Insiders Reveal The 'Dirty Secrets' Of Their Industries

Reddit commenters tell what really goes on inside their industries.

When you spend a few years working in a certain industry, you discover some dirty secrets that would have horrified you when you were applying (and still horrify the friends you tell to this day).

A recent Reddit thread asked people to name the "dirty little (or big) secret" about their industry they thought people ought to know.

Some of these stories might even help you save some money from businesses that try to trick you.

Since we can't verify the identify of the Redditors or their employees, some stories should be taken with a grain of salt.

Here are some of the best dirty industry secrets that came out:

Big chain bookstores throw massive amounts of books away. Via Reddit user allosaur:

Mass market paperbacks are cheap to manufacture and get shipped out in huge volumes. For some publishers (particularly ones that put out new mysteries or romances quarterly) when the bookstore wants it off the shelf to make room for something new, it's just not worth the cost of taking them back and finding someone else to sell it ... So as a bookstore employee I spent hours ripping the front and back covers off of books, then tearing the book at least in half so that no one could read it later. The covers get sent back to the publishers, and the books that could have been donated to a library or school get put in a locked recycling container out back. A manager had to come back and check my work to make sure the books were not left intact.

I almost cried the first time I had to rip up a load of kid's books (in a city with high child poverty rates and underfunded schools)."

Funeral Parlors
If you have a strong stomach, it's worth reading this full (and graphic) comment from Redditor arrghbrians who argues that the mortuary business convinces many people to go through incredibly expensive procedures that aren't really needed.

From the answer:

" most states, the law only requires embalming if you are transporting a body across state lines or are not planning to inter for more than 72 hours and/or having a public viewing. It has not a single thing to do with public health. It's a cash cow, plain and simple. It is barbaric, costly, and does not keep the body from deteriorating. But we'll tell you just about anything you need to hear to get you to agree to it."

Via Reddit user ShesMyJuliet:

"In the horticulture industry don't eat anything without washing it and (when) buying fresh plants ie tomato plants always wait at least 14 days before eating from the plant. Most with holding periods are around 14 days, the shit we spray for everything is quite nasty. We have regular blood tests to make sure we don't die pretty much."

From Reddit user geekmuseNU:

"I work on a farm. When they say you should wash your produce thoroughly at home, they're not joking."

Oil Change
At a national chain like Jiffy Lube, there's going to be a huge variety in management and the level of service. However, according to Reddit user jmhoneycutt8, who claims to be a former manager, half of the services offered or charged for don't even get completed. There's incentive to tack on services that there isn't time to complete because employees' hours are determiend by "average ticket sales."

The thread has many more horror stories.

Rates are not as set in stone as people think. From Reddit user schlotzy4:

"After working in the travel industry I can tell you that hotel room rates are often not fixed prices. If guests come to the front desk and ask the price we generally start at the high end. Most people accept this as fact and pay up. However, if a customer is hesitant or threatens to walk out we can sometimes drop the price to keep them there. Often there is a bottom line price set by the owners- we can't go any lower than that or we lose money."

And be wary of third party sites. Via Reddit user paintedroses:

"NEVER BOOK THROUGH A THIRD PARTY (Expedia,, Priceline, Orbitz, etc.). Hotels overbook all the time, and your reservation is the first to go in a "sold out" situation. Third parties guarantee you a room, but not necessarily the room you booked or even a room at the hotel. We can "walk" you to another hotel that has vacancy. Third party requests are also not something we have to honor or even try to honor. " If you find a better rate on a third party site, your best bet is to call the hotel and ask if they can match it.

Via Reddit user SlightlyStable:

"Little secret. When you buy carpet you usually need less square footage of pad than carpet. But most companies bill you the same square footage for both and often send less pad than you paid for.

Some more color from the thread - carpet is usually ordered in excess of the square footage required for rooms that aren't the exact length/width of the rolls you order to minimize seams where pieces meet. People don't' see padding. It doesn't matter."

Smaller award shows
Via Reddit user bridow:

"I'm a celebrity event photographer in Hollywood. Most of the smaller award shows winners like the MTV VMAs, Teen Choice Awards, etc...already know they are going to win. This motivates the talent to come to the event. During the show they are backstage talking with friends and take a seat during a commercial break just before their award is announced. The few exceptions are the Oscars and Golden Globes where the audience is mostly celebrities."

Internet service providers
Via Reddit user static74:

"Fiber Internet Service Provider here - bandwidth is not a scarce commodity like they want you to think it is. It is all about profit margins and over subscribing the network."
User bigdonkey adds: "Most of the bottlenecks are the result of the ISPs not building out their local networks to meet demand."

Via Reddit user bananabilector:

"When you order catering, we know we can't trust you to have your guest count right, so the kitchen massively over produces for your event. The staff then eats their shift meal from your order and the rest gets tossed. Sometimes it's only a little, sometimes it's 200 plated mains or 15 hotel pans full of potatoes and green beans. And at $13-35/plate depending on the menu, we still come out on top."

Via Reddit user JamesW89:

"I work for a UPS store. Here is a few things I have learned since working here...
Writing fragile on your package means nothing.
Your package WILL get thrown around, dropped, and beaten up; if it is breakable then according to our guidelines for properly packaged items it needs to withstand 1000lbs of pressure and a 4ft drop.
UPS capital claims is terrible as well they will do whatever they can to not pay you the amount you insure your package for."

Fine dining
Via Reddit user SG804:

"Fine dining cook here. 30% of your meal is butter. That's why it's so good."

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I work at a big chain pizza company and unless you ask for a specific deal , a large one item pizza for 6.50 we will charge tou the full price which can be as much as 14 dollars, research pizza deals before ordering or you will be charged FULL PRICE!

August 26 2013 at 8:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Why don't they donate those books and take it off their taxes? DAs...

August 23 2013 at 7:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


August 23 2013 at 3:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Not sure if this was mentioned in an earlier post, but when I worked in a retail store (apparel, shoes, handbags, crafts, etc) , I was told they are forced to destroy the merch rather than to donate it, because there are the "bad guys" (who ALWAYS ruin it for the good guys) who "sell" the discarded stuff, instead of just being grateful that they got their hands on something that they or someone else less fortunate, can use....Tsk.. Tsk

August 23 2013 at 9:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Blanton, Sr

I have an issue with the "funeral parlor" story. I have been a licensed embalmer/funeral director since 1977. Embalming laws vary from State to State but largely embalming is only required if there is no disposition (burial, cremation, refrigeration) of the body within 24 to 72 hours. Embalming, as we know it today, is not intended to preserve a dead human body, but to disinfect and sanitize for public health reasons. Embalming today is more about presenting a grieving family with a warm lasting "memory picture" of their loved one. A competent, properly trained, contentious embalmer who has the restorative arts skill can work "magic" in restoring victims of traumatic deaths to a pre-traumatic state for that final viewing. The science of embalming and the art of restoration is being lost due to unscrupulous embalmers that do not take their work seriously, make fun of those entrusted to them and post silly comments about the funeral industry on social networks. I am proud to be an embalmer and have comforted many families, including my own, through the years.

August 21 2013 at 8:23 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Walmart , takes its clothes thats are marked down and dumps them in the trash when they dont sell after awhile , when they could just give them to a shelter in need .....

August 21 2013 at 7:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

In federal civilian agencies, higher ups refuse to discipline, they pick only on those employees who have no clout, like a few employed Asians. They tolerate laziness, incompetence, and even fraud (higher ups do not want investigations of their offices), so what they do they treat inside fraud as mere mistakes. Rarely a fraud is investigated unless they get a tip from outside. Just look at the billions of overpayments and "mistakes" federal civilian agencies have.

August 21 2013 at 6:37 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

As far as the Funeral story goes, Embalming is not necessary if the body is going to be cremated and not laid out for a few days. Two other little known facts, You can Rent a Coffin for the funeral services and also a throw away liner that is cremated along with the body.

August 21 2013 at 5:41 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Morey Soffo

I'm not writing to defend UPS, but rather the employees. I work in the Air Cargo division at UPS' second-largest air-hub (RFD). I know that I and my fellow Teamsters try very hard not to damage anyone's property. Sometimes things do happen and we really feel terrible when it does. My only "drop" during my (so-far) eight yrs with UPS was over two years ago: a specialty toilet from Japan to Canada fell off my forks. I know someone special-ordered three of them and I was really sorry for the loss. It meant that someone's construction project was delayed. I and my co-workers really do watch package labels, orientation arrows, "fragile" "do not stack" "do not top load" and all the other directions a package can carry, and when we see someone missing something, we tell them and then we correct it. We aren't monkeys tossing tires at the zoo. I had a scare last night when I picked up a package and felt something oily leaking on me. I sat the package down, left the area and told a supervisor, then went to wash and be checked for rash or burns while the chemical was examined by a response team. Someone just had to ship an open bottle of Wishbone Russian Dressing for some reason. Hey, we'll gladly let you pay to ship something that can be gotten locally (in this case, it was being sent from Libertyville, IL to Des Moines, IA) but you really should: a) make sure the cap is one and b) label the package. Maybe JamesW89 behind the counter in a UPStore doesn't care but the majority of us do. Maybe JamesW89 is a FedEx troll.

August 21 2013 at 2:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The one about funeral parlors may be BS in a large percentage of the cases. I knew this and most funeral directors will tell you this when you discuss the burial program. Don't believe everything you read and especailly on the Internet. Go ask the Manager or owner of a funeral parlor. They will normally tell you up front. As for pushing for the embalming, that is business. However, if the job is not performed, it could mean the place could lose their license if they have been paid to do the job. As stated, in my state, if there will be an open casket, or the body will be shipped out of state, it must be embalmed. Ask your local Funeral Director.

August 21 2013 at 1:42 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

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