Longtime ago, we asked our regular contributors through e-mail, what insider secrets can they spill about their profession. We got many interesting responses. Here are some of them. We have just copied and pasted their responses, not editing them in any way and most of the respondents have requested to stay anonymous, so no names will be published.
1-5 Insider Secrets Spilled
1. 90% of pest control is acting for customers. If a customer isn’t home, we spray it out, do a good job, and leave. If a customer is home, we spray it out, pretend to inspect things, spray things that doesn’t need to be sprayed, sometimes we go in the attic, etc. When we take money from your hand we try to make it seem like you got your money’s worth. Mostly we just waste time. I hate it. There should be do-it-yourself pest control places in your area, Google them, use them. Ask them for advice. They will help you do it yourself for way cheaper.
2. I used to work as a front desk associate for a big hotel chain. Hotels purposely overbook as they expect 20% of reservations to cancel or not show. The statistic is often accurate. There was only one instance where we had to send people down the road to another hotel because we were overbooked for an event and no one cancelled or was a no show. I am unsure if smaller hotel chains or those with more money or boutique hotels operate in this manner.
3. There is very little profit in new car sales. The dealership’s sales department makes its money from used cars, add-on products (extended warranties, GAP insurance, etc.) and manufacturer bonuses from hitting sales targets. Therefore the name of the game for new car sales is volume, not profits. The more new cars they sell and the faster they sell them, the more it helps their business. To get a good deal on a new car you don’t need to spend hours haggling. You just need to be honest about what you want to accomplish and get straight to the point, so the dealership can sell you a car quickly and move on to the next customer. Once you figure out what kind of car you want, just go online and look up what a competitive selling price is (Truecar.com, Edmunds.com, Kbb.com, etc) and then make an offer to a dealership that has one you want in stock. Something like “If you’ll sell this car, stock #X1234 for $xx,xxx I’ll be in tomorrow to pick it up.” If the dealership won’t play ball with you, email another one until someone agrees to your terms. If nobody will, consider going out a further distance or increasing your budget. Get your financing pre-approved at your bank before you go to the dealership. When you buy the car, tell them “I’m pre-approved at x.x% through my bank, but if you can beat their rate I’ll finance with you.” Usually they can save you a few bucks. If not, finance with your bank. Don’t buy any additional products in the finance office. Enjoy your new car. People make car shopping out to be a much bigger hassle than it needs to be.
4. Despite increased media coverage and several high-profile incidents in the past couple of years, most companies still treat information security as a nuisance and will do their best to skirt around implementing even the bare minimum standards required by regulation. Nobody wants to be the next Sony or Target, but at the same time most companies don’t want to spend the time and money on implementing and adhering to proper controls and policies.
5. I used to work at a chicken processing plant. One of my jobs was to remove labels from expired frozen meat and re-label it. Another interesting fact was that when pallets of frozen meat were lined up for quality control, they drilled a big hole in the middle box on the skid with a long dirty drill bit, smelled the hole, if it smelled funny they wrote REWORK on the box, that entire skid would be taken back to production and the smelly meat was ground up with the fresh meat until eventually it didn’t smell anymore!
6-10 Insider Secrets Spilled
6. Half the time when an airline “loses” your baggage it is because the plane is too heavy and it is easier to overload and then just unload luggage and to send it on the next plane than to get passengers off.
7. Pretty much every modern elevator cab will not and cannot free fall. There are counterweights attached to the top of the car that engage an emergency braking system as soon as a free fall were to even start happening. Also, you can’t get out of the elevator from inside if it were stuck, so don’t even try. A rescue worker must unlatch the escape hatch from outside the car to use it. So yes, you are stuck in there. But you won’t fall. Also, elevator shafts are the most fireproof part of any contemporary building. These code requirements pertain to the US. Other elevators in other countries don’t always install an escape hatch!
8. I used to work at a supermarket. When we tell you something is out of stock and you insist we check out back, we just sit down out back and use our phone for 3 minutes and come and tell you it’s out of stock.
9. I am an accountant, specifically a Hedge Fund Auditor. In our field, there is something called the ‘materiality threshold’. Basically, the materiality number is a certain percentage of a hedge fund’s total value, usually 3%, which is the MINIMUM amount of mistatement needed for us, as auditors, to look further into the difference in an account. My funds range in size from $50 million to $10 billion. In other words: Say I’m working on a fund worth $500 million. 3% of this is $15,000,000. If we find a mistake on the fund’s finances that is less than this $15 million threshhold, we do not care. We pass on it and move on. That’s a lot of fu***ng money to be ‘passing’ up on, and it could literally be anywhere. And this happens much more often than I’d like to admit.
10. My company is funded entirely from government grants, they waste huge amounts of money in IT because nobody really knows how much mobile stuff is worth, so whatever is proposed goes 90% of the time without question. Plus if they were too efficient with money they’re given less next time the pay check comes in.
11-15 Insider Secrets Spilled
11. Call center employee here. Just because you hear music when I put you on hold, doesn’t mean I do. I can hear every profanity you utter.
12. When you work in IT, you don’t need to know everything. You just need to know how to ask Google the right questions.
13. A lot of people know this, but, the police can lie to you. About damn near anything. If you are ever arrested, shut up. Request a lawyer. I can repeat this until the sun dies of heat death, but people will still talk to the fu***ng cops. You are so much better off just not talking to them.
14. Casino dealer here. If you throw your chips or bills at me, I’ll automatically think you’re an as***le who tries to look like a thug. You can complain as much as you want about being down 5K for the day. I honestly couldn’t care less. If you’re stupid enough to waste that much money on gambling and tell anyone who will listen, you kinda deserve it. The casino doesn’t cheat, but the house obviously has an edge on every game. Duh. As if we would run a business based on 50/50 chances. Our goal is to make profit while providing you with a fun gaming experience. We’re not a free ATM and we don’t owe you a dime. Stop complaining that I’m not paying out enough. If I greet you, it doesn’t take much effort to reply rather than ignore me, throw your chips on the table and grunt “Green chips.” If you don’t feel like acting decently and treat me like a machine, we have those neat electronic Blackjack tables instead.
15. If your flight is cancelled or overbooked, don’t join the long line of people harassing the gate attendant. Call the airline’s 800 number and the operator can do just about anything the gate agent can. Also, if you lost your phone charger, just go to the Lost & Found. They’ve got hundreds of them. It helps to say something like “it’s a bit frayed near the top” or something to add believability. This also works at some hotels.
16-20 Insider Secrets Spilled
16. My old job occasionally involved us working in a concession stand. One time my boss came running downstairs and said “Guys! Put the hot dog machine in the laundry room! The health inspector is here! We only sell pop and candy!” He gave us all an extra $20 from the cash box that day. I loved that job.
17. I work for a senior senator. We do not care about anything you say on the phone, mail us, or fax us. If you call to voice your opinion, the intern answering the phone will listen to you for a minute, tell you that they will be sure to let the senator know, hang up and continue surfing facebook. If you mail or fax a form letter (a prewritten letter from an organization that you just sign) it will get thrown out without a second glance. If you hand write a well thought out, calm letter, it may go into the mailbox of the legislative correspondent dealing with the subject matter, and you may receive a general prewritten letter on the subject a few months later. If you send casework it will be sent back to the office in our state, and I’m not sure how they deal with it from there.
18. The Roast Beef is not actually rare, it’s well done and dyed red.
19. We keep all the card details from our customers even though we say we don’t and aren’t actually allowed to. I used to work at a 4 star hotel. Every guest’s credit card info was stored in plain text in our database WITH their full name, home address, email and the CC’s security code. ANY employee who had access to either the office or reception computer could copy it down. It would have been easy as hell to copy down all this info, quit, wait a few months and engage in some serious CC fraud. Especially working the nightshift when I’d literally be in the only employee in the entire hotel so I wouldn’t have to have worried about being caught copying down information.
21-25 Insider Secrets Spilled
20. Baker-the vast majority of “baked in store” bread, muffins, and pastries can be traced back to about 5 companies that supply everyone from your independent small baker, to grocery chains, to wholesale clubs. I always laugh when people come into my store and rave about the local bakery’s rolls being so much better when they use the exact same premade dough we do (I used to work there). Cake and cake products are even fewer-3 companies provide 90% of the cakes you see in stores, and I’ve honestly never seen a cheesecake in any store that wasn’t made by the same company and then private labeled with a store brand or under a different company’s name.
21. Used to work at the Levi’s flagship store in San Francisco. We had a pair of the ‘oldest known Levi’s in existence’ framed on the wall in the boutique, and every now and then some out-of-towner would come in boasting about how rich they were and how Levi’s represents the American dream, yada yada, and demand the rarest thing in the store as a memento. We were told to direct them to the torn up old jeans on the wall, and tell them they were from the 1880s and had been found in a barn in the early 20th century. They would then fork out 1500 bucks or so an be on their way with their fu**ed up jeans, and we would replace them with another copy from the store room.
22. I work at a major chain restaurant with the word “grill” in the name. There is no grill. And all of the sides (veggies, mash potatoes, etc.) are microwaved.
23. I’m an analyst and supposed to be an expert in my field. The reality is I don’t know sh*t and make up most of what I do. I’m starting to think all my coworkers are this way as well. We’re just professional bulls****ers.
24. Home Depot. Every employee is given, by the CEO, $50 worth of wiggle room to put the ‘Customer First.” This means every dill-hole that works there has the ability to knock $50 off your purchase. There are times when employees are urged not to use it, but all have the ability. This includes price matching; Up to the $50 level, it is against company policy to question the customer (hint, tell them it costs $45 less at lowes, they will meet and beat for a savings of $49.50, poof- you have a drill for cheap and no proof is necessary). Also, anything that is on a green handwritten tag they want to get off their books and they will give you money off. All discounts are going to be higher on Mondays and Tuesdays (start of budget week) and even larger early in the month. Want to buy a bunch of clearance stuff they have? Has it been there a little while? Not in a hurry? Ask for the department manager and ask them if they can cut you a deal, and let them know you don’t mind waiting. I used to give big discounts on big clearance orders if they bought on the first day of my fiscal month, that way I could budget for it.
25. I work for a defense contractor that specializes in basically doing the thinking for the federal government. We are paid via no-bid contracts because we ‘save them’ money. We rarely work more than 2 real hours in a given day; I bring beer to work for the whole office (homebrewer) once a month and people get hammered and then return to ‘work’. We have a ’59 minute’ rule that basically says you can charge anything to main work so long as it’s less than a full hour. Analytical tools I create recycle the same core code over and over, with small changes. We code in matlab. We regularly talk about how fu***ng stupid the government is for paying us so much. My first month I was told to ‘slow down’ on completing tasks or there wouldn’t be any work available for me to charge to and that would ‘look bad’ for everyone else.