People Are Sharing The Dirty, Little Industry Secrets They Think The General Public Deserves To Know, And It's Wildly Informative

Reddit user u/Eastern-Violinist-46 posed the question, "What's a dirty, little secret that you know only because you work in the industry?" People from a variety of industries came forward to share some behind-the-scenes info, and their anecdotes were super informative. Here's what people shared:

1."I own a sign shop, and I can tell you with 100% certainty that almost all businesses fail within the first year. If you think you are going to open a restaurant or a boutique, you are about to lose a bunch of money. Also, no matter what business you want to start, go talk to your local sign guy and ask how many businesses have been in that location and failed. Trust me, we know which locations are cursed."


2."I used to work for a major talent agency in Hollywood, and a lot of the Academy voters never watched the screeners and let their assistants vote on their behalf."


Photo of the Oscar statuette against a plain background, positioned on a pedestal with a red carpet beneath it
Frederic J. Brown / AFP via Getty Images

3."I’m in insurance. If you call to request an estimate for a claim, they will count it as a $0 claim on your file when they deem the damage not enough to repair. That means when another company pulls your information, it will not only impact your future rates, but might make you ineligible for future policies. Don’t ever call insurance for an estimate first. Get a third party inspector to tell you whether you should file with insurance."


4."Always wash your new clothing before you wear it, even if it looks fresh and new. It’s been thrown on the floor, moved around a dusty warehouse, tried on by a sweaty post-gym person, and probably sat in a stinky, humid shipping container for two months. Plus, you want to wash off all the starching/finishing products which make it look so 'new.'"


Person's hands placing laundry into a washing machine
Ana Rocio Garcia Franco / Getty Images

5."People cleaning their underwear in kettles is a huge problem in hotels. We find so many forgotten underpants in the kettles, and I can't even assume how many we didn't catch. Don't use them. If you want a nicer room in a hotel, book with Dr. or Prof. before your name. That makes you way more likely to be bumped up. When you're traveling privately, take a card from any hotel testing company with you and give it to the reception when you arrive to enter as the 'address for your bill.' Staff will be extra nice to you."

"If you want to steal towels from your hotel, don't steal them on the day you're leaving. Just put one in your suitcase day after day and throw the remaining towels on a stack on the floor. Housekeeping will most likely not count them because they don't have the time, and they'll put a full amount of new towels in your room. As long as a full set is there when you're leaving, you'll be fine. We keep records about who was nice and who wasn't in our system. If you were nice, you're more likely to be bumped up."


6."Engagement ring business here! Oh, so many. Most natural diamonds have been in, like, two or three rings before they end up in yours. Rings are made with more fragile designs than they used to be, because after you get tired of it breaking/needing repairs all the time, you will buy a new ring, thus giving us more $$$. This is also why the trends nowadays lean toward dainty and minimalistic with a massive stone, because it's a ticking time bomb. This is also why a lot of jewelry stores won't stop you from getting stones that are too soft for daily wear (looking at you, opal). The largest diamond distributor is Walmart. Diamonds that jewelry suppliers discard for being 'ugly' end up on James Allen and Brilliant Earth."

"Platinum isn't necessarily a better metal than gold. It actually has just as many (but very different) flaws. We sell it like it's better because it's much more expensive. It's against the law for a jewelry store to say something is made of diamonds and gold if it's not, but these laws do not apply to Etsy sellers. The average woman's ring size is a 6, so we sell rings at a 6.5–7 so we can say, 'Oh wow, you're smaller than average, teehee.' The people who beat up their rings the most are nurses, teachers, and office workers."


Hands presenting an open ring box with a diamond ring, suggesting a proposal or gift
Jeffrey Coolidge / Getty Images

7."Leaving online shopping items in your cart while logged in will likely put you into an automated discount offer stream! So, if you intend to buy anyway, leave it in your cart for a few days and see if you get a marketing email with a discount code."


8."How dirty the fruits you put in drinks are. I quit getting oranges in my Blue Moons because I figured that orange drove up from Florida, got to North Dakota, was never washed, got cut up, and was put in my drink. Grosses me out."


"I barbacked for a bit at a craft cocktail bar. The backs were responsible for juicing and fruit garnish prep, among wayyy too many other things for how little we were paid. I always rinsed the produce (fruit/veg/herbs) in water before using it for anything. I was the only one who did this between the four barbacks and six bartenders. TL;DR: The fruit probably comes straight out of the box, and is used without any cleaning of any sort."


Person preparing a drink at a bar with various fruits and mint leaves displayed
Image By Marie Lafauci / Getty Images

9."There isn't a 'larger than normal call volume.' We just don't have enough staff. Also, your call is not important to us. We actually want you to go away."


10."I used to work in radio, and we totally didn’t take caller number 10. We maybe counted one through six, and then sorted through the callers until we found an excited sounding voice that fit the target demographic."


Studio microphone in focus with blurred mixing console in background, suggesting radio broadcast setting
Gesundheit / Getty Images

11."Before I would go on stage as a male dancer, we would inject our penises with solution and/or take Viagra because we were supposed to be, at minimum, half hard all night. We were not allowed to be fully flaccid unless we were dressed. Same goes in amateur porn. Because of this, it's very hard to feel pleasure and finish from basic sex, and it takes a lot to get it up for women, even if you want to."


12."Casino boss here. If a shooting or death happens at a casino (all the time), it’s almost never reported or shown in the news because local newspapers work together with casinos to avoid hurting the tourism in their city. You’ll only hear whispers about it from coworkers, and that’s it."


Blurred casino interior with slot machines and no identifiable people
Thomas Winz / Getty Images

13."Military-grade is a misnomer for high quality. While companies may sell high quality goods, deeming it military-grade would actually mean it's the cheapest, crappiest material that saves money right now and doesn't worry about 5–10 years from now because a new budget will be passed and the government will continue to be terrible with money."


14."I worked in grocery stores for about 40 years. Notice how most ice cream brands have lids that aren't sealed? When you're working stock, whenever a container falls on the floor, sometimes the lids fly off. Most workers just put the lids back on and put it on the shelf. It happens all the time. Always, always buy the handful of brands that actually seal the lids on, or you're just asking to get sick."


Aisle with a variety of frozen food items displayed in glass door freezers under a "Frozen Foods" sign
Katrina Wittkamp / Getty Images

15."Maybe not a 'dirty' secret, but I work in the VFX industry and was shocked when I first learned how much 'beauty' work is done on actresses. All those famous middle-aged (and older) women that have aged so well? Yeah, we’ve gone in and removed their wrinkles, crow’s feet, saggy neck, etc. Removing acne and acne scars from young performers was also a common occurrence. No wonder women and girls struggle so much with body image."


"So many projects have this now. Digital makeup, enhancing muscles, and removing guts. Interestingly, unless they are heavily involved in the production, the majority of actors/actress don't even know this work is being done. They're promoting their workouts and products believing they did work for them. A certain actress was unavailable for reshoots, so a stand-in did all the acting for a large sequence, and we replaced the face. I've even been asked to alter the action/expressions at times, which is much easier and cheaper than a reshoot."


16."Your loved one looks at peace in their casket, but what you don’t know is they have plastic eye caps under their eyelids that are (sometimes, not always) glued shut. There are either wires or sutures holding their mouth together and usually some cotton and a bit of wax on the inside to form that subtle smile. There might be a styrofoam block under their back to make the positioning look more natural and comfortable. There might be styrofoam blocks under the padding to help hold their arms in position. Depending on the case, they’re probably wrapped in plastic garments underneath the clothing provided. There is a LOT of smoke and mirrors in preparation of a decedent."


Wooden casket with white flowers on top at a cemetery setting
Rubberball Productions / Getty Images

17."I am working at a sports club with way over 2,000 members, and I can tell you, you might sign some paper about data security and how we handle data, but believe me, your data will go places you don't want it to go."


18."There are TONS of buildings out there that don't meet code, even new construction. Inspectors either don't care, don't know the code, or don't even bother to inspect in the first place. On the plus side, building code is extremely over-conservative, so if you get 'close,' it's probably safe. Maybe. Most of the time. Except when it's not. And then everyone gets sued."


Skyscrapers from a low angle view with clear skies and the sun peeking through
George Pachantouris / Getty Images

19."I work in the medical field. This isn't really about my field exactly but an adjacent field: health insurance. There is a guy reviewing our notes looking for reasons to deny a claim. The guy reviewing generally has no clinical knowledge whatsoever, but they are looking for certain keywords so they can stamp the 'denial' on the claim. For this reason, I will omit certain things on the clinical notes if it isn't directly applicable to what I am treating because I know from experience that they will use that word as in indication that the proposed treatment is 'inappropriate' and therefore denied."


20."I’ve worked in two commercial rest homes: memory care and assisted living. They cut every corner known to man. The kitchens are pretty much guaranteed to be eligible for immediate jeopardy, meaning that if they fail a random inspection, they will be shut down that same day. The monthly food budget was less than what salary workers got paid. Food would show up rotten right off the trucks, and we were still instructed to pick out the 'bad stuff' and feed the rest to the residents. The rent is so predatory to families and residents. It was upwards of $2,500–$3,000 for a single-person room every month WITHOUT utilities. The residents pay $50 a meal for it to come cold and mushy in a styrofoam box."

"On top of that, their money is all monitored and controlled by staff at the home, and they are only allowed to spend $150–$200 dollars of their own money in a month. The homes are so understaffed that dementia or assisted care residents would end up sitting at their dining table well past an hour after mealtimes. They would suffer bowel impactions that never got treated, leading to death for some of them.

The older men will, no doubt, sexually harass or assault you if your hair goes down to your shoulders, no matter your gender, and nobody does a damn thing about it. I’ve been hit, kicked, screamed at, and groped more times than I can count. HR says to suck it up every time it is reported. Nurses and caregivers would routinely steal pain meds and fudge the numbers on official charts. They would also leave residents sitting in their own filth for hours. We had a runaway dementia resident recently who was unaccounted for for about four hours. A community run search party found her body in the woods the next day. After that, the home shipped out all of their residents to surrounding homes without giving locations or contact info to any of the families. Basically, it’s terrible.

If you have a loved one in need of around-the-clock care, find a small, residential rest home that fits their needs. Never go commercial or chain because you will regret it. You will be sucked dry financially with nothing to show for it but a very unhappy or unhealthy loved one."


Two individuals holding hands in a comforting gesture, close-up on hands
Peopleimages / Getty Images

21."Video editor here. We often leave obvious mistakes in early versions of the cuts so that the client will note them, making them feel smart and involved, likely leading to them not making extraneous notes elsewhere. People in non-creative positions (the majority of committee clients) absolutely love feeling like they’ve contributed in clever and meaningful ways to a creative project when we, the trained creatives, know better. It can save a very solid edit from the people who want to make notes for the sake of making notes."


22."I worked at a company with a third party 24-hour call center. They literally had times with no one working, and if you called, the automated system would just pick up and say, 'Someone would be with you shortly.' It would just repeat until someone actually clocked in and answered the phone."


Person at a desk in a dark office with multiple computer screens, suggesting late-night work
Erik Von Weber / Getty Images

23."This is kind of a lame one, but I work as a shirt printer. I’ve found that if you’re an adult small, you’re better off buying a youth large or youth XL, especially on T-shirts. They’re a little wider, and XLs fit better than smalls. My sister learned this trick. She’s 5’0" and actually saved a decent amount of money buying youth vs. adult."


24."When items are listed on sale at the grocery store, the sale price will be listed on a bib part of the tag while the 'regular' price is listed on the sticky part attached to the shelf. The 'regular price' is hiked up, sometimes by several dollars, to make it look like you’re getting a better sale than you actually are, when in fact, the sale might actually not be that great of a deal at all. The sale price might even be almost as much as the price was before the sale. Pay attention to items at regular price when they are not on sale, and make sure that you’re not getting swindled."


Person selecting packaged meat from a supermarket shelf with various meat products and price tags
Grace Cary / Getty Images

25."Enterprise Rent-A-Car buys their cars straight from the manufacturers at a price lower than dealerships get. After they rent them for a year, they sell them to the public at a price higher than they originally paid."


26."Beyond the visibly captured footage, pretty much everything you see in wildlife documentaries is faked. I've spent the past few years working in post, handling the raw footage. Those lizards falling from the trees? There's a dude dropping them to get the shot. That rare snow leopard they tracked across its natural habitat? It's actually three or four similar-looking ones. That mother elephant protecting her baby? It's a male elephant with the tusks and penis VFX'd out. The sound is whatever the foley artist could find that worked. The audience expects certain sounds, and some animals don't sound like you've been tricked into believing. That's just the tip of the iceberg."


Two penguins appearing to "shake hands" standing on a rock by the water
Vicki Jauron, Babylon And Beyond / Getty Images

27."I work in large scale construction. Large developers effectively borrow on the credit of all of the smaller players who are their subcontractors. You have billion-dollar companies asking smaller companies to pay for them with a promise to pay later. The larger the developer, the slower the process is to get paid. If a project goes bust, it's these small guys that get hit because all of the developers have LLCs that are project specific. No assets to speak of."


28."So many of your favorite actors and actresses are wearing expensive ($8,000–$20,000+) hairpieces and wigs. I know because I put them on."


Hand holding a wavy hair extensions piece against a white background
Photographer, Basak Gurbuz Derma / Getty Images

29."I work in a call center for a large cellular company and have a dirty, little secret that consists of just two words. Ready? Be nice. That's all it takes. There's no need to threaten anyone, be aggressive, or take your anger out on us. We're real people just like you, not just a voice on the other end of the line. When you're rude, belligerent, or threatening toward us, that makes us want to do less for you. And, we will. We'll do as little as possible and maybe make you jump through extra hoops for being a pain. But, if you're nice, patient, and treat us like human beings, we'll bend over backwards to do what we can for you. We didn't cause the situation you're in. While it's reasonable to be upset about something, it's completely unreasonable to take it out on someone else. Talk to us. Tell us what's going on. Give us a chance to help, and we will."


"Seconding this. I worked in tech support for a few months. If you're nice, I will legitimately do my best to help you and might even throw in some freebies for your time. I've pulled strings that I shouldn't even be doing just to fix a problem. If you're mean? Oh well, I'm sorry, but I've exhausted all my troubleshooting options. I'll make a ticket for our developers to get back to you (and they won't even talk to you, they'll just leave you a voicemail saying it's your fault)."


30."Luxury hotels document EVERYTHING. The really ritzy places will make note on every single phone call/interaction you have. It's great for remembering special occasions and creating a really memorable stay, but it also means we know exactly how you're a pain in the butt. Irritate us enough and we'll be oddly busy and sold out for every night you're looking to book in the future."


Breakfast on tray with laptop on bed in a modern room, suggesting working during a leisurely morning
Thomas Barwick / Getty Images

31."Digital porn artist of 20+ years here. This isn't so much a 'dirty, little secret' as it is something I think people should really know about: Hollywood and 'society' may have ridiculous body standards for people, but most everyday people's actual interests/tastes are MUCH more broad and inclusive than that. Whatever your body is like, there are millions of people who would find you sexy. Whatever kink you have, you're not the only one. As long as your personality isn't garbage and you've got the patience to sort through the incompatibles, you can absolutely find a partner who would be into you. I'd put money on it."


32."I work in journalism. It's not uncommon for publishers and other top-tier managers to hold stories out of fear the reporting will anger advertisers. It's also not uncommon for reporters to fight like hell to preserve the integrity of a story."


Person working on a laptop outdoors, writing in a notebook resting on the laptop's keyboard
Xavier Lorenzo / Getty Images

33.And: "I worked in factory floor automation, and oftentimes, the generic products sold at supermarkets are just the brand-name product in different packaging. I worked at a massive bread bakery of a well-known national brand, and the bread was all the same. When they finished a lot of their brand-name bread, they paused the packaging line and loaded on a new wheel of bags and kept bagging bread from the same batch in whatever store brand was up next. I saw the same thing at an orange juice packaging plant. There was only one set of production lines, and they turned out a dozen different brands of OJ. It all came from the same oranges and from the same lines. It just got packaged in different cartons."


What are some other industry secrets more people need to know? Tell us in the comments!

Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.