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    "They Could Just Leave And Not Pay": Employees Are Anonymously Sharing Dirty Secrets Of Their Jobs

    "Do not believe everything you are told, and believe half of what you see."

    Last week, I launched a Google form for people to share secrets of their jobs completely anonymously.

    After I published some of these secrets, submissions to that anonymous Google form tripled with more employees sharing their struggles and airing their dirty laundry. Here are more secrets from all sorts of professions.

    an arrow pointing to the 191 responses received

    1. "I work at Magic Kingdom. Most people know about the secret Utilidoors underground. But did you know that there’s a DJ down there 24/7? And it’s definitely not just Disney music all the time. Sometimes it’s strange to be leaving at midnight and hear 'Love Shack' playing at full volume, but at least it’s entertaining!"

    2. "I’m an aeronautical engineering technician. You would be shocked to know where corners are cut on plane manufacturing, how many parts are built by interns without a degree, and generally how close to failing a lot of parts on planes are."

    someone working on a part of a plane

    3. "Mattress salesperson here. Some mattresses have quite a bit of profit margin, which pays for overhead, employees, etc. However, just because there is a decent margin does not mean that it is made from 'cheap material.' Companies still have to pay a pretty penny for the higher-end mattresses. So no, that Tempur-Pedic mattress is not made of cheap foam from recycled mattresses. Believe it or not, the material is actually found in NASA space seats!"

    4. "There is only a 2–5% markup [on new cars at a car dealership], so there really isn’t that much 'wiggle room' unless the dealer does over MSRP. Be nice and you’re more likely to get a discount than being an ass to us."

    5. "I bartended for 25 years. If you walk into a bar and all the top-shelf liqueurs are all full, order shelf because that's what you'd be getting in those 'expensive' bottles. Also, have you ever seen anyone wash a lemon (or lime)? NOPE. Yet you plunge that dirty thing into your drink."

    bartender grabbing a bottle

    6. "Med passer in county jail here. In case you get arrested for protesting, make sure to have your prescription meds on you especially if they are critical HIV meds. Chances are you will have to wait the next day or two if the jail does not have your meds in stock."

    7. "If you’re shopping for diamonds, check online pricing for the store. I used to work for the largest privately-owned jewelry company and the exact same diamonds being sold in store were $1,000+ cheaper online. Tell the associate that and you will receive the lower price."

    8. "I'm a zookeeper, and at accredited zoos in the US, the animals get better food, better veterinary care, more enrichment, and more training and attention than 99% of the pets out there. I hate to see horses in a field without any kind of shade or shelter. That would be a USDA violation at the zoo. All of our animals have protection from the elements, clean water, fresh food, and we try to house them in appropriate social groups according to their natural inclination. If you think an animal looks 'lonely,' it's very possible it prefers to be alone! If it is asleep or looks 'bored', you might be there during sleepy time, or just straight-up not understand that species' natural behavior, but we do."

    "Please be respectful to them and don't shout or throw things at them; if you have any questions about an animal or its behavior, find a keeper and ask them (politely)! We love answering questions, as long as you're nice to us and don't act like a jerk just because we are raking up poop. Zookeepers tend to be educated, but overworked and underpaid, due to our absolute love for our animals. We would never knowingly or willingly hurt them or be cruel to them, and we know each individual animal's personality. Oh, and the zoo kitchen is cleaner than yours."

    a person feeding a kangaroo

    9. “I work as a financial aid advisor and we can all see your FAFSA. We look at the family’s income and all of their assets...There are families who make six-figure incomes and have millions of dollars in other assets and ask why they didn’t receive government and state grants. We just laugh amongst ourselves and shake our heads.”

    10. "I’ve worked at a fancy country club pool for two years and everything that happens behind the scenes is not so fancy. The entire pool staff, including the manager, is made up of teenagers. The storage is this creepy cement basement that often has tiny dead or live frogs on the ground. One time there was toddler poop in the gutter at the bottom of the diving well on the second to last day, and I had to dive to try and scoop it out with gloves but it was stuck, so the head of the country club threw some chemicals in and just reopened the pool."

    11. "I work in catering and it takes an army and a ton of planning and work to pull off an event (especially something like a wedding). When clients hire wedding planners for the day of their events, nine times out of 10 they're a huge waste of money who end up taking that well-oiled, well-planned process and throwing a gigantic monkey wrench into it. They are often not prepared to handle the things we need them to do, they usually want to be the center of attention, and end up creating problems instead of solving them. If you have a caterer and a venue that know what they are doing, you don’t need a wedding planner, no matter how good they are at selling themselves."

    close up of someone setting up event tables

    12. "This is not at all surprising to anyone who works with customers but it still feels like not enough people have this understanding. If you’re mean to your cashier (or other customer service employee), we will be less likely to do what you want and we will 100% talk about you to all of our coworkers. Your reputation will definitely precede you and dictate the service you’re getting next time. If someone’s really well known for being a pain in the ass, we go out of our way to avoid interacting with them until we absolutely have to."

    13. "I work for the most recognizable soda company in the world. When buying a 12-pack of cans, if the date looks like it was manually stamped on, and doesn’t look like the others with a factory printed date, buy the ones that look like the others. Those 12-packs with the stamped-on date were repacked. Maybe they were repacked in the back of the store, or maybe at the warehouse, but they were NOT sanitized or cleaned after whatever reason they needed to be repacked in the first place."

    14. "I’m a licensed massage therapist. People are always worried about shaving their legs, not having gotten a pedicure recently, and showering before a massage like we’ll be horrified if they don’t. I promise you, we do not care about stubbly legs or the fact that you may have sweated a little while walking around town. And we definitely don’t care about chipped polish. A massage table is one of the most judgment-free spaces you can ever find yourself, even if it may feel a bit too vulnerable for some to feel that way. We are concerned with things that might jeopardize safety like diseases or contagious skin or nail conditions. Injuries are also a major one. Please let us do our intake, it is for your safety. Don’t rush it; That’s rude. Those of us in this career do it to improve people’s lives, not create more injury or to jeopardize our licenses."

    "A lot of us are trained in structural alignment which goes far beyond the mass assumption of just relaxation and stress relief like you see in the movies. We use a lot of force and for us, it is a full-body workout. There’s a lot involved. So when we ask you certain questions during the intake, it’s for a reason.

    And for those who are still uncomfortable about not showering before a massage, there are three things that can hit us like a brick wall during a session: bad breath (like the halitosis or rarely flossed variety), really stinky feet (like the pickled/vinegar smelling feet that lingers long after you’ve left the room), and a booty that could use an extra wipe. Again, we are trained professionals so these things are just part of the job that we have come to accept (still judgment-free) but if this is something you worry about, then those are the three areas I would check before hopping on a table. Bodies are amazing and amazingly weird. And we just want to help you feel more comfortable in yours."

    close up of someone getting a massage

    15. "I'm a pharmacist at a major retail/community pharmacy chain. We know the public hates coming to the pharmacy, so it's not uncommon to bear the grunt of your medication prices. The fact of the matter is, we literally do not control the price of your prescription(s). We bill your insurance in real-time and they instantly spit an answer back out to us. Everyone's coverage is unique to their plan, including price, preferred drugs, if a PA is needed, how much per year is covered, when the price will change throughout the year, etc. Also, ask questions about your medicine! Tell us when you have drug allergies, tell us when you fill meds from different pharmacies. Please. It's what I actually went to school for."

    16. "I worked in corporate security at a major international health insurance company for seven years. Unless someone is a complete dirtbag, security guards won’t go through your confidential stuff or paperwork or anything like that on your desk. But we WOULD play with the toys and trinkets on your desk. Someone had a life-size cutout of a movie character at their desk for a long time. Every weekend starting on the third shift on Friday, we’d move it everywhere throughout that building and play a game to see who could find it. Sometimes we’d even move it to the next building over. Sunday night third shift, it’d go right back to that person’s desk like no one even touched it. Put away any trinkets on your desk if you don’t want them touched because security guards get bored as all hell! We also would totally eat any candy we found out in bowls meant for office mates. And oh, that cool beanbag chair in your office? It’s getting napped in during closed hours."

    17. "Librarian here. Confidentiality and privacy are big for us. We would never share your business with anyone. But if you forget your juicy gossip print jobs at the printer at close (such as arrest records, divorce papers, etc.), we’re totally reading that shit before we shred it."

    a librarian behind the desk

    18. "I've been a DoorDash driver for a few years. The specific tip amount is not shared with drivers directly until after an order is delivered. We only see the total amount to be paid with the combined company rate and tip. But I can tell via experience, who has tipped well, tipped minimally, or not tipped at all. And you can bet your order with little to no tip will be declined by experienced drivers, driving up your wait time to get your food."

    19. "If you're having work done in your home, move your cars out of the driveway and garage. Nothing sets the job off on the wrong foot like a Monday morning hike hauling tools in. FYI, when I have to carry all my tools past your minivan 20 times, it’s probably getting dinged. Also, I judge you by your photos, cleanliness, and what’s in your fridge. Offering drinks and snacks will ALWAYS get you more effort and a more chipper work crew."

    20. "I am a disease investigator for the health department. If you get a call from the health department (or text, or letter) call us back. We are calling because you have or have been exposed to a disease. We don’t judge you, we just want to help you get health care. If you don’t have insurance or money we will do everything we can to get you care for free. I know it can feel like a violation of your privacy and it can catch you off guard, and I wish doctors would tell you we might call. Over 30% of people I reach out to (multiple times and, if possible, multiple ways) do not get back to me. We really just want to help, please call back."

    close up of a hand using a microscope to look at bacteria

    21. "I work in a big bank handling escalations. Anytime you ask to speak to a manager, a complaint case is filed and it could happen to cross my queue. Most of them, I listen to the call and close without any action because someone just needed to vent. Escalations about anything else, especially discrimination or UDAAP are seriously researched, like hours and hours of research. Listening to calls, looking over your transactions…we look at everything."

    22. "Prominent public officials are not as unreachable as you might think. I once got a response from a prominent (Wikipedia article-level) ambassador within a day, and a famous linguist (again, Wikipedia-level) within a few days."

    23. "Police dispatcher here. It may seem like we are rude or rushing you. We need pertinent information and quick. Oftentimes people are understandably nervous and rambling, immediately we need to know where (in case your phone dies/becomes disconnected/sound distorted) the emergency is and for who (is this a baby, toddler, a minor, adult, or elderly) ,and then what (what just happened, what you observe, facts related to symptoms or behaviors) took place."

    "You’d be surprised. If we don’t interrupt, people will talk two to three minutes about everything they think, delaying ambulance or police personnel just for us to find out someone's having suspected heart palpitations. Tell us that right away. Two to three minutes can mean life or death. We just want to get you help ASAP!"

    a dispatcher on the phone in front of their computer

    24. "The bank that I work at knowingly and frequently overcharges customers and only refunds fees if they complain. This bank also charges customers for services they don't use. Please review your bank statements regularly!"

    25. "I work in a major trash removal company and have seen that most recycling just ends up in landfills. This can either be from a lack of infrastructure to handle all the recycling all the way to costs being too much to be worth doing for the company. Also, most times the recycling is contaminated such as fluid still in a soda bottle or just grocery bags in general which causes the whole bag to be sent to the landfill rather than risking the machinery. Plastic grocery bags especially break down sorting machines. Last note, don't put used needles in normal recycling. Workers can get injured when manually sorting!'

    26. "I worked as a slot machine tech in a casino for 10 years. We can't control the slot machines. In fact, no one you'll ever see on the casino floor can. We aren't even allowed to know who has access to the win percentages. Nine times out of 10, we want you to win because happy and fun patrons make the night go by faster."

    slot machines

    27. "I’m a canvasser for a nonprofit. Try to remember that the activists waving at you from the corner with tablets or clipboards are people, too! I know we aren’t always a welcome sight (I don’t even talk to local canvassers in my free time and I know most of them), but we don’t bite, and even a 'hi' as you walk past can be enough to brighten our day when most people just ignore us, berate us, or outright assault us. And if you’re feeling especially fun, tell us about your day, your interests, and whatever’s on your mind! We live for the conversations that don’t feel like work, where we can just chill for a few minutes and get to know some real people. That’s really why we do the job in the first place."

    28. "I work for THE big online company, you know the one, and oh my god the amount of times the packages get dropped on the floor, kicked, thrown around is crazy. Also, they’re so concerned about numbers that it seems like they don’t really care what happens to your package or us as long as everything was scanned properly and on time."

    29. "Former nurse coordinator here! During my night shifts in this hospital, the only ER doctor was sleeping from midnight to 6:00 a.m. and you couldn’t wake him up unless there was a catastrophe. People were waiting 8–10 hours before being seen even if it was not busy at all. We were told to say we were super busy in the back with patients from the evening."

    nurse on the phone

    30. "I'm a librarian. We don't care how long you've had our books or how much you might owe. We just want the books back! Often, if you nicely explain some of the life curveballs you were dealing with at the time, we will cut those fines, too."

    31. "I work in a swimming pool chemical store. We test pool water. We think you are morons if you never test your own pool water. It is simple beyond belief. We have people who arrive every seven days or so for the 'free' water test. We always find extra problems when we repair your pool cleaner."

    32. "I’m a vegetable farmer. When folks at farmer's markets tell us about their parents’ or grandparents’ 'large garden,' know that our farm doesn’t compare. They had four tomato plants, we have 400. They weeded by hand, we use tractors. When folks tell us our prices are higher than the grocery store, we smile and say something about the quality and freshness of our produce, but the truth is the labor needed to get vegetables from our farm to you is a wild amount of work. We have to charge more than grocery stores because we have to pay our workers a living wage to get quality work."

    people loading up vegetables

    33. "Big box air conditioning repair companies pay their 'technicians' on commission. They will try to scare you into buying products or services (or entire air conditioning systems) based on what they will make off of that. Get a second opinion from another company any time a 'new system' is suggested."

    34. "Working in propane dispatch, we do everything we can to get deliveries out in winter but it takes weeks sometimes. The demand is not greater than supply, it is greater than the labor force and drive hours available due to federal regulations. We do prioritize central heat, so a person using gas logs as supplemental heating may wait weeks if they run out."

    35. "I’m an InstaCart shopper. In Boise, ID we are paid $7 per batch. $7 to shop for and deliver your groceries using our own vehicle and gasoline. The only time that pay is increased is if the order is large, if it contains a lot of heavy items, or if it’s been sitting unclaimed for too long. Also, if you include a tip based on a percentage of your order total, that tip amount is reduced if items are out-of-stock and have to be refunded, even though that usually means we’ve spent more time on your order searching for replacements and communicating with you to get those replacements approved. If a customer has been rude or unresponsive, I will pick out higher-weight produce and meat to make up for the loss of tip money due to refunds. Tipping a flat amount works out better for both shopper and customer."

    someone picking out an apple

    36. "Food stylist and photographer here. Despite what the viral videos may have you think, none of the big supermarkets in the UK use any trickery in their photography. No glue used as milk, no painted chicken, we have to do everything by the book. There are no rules saying we have to, it's just our supermarkets are more conscious of the images genuinely reflecting the package contents. Drives me wild when people tag me in viral videos of so-called stylists supergluing potatoes and whatnot. It just doesn't happen here."

    37. "I worked for a major streaming service in customer support, and we were always told to say that we can’t refund more than three months’ worth of charges. So many of my daily calls/emails/chat requests were regarding accounts that the customer had forgotten to cancel and wanted a refund for; My system let me refund up to a year, and my leads could refund farther back than that. Regardless, we were told to say we could only refund three months’ worth and then offer months of free streaming services. If a customer was obviously much more advanced in age and was genuinely confused about said charges, I’d refund that year and reach out to my boss seeking more; If a customer was a dick about it, I’d stick to my script and leave it at that."

    38. "I’m a former barista at Starbucks and you should know that we always have peppermint mocha. We have peppermint syrup and mocha. The only thing we don’t have is the chocolate curls. So if you’re craving one, you don’t have to wait until December.'

    starbucks coffee

    39. "I work retail in an expensive bag store and we have a bag that we keep out with a 'win this bag' sign. To enter, customers need to write down their name, email, and zip code on a slip of paper. We are coached to encourage entries and tell customers that we draw once a month. This is a larger retail company, and they want people to believe that the drawing is monthly for each store. The drawing is monthly, but it pulls from ALL of the stores, meaning only one bag is given away per month. Most stores get around 30 entries on a good month, which deceives customers into believing that their odds are good, when in reality they are likely up against thousands of others."

    40. "I have worked in the plant nursery business for 30 years. The price for plants from flowers to houseplants all reflect the incredible amount of time and effort that has gone into that beauty. I work in Arizona and I work in extreme outdoor conditions. The work is dirty and hard on a person's body. I don't deadhead flowers. I haul gravel and soil, stand at the end of a hose for hours. I move plants by hand, caring for some like glass. The time, water, and fertilizer, let alone the knowledge I had to gain — Yes, that cactus costs $35. It is 12 years old and it has been touched dozens of times over those years. Plant nurseries are luxury places to shop. Please don't ask for discounts or 'plant start' for free."

    41. "Dental hygienist here. We do know when you are telling the truth about flossing AND BRUSHING! Patients will lie and say they brush twice daily using these fancy toothbrushes and techniques. But plaque comes off easily. And if you aren’t removing it daily, it basically looks like cottage cheese on your teeth. Don’t lie about your oral hygiene."

    patient with the dentist

    42. "Retail manager here. We regularly buy items from our dealers on closeout for some deep discounts on end-of-season items, think 40–80% off of wholesale! We then mark them on sale for 10–30% off of MSRP and hold them until the season comes around again. NO ONE has ever noticed they were past-season items, and we are making some HUGE margins while people think they are getting a good deal. This happens a lot more than any of you all think!"

    43. "I worked patient finance for a large hospital. We had many patients that were visiting from other countries because we were the most well-equipped hospital for several hundred miles. These patients would fret about paying the bills. I desperately wanted to tell them that they have no social security number, meaning there’s no real record of them being a patient: They could just leave and not pay."

    44. "I used to work at a book store. I was taught to care much more about profit than actually recommending good books. For example, the tables across the store I was often told to fill with books we hadn’t sold a single copy of in the past year because they were so bad (and we couldn’t sell them otherwise). On top of that, they tracked how many of the Book of the Months we sold every day and had to recommend them first before any actual favorites of ours. These books were always lackluster at best."

    person at a book store

    45. "I work at an insurance company and people will often call in and ask 'hypothetical' (which are clearly NOT hypothetical) questions like, “Say I got a speeding ticket...I DIDN'T, but say I did. What would my rates look like?” We get our information directly from the DMV. If you don’t go to traffic school, the ticket goes on your record. If you do, we don’t see it. So you telling me you got a ticket does NOTHING. I have no magical 'add ticket surcharge' button, so please stop talking to me like we do and just be honest. We’re here to help!"

    46. "Vet tech here. Please don't bring your pet in a complicated harness or cutesy outfit for the appointment. We have to take those off in order to do the exam, and wrangling pets back into them wastes time. In most cases, a harness just contributes to a dog's anxiety, hyperactivity, and/or pulling problems."

    "And if a clinic doesn't allow clients in a room with the pets, please be cooperative. It's for everyone's safety because even if a pet hurts its own family, the clinic is held liable and only has insurance on employees. Most of us are doing our jobs on little sleep and little food, so please be patient."

    47. "Those gift boxes you order online with the meat, cheese, or fruit in them? More often than not they have been in a freezer for six months or more! We ship them out and they thaw by the time they arrive!"

    basket of cheese and meats

    48. "I’m an administrative assistant in the public sector. If you leave a message for our office with little-to-no info but a call-back number, I promise you’re getting called after everyone who gave us a rundown, a good contact number, and an email. Also, calling us multiple times will not speed things up for you, and if you say it’s an emergency, we have to tell you to call 911."

    49. "Hospital employees go to work sick all the time. We aren't able to call out sick more than a couple times a year, so we come in with high fevers, vomiting, the flu, anything."

    50. "I worked for a large popular import car dealership. Do not, under any circumstances believe what the dealership's representative is telling you. Do not take delivery of a new or used car before everything promised is taken care of and that it has been done to your satisfaction. The dealership I worked at constantly lied and ripped off customers. Certified used cars are supposed to be as close to a new car as possible. All fluids changed, new wiper blades, batteries, mats, etc. All with the original parts. Most of the cars, say with 30K miles, were lucky to get an oil change. Cars with signs of significant accident damage were not to be certified. Wrong. If a car was in an accident and the damage costs were paid by the car's owner, there is no reported history on record."

    "Inspecting dealership technicians may report prior collision repair, but it is up to the used car manager to accept or decline a vehicle for certification. The used car manager also authorizes work to be done to each vehicle. The less work completed, the less expense to the used car department, the more profit and commission for the manager and salesperson. Much of the certification work that is supposed to be completed cannot be seen on the lot and is easy to hide.

    Once the car is sold, the used car department has little if nothing to do with it. The car manufacturers are supposed to go over certified vehicle records and do spot checks, but there are so many cars that very little are discovered and blame is usually put off on the tech or service department. Find a reputable mechanic or repair facility, take the used car and pay to have it thoroughly inspected. Realize it is an additional expense, but it will more than pay for itself in the long run. Do not believe anything you are told and believe half of what you see."

    mom and young son car shopping

    51. "I’m a realtor and people think that hosting an open house will actually sell a house. Not true. We typically host open houses to show the seller we are trying our best to sell their home for them, when in reality, we usually attract buyers for other properties and nosy neighbors who want to see how the people across the street really live. Also, don’t let that commission fool you. While you may see on your closing statement that I’m earning $10,000, I’m really not. I’ll have to split that with another agent if they are involved, then I’ve got to split what’s left over with my broker, hold 25% after that for taxes, and I’ve got to pay my dues and fees from every check I actually earn. So while you see $10,000, in reality, I’m only cashing a $1,500 check, which still sounds like a lot, but that could be months of work for that one commission."

    52. "I work at an ice cream shop. If you are nice, you will 100% get better service and maybe even bigger portions. If you are rude to us, we will give you smaller portions, make your things more slowly, etc. It pays to be nice."

    53. "I work in a museum and the nicer of a person you are and if you treat me like a human being, the more 'hidden' discounts I am able to find, the more likely I am to 'accidentally' hit my staff 20% off code in the gift shop, and the more likely you are to find a star show ticket hidden in between your card and receipt. I didn't do this all the time, but every now and then someone would come in and be so nice to me and ask questions about the museum and be really interested and engaged in what I was saying, I would add a free ticket to our star show or maybe show them things I wasn't supposed to show the public."

    family at the museum

    54. "I’m a career nanny. The amount of wives terrified of their husbands cheating is wild. The amount of husbands who hit on their nannies is wild. And yes, if we work full time, we probably do know your child better than you. It doesn’t mean we don’t want them to know you better. It doesn’t mean we don’t value your bond as their parent. It just means that we often know what they need in more detail than you do, and more quickly. If you want to hire a full-time, in-home childcare professional, be prepared to pay well, to relinquish some control, and learn that your nanny knowing your child well does not mean you’re not the best parent for your child. Also, ask your nanny’s advice. We just want to help. And we are professionals, NOT babysitters."

    55. "I work in the financial aid office at a well-known four-year public university in NJ. Schools have millions of dollars, and the financial aid department and admissions office also has some money saved in their budget. When parents call and are nasty and demand more money because they think their child is Einstein-smart, we tell them that this is all they qualify for from the FAFSA which is true, and tell them to borrow loans. However, there are some students who understand that they don’t qualify for much aid so we put in a good word via admissions and financial aid, and we end up giving students scholarships that they didn’t originally qualify for. We hate when parents with attitudes call the office on behalf of a student, and it ends up hurting the student because we don’t like the way you speak to us."

    56. Finally, "Fast food worker here. You know when you request a burger or fries 'straight from the grill,' we just put the already cooked burger on the grill or the cold fries back into the grease. 'Wow, it's fresh!'"

    fast food fries and chicken

    The Anonymous Google form is still open! If you have an employee secret you want to share completely anonymously, drop it in!

    Note: Submissions have been edited for length and clarity.