From cinemas to fast food joints, fancy restaurants to jewellers, behind the scenes in every industry there is a whole world of short cuts, secrets and protocols. Everywhere you typically visit in a day has a whole other side that only the employees are privy to, and that most customers would never even guess at. From the ultra gross to the pretty reassuring, here are some industry secrets that workers on Reddit would like you to know.

1. Leave your pets at home

Former aircraft fueler. Don’t check your pets in kennels. Especially in summer or winter. They are submitted to some very harsh environments, left on belt loaders in the sweltering heat right next to a running APU that’s loud enough to deafen human ears, let alone a dog’s. It’s terrible. I always feel so sorry for them.

American Airlines will destroy your luggage. They get overloaded on carts, fall off on the way to the plane, and are left there to get run over by tankers and yes, fuelers, and rained on, then dragged to the edge of the ramp to sit all night while you arrive at your destination and wonder where in the hell your bags are.

If your departure is delayed, 90% of the time it’s us (the fueler). Look out the window to the right side if it’s a small plane, left side if it’s a really big plane. If there’s a truck sitting under the wing, we’re the reason you’re late. Sorry.


2. A meddling middleman

The kind donations people give hoping they go directly to the clients in shelters actually end up at the Salvation Army or Goodwill to be resold (even though we’re instructed to tell them that won’t be the case). This is done before the clients are even given the chance to decide if they want some of the donated stuff.


3. Closing means closing

I’m a server. No matter how much we insist it’s “okay” that you are keeping the entire restaurant open after we’ve closed, please know we are 100% lying. We will get fired if we deviate from anything other than pure delight that you are keeping us from going home. We dread it. Please don’t believe us.


4. All that glitters is not diamonds

I used to work in jewellery. Most of the prettiest gemstones are also very affordable. Tanzanite is a beautiful purple and looks nicer than amethyst. Topaz comes in lots of colours, including a pretty blue colour which can be as nice as aquamarine.

Opals aren’t as brightly rainbow-hued as they look in pictures – remember, they’re trying to sell you something shiny, so they edit the photos.


Credit: Unsplash

5. Bulk buying troubles

If you’re someone who purchases bulk nuts, grains, etc. Just know that those bins are probably rarely cleaned, and even when they are “cleaned”, odds are they were just rinsed out/wiped down to look clean.

I used to be a bulk buyer at Whole Foods Market and when I took over our bulk department had no cleaning logs or sanitizing procedure. The bins had moths/insect colonies and mould in them. Our store was opened nearly 5 years prior.


6. It’s all the same stuff

I’m a dentist. Here’s the lowdown on toothpaste. As long as it has fluoride they are all basically the same. When I was in dental school the Colgate lady came by and said that everything that says Colgate Total on it is all exactly the same, the only difference is the packaging. So whether it says whitening, or gum protection, or whatever else it is all exactly the same.

The exception is sensitivity toothpaste typically does have an extra active ingredient. KNO3, which helps with sensitivity. Don’t ever feel obligated to buy the expensive toothpaste because you think it will be better for your teeth, just buy whatever you like best.


7. Fresher is better

Stay away from pre-marinated meat, it’s usually going off so it gets taken off the shelf, marinated and repackaged so you can’t tell. Only the premium shaped and sized fruit and veg make it into big chains, the rest gets sold at markets wholesale to small stores cheap, hence they can survive (struggle though). What doesn’t get bought goes in the bin, waste or used as fertiliser.

From my experience, roughly 30% would head this way. Best before dates don’t really mean that much. It just means the food isn’t as great as it could be but still very edible. Makes you throw it out and buy more.


8. The reviews ruse

A huge portion of online reviews, ratings, social media presence, etc that you see for any given company are fake, paid for, or done by multiple accounts controlled by us. This includes a company’s Glassdoor page (fake reviews about how great it is to work there so that the million negative reviews don’t crush their page).


9. Keep away from the back

Butcher/seafood department secrets. The best/freshest stuff is in the front. We want the display to look good but we want to sell you the older stuff so we grab from the back. You can ask for the stuff from the front to getter it fresher. If you ask us recommendations, we always upsell. If a 4.99/lb cut does as well as a 7.99/lb cut, I’ll push that one.

Ask us for options and we’ll give you a choice including the cheaper variant. We put more on the scale than you asked for and then say “is a little over okay” knowing you’re too socially awkward to argue it. Ask for exactly an amount and you’ll get it. We aren’t going to sell you anything bad, a return customer is our goal, but we have a bunch of tricks to keep you happy while padding our daily profits.


10. The gift that never keeps on giving

Most gift cards never get redeemed. I can’t speak the whole variety of gift cards, but my former employer was an online gift shop with close to 80 million USD in revenue. Half their business came from selling experiences as a gift you could give to someone, think rafting, skydiving, or testing a Ferrari on a race track for an hour.

Overall, 70% of these experiences were never redeemed, meaning that in 70 % of the cases, each sale netted the company a 100% margin. Once the two years redemption deadline had passed, all that money belonged to the company. Never buy gift cards folks!


11. Opportunity is calling

If you have a hard time finding a job, apply to work at a call centre. They are always hiring every 3 months because people quit or get fired over violating some rule no one remembers. They will take almost anyone. I got yelled at all the time for wanting to turn down people who were poor hires. If you can dress yourself and survive a 5-minute interview you’ll have a job. The job will suck, but you’ll have one.


12. Skimming off the top

I used to work at Hollywood as parking tenant for the clubs & heart of Hollywood. I use to wave a flag to get cars into the parking lot. The parking lot will make $7000-10000 a day. When I turned manager, there are secrets to make A LOT of money. Every car we are supposed to charge $10, but I charge everyone $20-$30 as a matter of routine.

The parking lot could fit over 1000 cars. It was right next to Jimmy Kimmel and Dragon Movie Theater. Every day I left with $300-500 of cash. I did this for about 2 years. I spent all that dirty money travelling the world. I was only 20. Also, I did not learn this myself, it was taught to me by my former manager. Easiest money I ever made in my life.


13. A neater way to drink

When I was being trained as a bartender I learned if you order a shot it’s usually 1-1.5 oz but if you order a drink neat (same thing just in a normal glass) it’s usually 2 ounces. The reasoning is because people doing shots are doing them to get f***ed up and have to be paced whereas when you get a drink neat it’s to enjoy the alcohol.


14. Tip the front desk

Hotel front desk agents often have carte blanche access to change rates, room types, etc. as long as you book direct. Oftentimes we just upgrade guests that we like. If the hotel isn’t sold out, this can (CAN) get you a lot of free upgrades. Tip your front desk agent after check-in, act like it’s just because, $5 is enough.

Go to your room and within a few minutes make up anything regarding the room that’s simply a preference thing (too close or too far from the elevator, want a different view, etc.) and kindly ask for a different room. Best case scenario, they upgrade your room type, worst case scenario you establish yourself as a very pleasant guest and they’ll be very attentive to you for only 5 dollars, which is great if you plan on being a regular.


15. Swap out your shampoo

I used to work in the hair care industry. There is only one kind of detergent in shampoos. One. The rest is thickening agents, perfumes, colour etc. So the expensive shampoo you are buying is just the same stuff as the super-premium top-shelf stuff.

Oh, and if your shampoo seems to stop working after a while… that’s because the agents, perfumes, etc have built up in your hair. Change brands for a bit and the new one will rinse the old crud out. (Note: this is for regular shampoos only. There are two kinds of dandruff shampoo detergents. They work about the same as each other.)


16. Custodians with clearance

I’m a custodian. There are four people/departments you should be nice to in an office building: the administrative assistants (secretaries), the maintenance crew, the security staff (if your office building has them) and the custodians. All of us have a surprising amount of access in that building, and sometimes we know more than the higher-ups do.

As for custodians themselves, we don’t just mop floors all day (as commonly seen in movies or TV). In fact, the two most time-consuming tasks on my route are emptying trash cans and cleaning bathrooms.


17. Went bad on the way

The meat you buy at the grocery store (or anywhere, really) could very well have been over temperature and going bad for much of its transit. When refrigerated trailers malfunction and the temperatures rise to dangerous levels, the receiver of the load does not care as long as we can fix it and get it back down to the billed temperature by delivery.


18. Outsmarting the ants

Idk if this a “secret”, maybe more of a pest control tidbit: when dealing with ants, avoid using Raid! Unless you find the source of the activity, and can get the whole colony at once, it won’t help in the long run. Essentially, it takes just long enough to kill them that the escaping/dying ants are sending signals back along the trail that danger is near and to select a new queen, and move a whole new colony nearby, and new breeding cycles, potentially doubling the problem.

It’s called ‘budding’. Of course, we suggest calling your neighbourhood pest control, but some things I learned there: Windex works GREAT for ants. The ammonia in Windex (also: Clorox wipes, not that any of us have an abundance of those), erases the pheromone trails ants follow to and from the colony! So, especially if you notice those few, lone ants: those are scout ants, they are laying the pheromones. Spray it down, especially if you notice a source. Wipe it down. It’ll kill them on contact.


19. Don’t ask an employee

Don’t walk into a Home Depot, Lowe’s, Menard’s, etc and ask for actual trade (electrical, plumbing, building) advice. We’re retail workers. We’re not dissimilar from Wal-Mart or Target employees. You don’t walk into Wal-Mart and ask for dinner advice; you don’t walk into Kohl’s and ask for fashion advice; why would you ask how to wire up something or plumb something at one of our stores? Free advice is worth precisely what you pay for it.

20. Enter through the exit

At electronic stores such as best buy, if you dont intend on buying anything but are looking around or other nonpurchase reasons, walk into the store via the exit door as opposed to the entrance door. The entrance door has a counter that counts how many customers come in vs how many items were sold to customers.

The more customers that enter, the higher the sales expectations and requirements are. By walking into the exit, you are not inflating customer numbers and in turn make it slightly easier for sales teams to meet their quota.


21. You should be alarmed

Burglar alarms are pretty much useless. You’re better off with a Ring camera and a cell phone to call 9-1-1. Fire alarms are only marginally better. The problem lies therein with the alarm company. Alarm activated? Alarm company has a set time frame to “respond” to it. That’s pull up the customer’s information, call them and try to get in touch with someone.

Then they call the dispatch non-emergency line and a call-taker processes the call. I’ve seen alarm drop times and officer dispatch times as far as 10-15 minutes apart.


22. Avoid the arcade

Don’t spend money on arcade places and get away from claw machines or any other game of that kind. All redemption (tickets) and toy or prize machines are programmable and there’s a very high chance that is programmed to give always the least amount of tickets. The claw machines will always have no force to grab anything and they give one prize every 100 plays or so.

Also, that plushie from the claw machine or that little toy you got by trading those 20 tickets you earned by spending 5 dollars playing is actually stupidly cheap, like, they buy them from china for like 1000 for 2 dollars.


23. Not built to last

New construction. That $3k/$4k “luxury apartment” you’re renting is slapped together in a rush just like everything else is. Also, if you’re on the 3rd floor or above, you have water bottles filled with urine stuffed inside your walls because the elevators are typically finished last.


24. Always check with your doctor

Hospitals and surgeons knowingly used reprocessed medical devices in surgery without patient consent & bill the patient/insurance the cost of a non-reprocessed device. Reprocessed devices are normally at least ~50% cheaper for the hospital to purchase, have many problems, and can’t 100% say there is no biological material remaining on the device.

I’ve been in surgeries where these devices fail, cause problems etc. adding a lot of additional time to the procedure and they often have to open a second device which they could charge for as well. I always tell my family and friends getting surgery to make sure you’re adamant about requesting all-new, no reprocessed, devices for surgery.


25. Check yourself before you serve yourself

Self serve soda machines: if you unscrew the nozzle of a sprite/ginger ale/clear soda, and run a napkin around them, the napkin should stay white. If the napkin turns a brownish colour, it means the soda machine hasn’t been cleaned in a while.

Also, there’s probably mould in the ice chute where you can’t see. Unless it’s on a documented schedule to be cleaned at least once a quarter, it never occurs to anyone other than the manager if they even knew it needed to be done at all.


26. Say yes to the dress… if it fits

This isn’t exactly a secret, but I’ve worked in bridal on and off and this tip can save you 50% of the total cost of “the dress.” When you get a dress, buy one you love that also already fits. Don’t order it before you try it on even if someone “fits” you for it. Bridal alterations average about half the cost of the dress, sometimes more if it needs lots of alterations.

So that dress you found on sale for $800 that just needs to be taken in might end up costing you $1200-$1600. It’s a much better idea to get a $1000 dress that doesn’t need any work. But if you’re under 5’4 and not planning on wearing heels, the dress will most likely have to be hemmed regardless.


27. Military money

I worked for an aerospace company that makes switches, grips, and wheels for different aircrafts. We would charge the US military an absolute f***ton of money for our parts while selling the same parts to giant corporations like Boeing and Airbus for much less, like 30 – 50% less.

The purchase orders were consistently 5 and 6 figures so they were overcharging by tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands of dollars very often. It was pretty surreal having my taxes deducted from my paycheck every month and then seeing the company I was working for get my tax money by selling unjustifiably high priced parts to the US military.


28. Creepy crawlies at the movies

Cinemas have bugs living in the soft furnishings that eat the tiny leftovers we miss when cleaning. Even with vacuuming, we can’t get the tiny pieces of food or a spilt drink. Cockroaches and other small critters aren’t easy to spot in the dark and they hide when the lights are on. Think about that next time you get comfortable.


29. Not a game of chance

I was a casino slot technician for 10 years. The outcome is decided as soon as you hit the button, from the reel stops all the way through the bonuses. This means when you play an interactive bonus where you “select” things by touching a screen or something like that, your choices don’t matter it already knows what it’s going to show you.

When you see where everything was after the round is over, it’s a trick to make you think you could have chosen differently.


30. Television bureaucracy

Advertising revenue is more important to Television Networks than viewership, awards, or positive reviews. In fact, viewership, awards, and positive reviews are just tools to get more ad dollars. If a show doesn’t attract advertisers, loses advertisers, or attracts the wrong audience demographics for their advertisers there is a high likelihood that the show will be cancelled (even if it is critically acclaimed and popular with viewers).


31. The price is right

Prices on items that don’t sell well don’t necessarily go down to reduce merchandise – they go up sometimes. I work at Gap and we’ve had these ugly a** sweaters in since June. Originally when they came in, they were priced at $11 but hidden under the $25 marker (where no one would think to look for a sweater in JUNE) Sometime in early August they were “marked down” to $10.50.

A few people bought some and thought nothing of it because the original price was marked over with the clearance sticker. Today, I had to put new sale price tags on them. Guess how much? $25.99. So in about 3 months time, those ugly a** sweaters went from $11 to $25.


32. Not so secure

I’m in Cybersecurity and deal mostly with the largest companies and governments in the world. Every one of them has been breached, to carrying degrees, by the Russians and Chinese [governments]. Almost daily. It’s not a matter of if they’ll get in It’s a matter of how long they’ll be there, and how much damage they’ll do, before you find them.


33. Befriend your delivery driver

Pizza delivery: Try to order from the same 1 or 2 places all the time and always tip 2-5$. You can get a reputation with drivers by your third order. If you can manage a 5$ tip each time, drivers will break laws to get you your damn pizza.

Don’t be surprised when your pies start hitting your door in under half an hour and your toppings get heavy. Also, splitting toppings on pizzas costs nothing extra. So, next time get 4 toppings on your 2 topping special.


34. Double your sugar

Idk if all bars and restaurants do this, but if you complain that your sugary cocktail isn’t strong enough and demand a new one, we’ll offer you a double.

If that’s not good enough for you because you don’t want to pay for the double, you just want a single but with more booze than a single, odds are we’ll take the drink below the bar, pour a minuscule bit of booze down your straw, and give it back to you. That way the first sip is very strong and you can’t possibly complain. We’ll also laugh about you in the back.


35. Washing your money away

Worked for a high-end appliance company ( washers, dryers, etc..) and they are designing new units to not last more than 5-7 years. That’s why your grandparents have had their stoves and fridge last them 50 years, because they were built to last and didn’t have all the electronics in them. If you ever have to go buy a new laundry unit or appliance, buy something used that’s at least 6-8 years old.

Also, front-loading washing machines, the bellow (rubber seal) collects water and will get mould and mildew, no way to prevent this, you will have to buy a new one every couple years which is $135 plus $100 at the bare minimum for a service tech to come to install it


36. Trust your nurses

If your nurse pinches her lips or just nods absentmindedly when you mention your doctor’s name, you might want to get a second opinion. We can’t ethically tell you your doctor sucks…silence speaks volumes. Likewise, if a nurse tells you that your doctor is great, the best surgeon, brilliant, etc., trust him/her. We don’t give false compliments.


37. A change at the wheel

Car manufacturers are freaking out about Tesla, Rivian, etc. No one knows how to adapt their existing business model to compete with the successful EV startups as most manufacturers are hampered by decades of institutional bureaucracy and powerful dealership associations/lobbies. Actually, dealerships might be the death of the auto industry as we know it today, which wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.


38. Save your make-up money

Beauty industry for 20+ years… nothing at Sephora is worth it. Buy your face wash, sunscreen and moisturizer at a drug store, and get your retinol rx. You really don’t need anything else. Just be consistent with your routine and you’ll be fine. YouTube/IG beauty gurus are paid to sell you things. That concealer isn’t amazing, that powder isn’t a miracle holy grail.


39. Unsanitary ice cream

The reason McDonald’s ice cream machine is always ‘broken’ is because the machine is designed to have a maintenance cleaning every fortnight. This requires emptying and dumping the remaining ice cream mixture and a few hours to properly clean it.

The process isn’t advanced but you wouldn’t want just anyone doing it, plus if it’s done incorrectly the machine will tell you to do it again. Most likely your local store doesn’t want to bother, so they say it’s broken.


40. Where your blood ends up

The American Red Cross deliberately collects an excess amount of 40-80k units of blood, monthly. Not because they want to always have a reserve ( after any big crisis, there’s always lines for donors). They do this because they have a 15-year contract to sell the plasma (of aged blood) to a specific pharma company that I worked for.

The blood is able to be sold as a “non injectible” product after 42 days. If you want to donate blood, contact your local hospital and all of they have or can recommend a local program.


41. It’s all the same bread

I work at an industrial bakery and being brand loyal is f***ing stupid. For the majority of white breads and wheat breads (clover valley, great value, Laura lynn, etc.) It’s all the same doughs, we just switch the bags. The only exception is Wonder bread, they use their own recipe. Also, we don’t run Sara Lee (who in my opinion makes the best quality bread).

That being said, I still know people that will tell me I’m wrong because they can taste the difference. I just smile and nod, I’m not gonna tell them where I work and ruin their whole bread belief system!


42. Pitied by the caddie

Caddies hate bad golfers and will help them out tremendously. Lol, I have seen caddies kick golf balls many many times so the player will have a better view of the green. So if you suck at golf and all of a sudden you had a great round more than likely your caddie had something to do with it without you even knowing. Like a certain former president…


43. Bringing the teacher home with you

I’m a nanny. So many daycare workers become nannies when parents who are tired of their kids getting sick or getting less attention offer their favourite classroom teacher a higher pay to be a private nanny. Anyway, there are always kids who LOVE craft time and cooperate for those footprint/handprint crafts.

Then there are the kids who hate it and it’s like wrestling an alligator to get them to let you paint their hand and push it into a piece of paper. If a kid hates it then we just let the kid who loves it paint their hand twice. The art that you have on your fridge probably isn’t even your child’s hand or footprint.


44. Not quite medical research

I work in the blood industry (for medical/research/manufacture use.) When you donate, your Red Blood Cells and most Platelets will actually be used for medical purposes, but about 85% of the Plasma donated will be sold to makeup companies and other manufacturers. Roughly 20% of Platelets will also be sold to manufacturers.

Your White Blood Cells will either be sold for research or discarded since they’re basically useless for medical or manufacture purposes. Overall, about 50% of your blood will be used for treatments, and the rest will go to makeup/manufacturing and research companies. I’m not saying don’t donate, it still helps people, but it’s just something nobody really thinks about when you have that needle in your arm.


45. Staying hydrated

I did action sport and Motorsport photography for about 20 years. One thing nobody knew about at the time was that all the energy drink cans you see with winners were either water or empty. No athlete actually drinks red bull or monster energy. I think this is pretty well known now but at the time my friends and family had no clue until I brought them a sealed monster can with water inside.


46. Many hands on deck

I work for a very well known shipping company… Each package shipped is handled by a lot more people than you might think. Things like “fragile” stickers or “this side up” arrows don’t mean a damn thing. Your package will inevitably be tossed, shaken and flipped around. However, if you ship in a box that says something like “live fish” or “sensitive medical equipment” your package will be treated much nicer.


47. Teacher games

Not really a secret but some teachers put students who have a crush on each other on the same group or pair. I’m stuck here for 200 days, I wanna see some drama. And during grading season, we sometimes deduct points on the high honour students and give them to the struggling students.

48. Ivy league privileges

Go to the most competitive college you can get into. Once you’re in, big-name colleges don’t want you to drop out because it f***s up their numbers. The hardest schools to get into are the easiest ones to graduate from because of the supports that they offer. If you can get into an Ivy, GO THERE.


49. You’re covered

I do emergency roadside for a large USA roadside club. You probably know the one. Guess what? Your membership doesn’t cover your car. It covers you. Have that card in your wallet? The one your grandparents renew as a Christmas gift every year or whatever? If riding shotgun with your friend and THEY catch a flat, call us and I’ll come change it.

As long as you’re with the vehicle when we arrive, I couldn’t give a quarter s*** who the car belongs to. We won’t check registration unless it’s a lockout and even then usually only if something’s fishy – and for that we have an extremely well-honed sense if you’re trying to get into someone’s car illegitimately or not.


50. Airport perks

Airline worker here, specifically passenger service. Ask anybody for s*** and, if we are in a good mood, we can give it to you for free. Better seats? Ez. Want to sit together? Sure. Aisle or window? I think we got a couple of extra seats that we can arrange for you. Overweight? A couple extra shouldn’t hurt, lemme just slap on this heavy tag for weights and balances. Rebooking? Well, there’s a fee, but I think I can find a way to let that go.

Literally, if you are nice, and we are able to, we might be able to arrange that for you. Also, we have the ability to kick anyone out of the flight. That includes the flight attendants, the captain, the gate agent, the ticket counter agent, hell, even the ramp agent if he/she sees that you are a problem for the flight. Just be nice in general. You don’t want a felony.


51. Natural doesn’t mean good

Just because a plant product (like fruits and veggies) is labelled as organic doesn’t mean they don’t use sprays – pesticides, herbicides, etc. It just means they are restricted to using organic-grade sprays that are more expensive but will still do bad things if you misuse them. In the same vein, a sticker on food that calls it “non-GMO” doesn’t actually mean anything because it’s not a legal requirement to have those.

The FDA has an official definition of what GMO plants are, but the “non-GMO” sticker is a voluntary thing and is a recommendation. Those companies aren’t held to any standards when marking something as GMO or not and typically use that label as a marketing thing. That’s why a huge number of brands use it. There’s no downside and no one’s going to stop them.

52. Multiple madness

If you’re at the supermarket and see a deal that says “2 for $4” when the typical price per item is like $2.50, check and see if it says “must buy multiples of two.” If it doesn’t, then the items are just on sale for $2 and you don’t gotta buy 2. I’m not sure if this is common knowledge, but none of my friends knew this.


53. Same stuff, different casing

I work doing warranty repair on various electronics. TVs, Printers, Laptops, Consoles, Desktops, Servers. The technical term is “white labelling” but the idea is that everything you buy electronics-based is made by the same 3 companies.

It’s not in house by the big ones – once you take off the fancy plastic outsides with the “Samsung” “Sanyo” or “Vizio” logo, the power regulator is