20 Dirty Little Secrets About Industries That Will Make You Rethink Everything You Thought You Knew

You see, industries are the engines of our modern world. They produce the things we use, consume, and rely on daily. But guess what? They’re not always as squeaky clean as they’d like us to believe. We’re about to unveil the dirty little secrets they’re hiding, and trust us; it’s juicier than the latest gossip in your group chat.

One Redditor asked, “What is a “dirty little secret” about an industry that you have worked in that people outside the industry really should know?” Many users commented on this thread, and we have selected the top 20 secrets for you!

1. Peanut Butter Factory

Peanut butter sandwiches or toasts on light wooden background
Image Credit: Fortyforks/Shutterstock.

Peanut butter factories produce the same peanut butter, give or take a few minor tweaks, and then they slap different labels on them. One gets the “premium” label, while the other gets the “economical” sticker. 

A person commented, “I used to work in a peanut butter factory; we produced about 25-30-ish different store brands ranging from very cheap to stupidly expensive; we had a grand total of 3 recipes, chunky, not chunky, and no additives.”

Another added, “I always assumed this; therefore, when I try to hunt down cheaper (equal) alternatives to my Trader Joe’s smooth almond butter, I expect to see the same formula under a different label. Yet I’ve tried so many at this point, and every single one has a different texture than the Trader Joe’s brand and tastes different, too. Had no idea there were so many almond butter manufacturers!”

2. Sugar

Portrait of young woman drinking with a black colored straw from a glass filled with sugar cubes Junk food, unhealthy diet, too much sugar on drinks, nutrition concept closeup.
Image Credit: A-photographyy/Shutterstock.

One said, “The sugar industry. We bagged brand name sugar and Walmart brand sugar. Same sugar, different prices. Edit: I think we had 12 different bags that we filled on order.”

Someone else added, “I work with a guy who spent 30+ years in the sugar industry but now works in the software industry. He has shared so much inside scoop on the sugar industry that I could type for hours (and he could type for days). Virtually all packaged sugar comes from a limited number of sugar manufacturers. It’s all the same stuff.”

But wait, there’s more to this saccharine tale. The ingredients? Basically the same. It’s sugar, sugar, and more sugar. So, when you’re shelling out big bucks for the high-end stuff, you’re not really getting sugar made from magical sugar cane harvested by unicorns. Nope, it’s the same sugar that fills the budget-friendly bag.

3. Jewelry 

Beauty Fashion Glamour Girl Portrait over Black
Image Credit: Subbotina via DepositPhotos.com.

A person commented, “I worked at a major jewelry company in the US. When we wanted to buy jewelry, we paid what it costs to make the product (material, labor, shipping), plus 10%. I paid around $115 for a pair of $950 diamond earrings.”

Another person pitched in to say, “I recently got married, and my wife’s family was close with their next-door neighbor who was a jeweler. She got us our wedding bands at cost and so we paid about $930 for two rings. Mine alone was retailing for $1250.”

You see, some jewelry stores are masters at creating the illusion of exclusivity. They give their products fancy names and slap on price tags that make your eyes water. That gold-plated necklace you’re eyeing? It might be nothing more than a thin layer of gold over a cheaper metal.

4. DeBeers

Photo of young girl disgusted dislike bad smell negative
Image Credit: deagreez1 via DepositPhotos.com.

A discerning Reddit user commented, “I used to work at a digital marketing agency. DeBeers was one of our clients. They paid us $25k/mo to do their social channels.

But one task they specifically wanted us to do was create social channels to spread misinformation about lab-created diamonds. These boomers wanted these channels to be targeted towards millennials and the younger generation, so they can become discouraged from buying lab-created diamonds.”

Another added, “Yes, please don’t believe all the ads or marketing techniques you see. Most of them are incorrect and just there to make you pay more for essentially the same thing.”

But here’s the kicker: lab-created diamonds are more eco-friendly and often cheaper without sacrificing quality. De Beers didn’t want us to know that, of course. They wanted us to think that buying an Earth-mined diamond was the ultimate symbol of love.

5. Warehouse Cans

Recycling aluminum or metal empty cans top view. Group of cans for reuse and recycle.
Image Credit: ji_jinn/Shutterstock.

Warehouses are filled with rodents. Mice, rats, you name it, they love to call these places home. And when they’re not busy running on their little mouse treadmills, they’re exploring everything, including your precious cans of food. 

A Reddit user wrote, “Wash the top of your cans. Mice poop on those things all the time while they are in warehouse or transit.”

Someone else added, “I’m so relieved that my mother raised me to do this lmao. I thought it was strange growing up, but then I just started to do it automatically without question. I tell people that all the time. I use a straw or pull the drink in a glass.”

Another person shared similar thoughts and mentioned, “Absolutely, I did security at a local supermarket warehouse, and doing my walkthrough, I saw rats so big the porters used to ride around the warehouse on them (obviously not really), but I did see the rats, and they’d be everywhere. Of course, they poop on everything.”

6. Movers 

Happy couple opening boxes
Image Credit: Wavebreakmedia via DepositPhotos.com.

Some movers aren’t exactly honest about their rates. They might lowball you in the beginning to get your business and then spring all these extra fees on you later. 

One said, “I worked in the moving and storage industry, and if you EVER pay movers to pack and move your family, DEMAND an itemized bill and proof of service.

These people are out here RAKING people over the coals. Inflating box counts, charging for services not performed, etc. It’s not AS BAD if it’s COD, but if it’s a corporate move for your job?? DEMAND IT. You might not be paying for it out of pocket, but it’s still showing on your income as taxable wages.”

Another person pitched in to say, “Not to mention, you should NEVER EVER EVER trust them with anything not replaceable. So ,so many of these places will literally rob you blind. Turns out it’s easier to rob houses if you’re getting paid by the family to be there.

Even if you stand there and watch them pack it like a hawk, boxes might be repacked later if it “breaks” or something, or for more consolidated storage. And what gets repacked may not be everything that was originally in the box…

Collectibles, grandma’s wedding ring, passports, and birth certificates…always transport these things yourself whenever possible.”

7. Restaurant’s Hygiene 

Stressed Waiter Coming Out Of The Kitchen
Image Credit: nullplus via DepositPhotos.com.

Restaurants can get busy, and keeping everything spick and span 24/7 is a Herculean task. But here’s the thing – some places don’t even bother trying. 

A person commented, “We touch your food with our hands. Weird. And yes, we wash them so often that they might fall off. That, or you get ppl that wear gloves for 12 hours and never change gloves or wash their hands.”

Another added, “I went to a Mexican restaurant for breakfast. The guy went directly from mopping the floor to touching my burrito. I asked him to wash his hands, and he refunded my money instead of washing. This was 8 years ago, and I’m still salty.”

8. Recruiters 

Man in Office Looking for Help
Image Credit: eric1513 via DepositPhotos.com.

Recruiters often use fancy software that scans your CV for specific words and phrases. So, if your CV doesn’t have the right keywords, it might end up in the digital abyss, never to be seen by human eyes. 

One said, “High-volume recruiters spend an average of 10 seconds looking at a resume.”

Someone else added, “Job titles, companies, dates, and then anything with a $ or % or other numbers. Then we decide if it is worth ctrl+f to find specific keywords or tech. Then maybe another minute to read more in-depth. If you can’t pass those first 6 seconds, you get rejected.”

9. Lipstick Companies

Cropped photo of brunette lady holding lipstick in mouth isolaed over pink.
Image Credit: Dean Drobot/Shutterstock.

Cosmetics companies have this savvy marketing strategy: they want you to equate heaviness with quality. When a lipstick tube feels weighty and substantial, it tricks your brain into thinking, “Wow, this must be a high-end product.” And voilà, you’re more likely to hand over your hard-earned cash.

 A discerning Reddit user commented, “They put little weights in lipsticks to make them feel more expensive so they can charge more.”

Another added, “Lipstick bullets all contain about the same amount of product; the extra weight is added to make the packaging feel heavier, implying better materials. And if you think the packaging is higher quality, you assume the product it contains is also higher quality.”

1O. Minimal Products in Large Packaging

Laughing girl applying moisturizing cream on her face. Photo of young girl with flawless skin on pink background. Skin care and beauty concept.
Image Credit: RomarioIen/Shutterstock.

A Reddit user wrote, “Some face lotions and creams conceal a tiny pot of product in much larger jars of packaging.”

Another person pitched in to say, “THIS packaging hack annoys me, not because of the deceit/illusion of more product but because I would PREFER smaller skincare containers. The environmental waste, too, drives me crazy. Doesn’t even matter if the product is relatively cheap, like from the drugstore. I can’t bring myself to buy a product packaged in a jar with a half inch of acrylic around the product.”

A big, fancy jar gives you a sense of indulgence and luxury, and you’re more likely to splurge on it, thinking you’re treating yourself to something special. But here’s the rub- the actual amount of product you’re getting is often far less than what meets the eye.

11. Zoos And Museums 

Cute toddler boy looking at an alpaca at a farm zoo on autumn day. Children feeding a llama on an animal farm. Kids at a petting zoo at fall. Active leisure children outdoor.
Image Credit: MNStudio/Shutterstock.

A person commented, “Zoos and museums are universally held together with double-sided tape. The size or prestige of the organization doesn’t matter either.”

Another person shared similar thoughts and mentioned, “I worked for a farm supply that supplied the local zoo with all of their animal food and had pretty much-unlimited access to their employee-only areas. Held together with double-sided tape would be a compliment. That zoo was intentionally under-maintained for a few years to force the government to approve badly needed renovations.”

Are the zoos and museums in your town maintained and well-kept?

12. Display Pieces 

Children look at the skeleton of an ancient whale in the Museum of paleontology
Image Credit: David Tadevosian/Shutterstock.

Authentic artifacts can be as rare as a unicorn in the wild, and when you’re a museum, you want to give visitors a taste of history. So, what do they do? Well, sometimes they get creative and display replicas or copies.

One said, “I imagine most artifacts on display aren’t real, just very high-quality fakes. Similar to this cave, where you really can’t trust the general public not to mess it up somehow. Honestly, as long as the museum is using the real ones to learn more about our history, I’m OK with it.”

Someone else added, “Also, the dinosaur bones that you’re ooh-ing and aah-ing over are probably plaster. The actual bones are stored safely in the basement.”

13. HVAC

Portrait of a young angry man gesticulating with his hands, looking at the camera.
Image Credit: dabyki.nadya/Shutterstock.

A Reddit user wrote, “HVAC guy here. It’s not really a secret, but homeowners sure think it is. CHANGE YOUR FILTERS!!!”

Another added, “90 percent of all HVAC problems can be prevented by changing filters, cleaning coils, and doing an occasional hard reset. If you don’t take care of your equipment, that’s when things go south.”

Filters keep the air clean, the dust at bay, and our noses from turning into sneeze machines. But guess what? They don’t last forever. Nope, they need a little TLC in the form of a good old filter swap from time to time.

14. Mail

Mailman Placing Envelopes, perspective from inside the mailbox.
Image Credit: AndreyPopov
via DepositPhotos.com.

A person commented, “Nobody who actually sorts mail cares about your package. The word fragile doesn’t stop them from throwing it 20ft into a metal container.”

Another person pitched in to say, “When I was managing a research lab, we were very excited to get the funding to buy some half a million dollars worth of new testing equipment. The crate containing this precision instrument shows up half crushed with one side completely ripped off, and that was with a specialty delivery service meant to handle these sorts of things.” 

But here’s the thing- it’s not necessarily the postal workers’ fault. They’ve got mountains of packages to deliver, and they don’t always have the time or the luxury to handle each one!

15. Health Inspection 

not bad. approval judgement. accepting facial expression.
Image Credit: Golubovy/Shutterstock.

One said, “When the health inspector shows up, a mad scramble happens in the back to clean the kitchen while they start the inspection in the dining/bar area of the restaurant.”

Someone else added, “Yup. One manager will hold the health inspector up in the front of the house while the back of the house is busy labeling and making sure minor violations they visibly see are dealt with.”

The health inspector’s surprise visit is necessary for the restaurant game. It keeps everyone on their toes and ensures that your dining experience is as safe as it is delicious, so no harm for you, right?

16. Microsoft Excel

person hacking a computer
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A discerning Reddit user commented, “Microsoft Excel runs the entire global financial industry.”

Another added, “Ditto to this. I have dual degrees in Supply chain, Information technology, and data analytics. Any time I’ve been given the choice of using some kind of database or advanced system, I’m choosing to work through it in Google Sheets or Excel. A lot of folks are the same.”

Now, think about the stock market, banks, insurance companies, and pretty much any financial institution you can imagine. What do they all have in common? You guessed it- they’re swimming in a sea of Excel spreadsheets. They use it for everything – tracking investments, analyzing market trends, and managing your savings account.

17. Locksmith 

Young handyman in uniform changing door lock.
Image Credit: M-Production/Shutterstock.

A Reddit user wrote, “Locksmith here. We can get into any lock/door within 30 seconds. All the posturing and bringing out an impressive toolkit and hammer drill is just showmanship to prolong the call-out. 30 seconds flat.”

Another person shared similar thoughts and mentioned, “I’ll never forget when my neighbor in London locked herself out. We waited for a locksmith to come over. He literally opened the car door, looked at the neighbor’s front door from a distance for about 2 seconds, then pulled out a long bent rod, walked to the door, stuck it through the letterbox, maneuvered it around for a couple of seconds, and the door was open. 

(He undid the bolt from the inside). 100 quid, 15 seconds of work. But you don’t pay for the 15 seconds; you pay for the decade of practice required to do the job in 15 seconds :).”

So here’s the inside scoop- that impressive toolkit isn’t what it seems. In reality, most locksmiths carry simple tools that can handle 99% of lockout situations.

18. Corporate Service Apps

woman working home on her couch on a laptop
Image Credit: PeopleImages.com via DepositPhotos.com.

A person commented, “When an app pops up with a ‘do you like this app?’ thing, the Yes button goes to the App Store for a review, the No button goes to an internal complaint process. This, on average, filters upset customers away from the app store and artificially raises the app score by a whole star on average. That is the only way most corporate service apps have 4 stars.”

Someone else added, “A long time ago, the company I worked for would only show this popup if we detected things were going well in the app, no errors, etc. So even seeing the prompt in the first place is already biased towards people who are likely to rate positive.”

So, what’s the deal with this sly strategy? Well, it’s all about the app store ratings game. Apps want to climb the ranks, get featured, and attract more users. And to do that, they need those shiny five-star reviews.

19. Bakery Items

Woman selling fresh bread
Image Credit: Goodluz via DepositPhotos.com.

One said, “A very popular local bagel shop/bakery I worked at advertised that all of our baked goods were homemade (dozens of muffins, Danish, cinnamon rolls, etc.), and they were not. They all came from Sysco, frozen on sheets. Many customers would rave about the baked goods, saying they were the best they’ve had. God bless them.”

Another added, “It’s pretty remarkable. I work in the grocery business for a chain of stores that’s well-known for its prepared foods. Like 90% of what we “prepare” in-store is just stuff that comes in pre-cooked and frozen. 

All we do is either let it thaw or heat it up in a big steamer. You know what? It’s all pretty good. Not home-cooked good, but pretty freaking tasty. It amazes people who have had our stuff that almost all of it was frozen solid 2 days ago.”

Behind the scenes, bakers have a few tricks up their flour-dusted sleeves. They often use frozen dough or pre-made pastry to whip up their mouthwatering creations.

20. Buying Bulk From Quarries 

Portrait of selfish senior man crossing hands on his chest..
Image Credit: Koldunov/Shutterstock,

A discerning Reddit user commented, “If you’re ever buying bulk gravel/sand/crushed stone from a local pit/quarry that has scales to weigh the amount of product you’re getting- you’re getting ykw because you’re paying for water. Most of these pits/quarries spray out of their stockpiles before/during operation to make the material heavier in the truck. 

Never buy by the ton- always buy aggregate by the cubic yard. It’s a measure of volume- not weight. Source: I own a rock crushing business/multiple quarries, and I charge by the cubic yard to not be mean to the public :)”

Another person pitched in to say, “It is. I worked for a quarry and there were DEQ limits in place to keep dust down. Most of our water trucks were used to spray down the roads in and around the quarry vs. on the stored pits. The equipment would otherwise create huge dust clouds as they moved around.”

You see, quarries often sell materials by weight or volume. They scoop up rocks, sand, dirt, and sometimes a dash of water into their trucks and dump them into your pile. And you are paying for those, too!

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This article was produced and syndicated by A Dime Saved.