Recently, redditor u/mysha_chan asked, "What's a company secret that you can share now [because] you don't work there anymore?" In the comments, former employees shared industry secrets that more consumers should know, and it's wild. Here are the most shocking responses:
1. "I'm still in it, but here's an industry secret: If your AC is low on 'freon,' then you have a leak. Don't let a company make money by 'topping you off' at each visit like it's a consumable. Your system has a leak, and it won't work right until the leak is repaired."
"Also, filters are cheap. Don't pay a premium for a service company to bring them for you, you may be up-charged a ridiculous amount for it."
2. "Companies pay $50,000+ to be listed as and for a 'best place to work' advertisement package. My job that was 'the best place to work in tech' was actually just one of the only ones willing to pay."
3. "I would change price tags for a retail store. Let’s say an item was $2.99 and has been for months. I would take down the price tag and replace it with a tag that said, 'Originally $3.99. SALE $1.00 off! New price: $2.99.' This would be done for a LOT of items. Sneaky."
4. "My wife used to work for a light bulb manufacturer in France; their marketing at that time stated, 'All our products are made in the EU.' Their 'factory' in Italy received containers from China, unpacked all the light bulbs, put them in new 'made in EU' cardboard packaging, and sent them on to the hardware stores."
5. "I wouldn't buy furniture, especially with an 'as is' sticker, at a lot of popular furniture-decor stores. When it came in broken, I was instructed to glue it back together, hope it holds, and put it on the floor to sell to an unsuspecting customer."
"I also got written up for not offering to open a credit card for a family whose other three credit cards got rejected. This was right before the 2008 crash. My manager was pissed I didn't help this family get further into debt, but I sleep a little better at night knowing my morals are correct."
6. "Worked at a service station (petrol/gas). Every morning at 7, I had to ring a number not connected to the company and report the cost of fuel. Friends who had the same job at a different company had the same task with the same phone number. It was definitely collusion between companies."
7. "I worked for a large cable company years ago. We were taught that if you called in about services being down and were trying to get them fixed, not to give you credit for the time they were down unless you asked, no matter how long it may be. Even if you did ask for credit, we often only gave it to you for the days you called in. So, if you had a storm roll through and didn't have service for more than one day, you had to call each day. If you took the liberty to credit them anyway, you would be coached to do it the proper way. We often used this downtime to upsell you on additional channels, faster internet speeds, etc, for when it did return."
"We also were taught to sell higher speeds to unsuspecting customers who didn't know any better, thinking faster internet would make their 9-year-old laptop/PC perform better. We got a kickback on how many ancillaries we sold. A basic rep who performed halfway decent could often make more than those that were responsible for them."
9. "A Dutch grocery store has a flowchart for offering contracts to youngsters that are about to turn 18. When they turn 18, they get too expensive so they fire them, and the flowchart shows that if it gets too close to their birthday, whether to fire them or keep them just a little bit longer."
10. "In most hotels, the housekeeping staff are overworked and timed per room, and if a slept-in bed is not too creased after checkout, they will remake it without changing it — same goes for towels. I've seen it all, and when I stay in a hotel, I insist on bedding and towels to be left out for me to put on myself."
11. "I did housekeeping for a while and...yep. The duvets are never washed unless they are visibly dirty like someone spilled ketchup on it or something. The sheets only got changed if they had been visibly disturbed. If I went into a room and the bed looked like it hadn't been slept in, I didn't touch it. If the towels looked like they hadn't been touched, I didn't change them."
"We were told to do it this way to keep up the quick pace. They wanted all rooms cleaned by a certain time, for us it was noon. You'd be assigned a list of rooms at your shift start, and if you finished early, you were sent to help someone else. So, yeah...I second this. If you get a hotel, ask for extra linens and towels."
12. "I spent 20 years in the watch industry. Basically, anything with a quartz movement is more accurate than any automatic. Also, all quartz movements are equally accurate. You're paying for handmade craftsmanship, quality of materials, and marketing."
14. "The furniture on display in stores at the big UK brand sofa companies is a far superior built product than what the general public gets delivered."
15. "I still work there. Hotels will give preferential treatment to guests who make a reservation through Booking.com; we care about booking scores more than Expedia or even our own website. Some hotels even give bonuses to workers if guests give a 10 rating and mention the specific worker by name in the review."
16. "An electronics store I worked for constantly forces their salespeople to be extremely pushy with signing people up for credit cards and subscription services because the stores get direct profit for doing so. I once had a coworker who was literally tricking customers into signing up for credit cards and my general manager and HR did nothing until he started saying slurs on the clock."
17. "This isn’t really a secret, but something I wish more people knew from having worked in hospitality for decades. MANY places that serve soft drinks do not clean or change the nozzles. This goes for bars, too. You’re getting lovely mold in your Diet Coke."
"Bonus fun thought: Businesses with ice machines very rarely (if ever) clean them. Super easy way to tell is where they put the ice scoop when done."
18. "I worked in food manufacturing. I can tell you there is no difference between brand name and generic for most food items. A lot of time, they go straight from packaging one to the other with only the packaging changing. We had one product that went into eight different packages, all the same stuff, and we'd make it all at once."
19. "I worked for numerous home heating oil companies. We would purposely make boilers use way more diesel than they needed to. Also, we would do patches so it breaks down and you gotta call us back in six months to a year."
"Lately, they've been putting way more biodiesel into the oil so your furnace/boiler breaks down more. We say it's 20%, but it's more like 75%."
Former employees, what's a company or industry "secret" you can spill from a job you used to work for? Let us know in the comments below.
Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.