why the photo caption is so often a word for word repeat of the second or third paragraph of the article? It was a copy-paste job by someone working to a deadline I didn’t know more about the photo than the article already says, and doesn’t want to reword something for the sake of not repeating the copy. That’s why.
Columnists often get to write their own headlines, and reporters can give input –I once had a reporter beg me to use the famous ‘Headless body found at topless bar’ headline, but it didn’t fit and did not conform to the publication’s editorial standards. Still, most don’t bother.
Used to work as an aluminum railing installer for big commercial and residential high rise projects. Sometimes guys would run out of the long bolts you’re supposed to use and use short ones instead. Also sometimes the wedge anchor would strip out and it would get glued in to the hole with caulking.
Pro tip: if you’re on a high-rise balcony, don’t stress test it. Leaning on it a bit is fine but don’t expect it to stop you running in to it full tilt. If it’s done right you shouldn’t even be able to move it with a truck, but… you’ll never know when the guys ran out of 3 1/2″ wedge anchors and started using 2 1/4″ (usually it’s on the higher floors, too). This especially applies to top-mounted railings.
Retail, as much as our managers tell us to make the customer satisfied our number one goal is to get you to sign up for the credit card. The company makes most of its money through the interest it charges you.
If you’re stuck behind us don’t get mad. We’re going as fast as we can.
When we flash our brights at you, that means you’re good to merge in front of us.
Give us plenty of space. We can’t stop nearly as fast as you can.
Please don’t be dicks to us. We’re tired, underpaid, and probably haven’t seen our family or have been home for either weeks or months.
The biggest objection I hear to being an organ donor is that they don’t want to be seen as spare parts. But we generally don’t even look to see if you are a donor until after we have done everything we can do for you and you are brain dead.
Also, I have no idea what insurance you have in the hospital unless I go out of my way to look it up. Billing/social work deals with that shit. My job is the same. Treat you for your illness. Occasionally I find out about your lack of insurance due to things my employer does to help you once you leave the hospital (ie get you in a special program to pay for your meds, give you samples of your meds to take home, etc).
Most people know now that models and celebrities in magazines get “photoshopped” to look younger and “better”. This happens in movies too. Not as often and not to as great an extent but it does happen. Makeup can’t take care of everything all the time.
I work in a primary care medical office. Every single day we have a nice catered lunch from different drug companies, in hopes that the physician will start prescribing whatever medication they are pushing that day. The funny thing is, the doctors don’t even eat the food & the rest of us take it back to our desks without listening to the drug rep’s presentation since we don’t have anything to do with prescriptions. We are booked out for lunches until October and each lunch costs $300 on average for our office of 20 people. I feel guilty about it when my own family has struggled to pay for prescriptions in the past. This is what your $700 monthly prescription is paying for!
You know that chicken salad that’s made in store? Yeah, that’s old rotisserie chicken meat that didn’t sell. Also, the people stocking the shelves at night usually might not have the time to properly rotate the shelves, meaning the only the newest product is in the front. Be sure to check the expiration date if you get an item from the back.
I worked in recruitment. Yes, we google you. But it’s not so nefarious, whatever is found might be grounds for a conversation, but it’s really the resume that gets you the first interview or not.
I currently work for a multinational rental car company. If you book a one way trip, we will give you the shittiest available car in the garage. Basically anything the branch doesn’t want. This includes cars with missed damage. If the other branch catches it, they have to eat the cost, so they’ll probably blame it on you. Don’t trust when the agent at pick up tells you that the damage you point out “isn’t something we’d worry about”. Take pictures of the whole car plus any damage you see before you drive off the lot. And always get the damage waiver. Always. I don’t care if you have good insurance, we will pursue you for any damage we find. If you refuse to provide us with insurance info, there’s a good chance we’ll just charge your credit card.
If you ever hear someone say “Have a Disney day!” That basically means fuck you. Also, if you think you can steal something from the store or act like a complete idiot. You will probably be stopped and pulled off-site the second you are on a tram of line. There was a teen who though he could pick-pocket a pair of ears from a stroller and ended up in a little cell as security call his parents.
I work in marketing. There has been a trend in recent years of moving away from traditional market research & marketing techniques – to instead leveraging behavioural science to unlock the consumer’s subconscious mind. Your subconscious drives 95% of decision making in store, so as a brand, you need to ensure you are developing plans that speak to this part of the brain.
I write website content for a living. Many professional websites are written by people who have never even heard of half the services they’re writing about. An insulation site was recently launched, and guess who wrote all the “professional” information within it: me, an English major who’s never thought twice about insulation. I sprinkled in industry terms I found through a ten-second Google search I conducted between handfuls of popcorn.
I love what I do, and I take pride in it, but sometimes I’m struck by a sense of guilt when I think that there are people out there who might take the hastily researched information I crank out as absolute gospel. Please don’t, people. I try to be accurate, but mostly I’m just trying to use selected buzzwords enough times to get the site to rank on Google.
Unless you have a small business, you have to do the taxes for an estate, or you have a rental property, you can most likely figure out the forms yourself and file them on your own, or, under a certain income threshold, you can go through TurboTax for free.
Still we get middle aged folks paying $200-300 just for the simplicity of having us do them instead. It’s mind-boggling.
Remember that time you went to that dodgy site, got your laptop riddled with viruses, then claimed it ‘just started acting funny’ and the IT guy believed you? No, he didn’t. He also knows exactly what site you went to.
We also know that you know exactly how those games got on your work laptop. We know your computer didn’t randomly lock you out, you put your password in wrong three times.
Yes, you did open that attachment from an unknown source. Your files didn’t vanish, you deleted them. You dropped your laptop. You let your kid play on it at home and we can see your entire browsing history even if you delete the local cache.
A new car built by my company leaves somewhere traveling at 60 mph. The rear differential locks up. The car crashes and burns with everyone trapped inside.
Now, should we initiate a recall?
Take the number of vehicles in the field, A, multiply by the probable rate of failure, B, multiply by the average out-of-court settlement, C. A times B times C equals X.
If X is less than the cost of a recall, we don’t do one.
I was a call center agent for a cable/internet provider in the US, trust me when I tell you that if you talk to a supervisor or manager, they actually are not the supervisor but just another agent on a different line. Real supervisors will NEVER talk to you.
Worked at a gym. Members would threaten to call the health dept. If our spa was dirty, they would. The health dept. officer, who was a member, would come to work out, tell me to tell maintenance to balance the pH. I would tell maintenance. He would balance the pH. Not bad, and pretty efficient, but there aren’t officers with badges storming in shutting things down. (And we really did disinfect the machines every week day. No sarcasm).
Some gyms have one payment tier. The others have sales people with many options. You can tell which is which by how happy they are to see you. If they’re happy, and glad to show you around, they’re sales. Keep saying that you can’t afford that. When they get up to “ask their manager” steal the presentation folder they were reading from and look at the options for yourself. Fuck closers.