30 Company Secrets Spilled By Ex-Employees That People Are Not Supposed To Know Interview
There are a lot of things that your workplace wouldn’t want you sharing with the general public. And God forbid that their secrets (aka the cold hard truth) actually end up on social media in plain view of everyone and anyone!
Unless you’re bound by a series of watertight non-disclosure agreements that last years and years, you’re free to spill all the tasty gossipy tea about your former workplace when you leave. And those secrets are some of the juiciest, most fun things to listen to. And useful, too, whether you’re a customer or someone who’s actively seeking a job there.
Fitness coach and TikTok content creator Anna Armagno Toussaint started a trend where former employees shared their company secrets. We’ve collected the very best responses. So grab yourselves some tea, some biscuits (or a healthier snack), and get ready for some behind-the-scenes looks at what happens in major corporations.
Bored Panda got in touch with Anna, and she was kind enough to asnwer our questions about her video, her take on company loyalty, as well as what parts of TikTok she enjoys the most. Scroll down for the full interview, Pandas!
The employees of the Lego brand Lego stores, the yellow ones that say Lego on them, are paid based on the success of the company, not based on the success of the store. So if you buy your Lego sets from a toy store or from Walmart, or from a bookstore, Lego store employees still benefit.
So our job at the Lego store is not to sell you Lego, it's to make sure you have a good time. If you have a good time with Lego, you can buy it anywhere and we will benefit. Because our job is to make you like Lego, we're super nice to you. And if you're nice to us, we will be even more nice to you. I've literally given Lego pieces to people who were nice to me, we're allowed to do that.
Nobody gives a s**t how much money you spend at the Lego store. The only thing that matters is how nice you are.
Anna told us all about the inspiration behind her video. She had great intentions and didn't expect the TikTok to go as viral as it did.
"The initial inspiration for the video was the Victoria's Secret Semi-Annual Sale. I worked for VS in college, and though my managers treated me well, there was definitely room for improvement as far as company employment policies were concerned," she explained that the company had some room for improvement.
"I just figured my 140 or so followers at the time could save a few dollars!" Anna said that this was her only goal. However, the video quickly took off. Anna believes that it became popular because "people are frustrated when they see poor practices, but whether out of fear, lack of safe workspace, or something else they don't feel they can change anything by speaking up."
So this is for the people that like to buy name brand products. I used to work for a company called Via John and we bottled things like mouthwash, baby powder, alcohol, all that stuff.
So basically when you go out and you buy something like Listerine, but say, for example, you go to Walmart and you see the Equate brand - it's the same product. It's the same exact product just put in a different bottle. So when you're buying the name brand things, you are paying extra money for the bottle it's in or for the sticker. So buy smart, and if it has 'compared to' on it, usually you want to go with that product because it's the same as the other.
I used to work for a major manufacturing company. Everyone knows the name if I told you what it was. We made everything from tape to pharmaceutical manufacturing equipment. In our marketing space, we had a free area where products that we as employees or in my case, I, as a contractor could bring home for free, no questions asked. A lot of the stuff was used for marketing photography. At which point we couldn't sell it.
One day, someone dropped off a giant clear trash bin bag, full of very nice yellow and green sponges (might help if you know what brand I'm talking about here). I grabbed probably 10 or 15 of them.
I mean, we're talking about a bag that had hundreds in the thing. I came home and started using them. These sponges did not get stinky. They lasted each one a minimum of six months. I ended up giving a bunch to my mother. And they just held up far better than everything else on the market.
That would have been several years ago now, they were never introduced. They were never sold to the public. They were never branded, packaged, anything like that. They disappeared into the ether and I'm going to guess it was probably because they lasted too long and were a bit too good for the world.
Bored Panda was interested to get Anna's opinion on what brands can do to inspire long-lasting loyalty in their employees. She opened up that, in her opinion, it's all about treating people well and not ignoring minor details that might be important to the workers.
"Maybe even ask their thoughts and do what you can to create psychological safety so there is no fear of messing up. So many people shared 'secrets' about food being affected (dropped, touched, expired) before sold, being disrespected or mistreated, and unfair pricing. These are all things in management's control to fix," she noted the issues that other TikTokers raised in their videos in response to hers.
For two years, I worked at the largest social media company in the world. Let's call them Smacemook or Vetta. I worked in advertising operations and yes, they are listening.
I used to work for Starbucks a long time ago, and here's some secrets. Most of the time, we used to spell your name wrong on purpose. We just get told, "Spell their name wrong. They'll do free advertising for us". You're going to put it on your social media, you are going to talk about it. If it goes viral, you've just done an advertisement for the company.
If you're rude to your barista, they will give you decaf coffee. Tastes the same. You're just not going to get the coffee kick you need. Likewise, if you're nice to your barista, you are going to get stuff knocked off. They won't charge you for extra shots. They won't charge you for extra syrup. They'll make your coffee beautifully. The love you give them is the love you're getting back. Look for the person with a black apron. Now, I don't know if they do this anymore, but those people are coffee masters. They have been trained to make beautiful coffee. They know what they're doing. They'll make it expertly.
Most of the staff will have tried all the foods and all that. So get them to make you something that they think is nice. 'Cause I'm telling you, it is always a winning combination. Might not be on the menu, but they'll mix a couple of flavors together to make you something beautiful.
I used to work for a very large chain bookstore that's very litigious, so we won't name them. Sheds and Royals we'll call them. And, they get those big comfy chairs that they have in the building steam cleaned twice a year or so.
I came in one day and was watching the guy do it. And all this stuff was coming out of the chair as he was using this machine. And I thought it was a chemical. And I said, "That's pretty funky looking, man, what's going on here?" And he's like, "Oh, that's urine". "Pardon me?" He's like, "Oh, yeah. Anytime you go to a public place and they have all these fabric chairs and stuff, don't sit in them because they're usually full of piss." So that's a thing.
"Respect goes a long way," she added. "I know retail and restaurant work isn't easy, which is where a lot of discontent is. I've done both! Just treat people with respect—coworkers, customers, and employees. Employers have to stay in the black, but keeping skilled staff will keep people coming back and keep your secrets safe."
Anna also revealed a bit about herself. She told Bored Panda that she initially created her TikTok account to see her Beachbody business. However, she quickly found that she prefers the 'BookTok' side of the site.
"My real goal is to chat with other book lovers and maybe be represented by Book of the Month or Barnes & Noble or similar. And maybe meet my favorite creators," she said that her top 3 creators are Caffeinated_book_worm, Therealrahulrai, and Elysemyers.
"Most of my posts are about reading or my husband/dog. It's easy to be passionate about the things you enjoy! My advice would be to find your niche and crack yourself up, which is generally what I do, no matter the views."
So I worked at Taco Bell for almost three years, and I'm here to tell you all the truth. So, ground beef is in fact real ground beef. It just has a lot of water and seasoning in it. But it's safe, I promise. The grilled chicken - I promise it's real grill chicken. You're fine. Go ahead and eat it. The shredded chicken - run, run the opposite direction away from the shredded chicken. You can swap out the shredded chicken for grilled chicken on any of the items, FYI, but the shredded chicken is all the bits of the chicken that you don't want to eat. And I promise you, eventually you're going to get a bone.
Also, the steak, so disappointing. 'Cause I know it's like the most appetizing thing. It's 90% gelatin. If it gets left out for any amount of time, it turns into a slab of gelatin. Just trust me and stay away from shredded chicken and steak.
I don't know if this is a secret. A little bit of research would give you this answer, but I have owned an incorporation services firm for about 15 years. Still own one. I've been through several brands bought and sold over the last 15 years.
But if you're trying to open a business, you do not need to go to LegalZoom or BizFilings or Form-A-Corp or any of those other service companies to do that. You can just go to Google and type in SOS, and then the two-letter abbreviation of your state and that'll take you straight to the secretary of state for your state. And it'll give you instructions there on exactly how to file the company.
It's not difficult and you'll just pay whatever the filing fee is instead of paying a service fee to that company. And I can tell you this confidently, not putting myself out of business because people are still going to call me to do the work for them.
So, for all you guys on a budget trying to start a company, that's the way to do it. Good luck.
I worked for GameStop from 2011 to 2018. I was a holiday hire, assistant store manager. Knew how to do store manager work. Read the entire employee handbook because it would be freaking boring. Did every quiz, everything, all of it. So, because I read the handbook, I know for a fact that if you open a brand new game and you declare when you return it that it was too mature for your child, based on the ESRB rating, they have to return it. It is in the handbook. It states specifically: 'can return new open games if it was too mature'.
So do with that information what you will.
Dirty business secrets and insights into the work industry are popular topics on TikTok. This isn’t the first time that Bored Panda has pulled back the curtain and shone the spotlight on all the mysterious goings-on—both mustache-twirlingly evil and surprisingly positive—in various companies.
For example, musician and TikTok video content creator Anna J., who used to work at Hollister when she was a teen, went viral after spilling the beans about their workplace environment. However, she stressed to us that she doesn’t hold a grudge against the company and that they themselves have changed a lot of their practices for the better over the years.
There are pros and cons to going viral on TikTok for criticizing your former workplace. For instance, in musician James’ instance, all the attention helped grow her TikTok account. On the flip side, James is incredibly nervous that she might be unemployable in the future because companies might be wary of someone who shares their secrets if they’re unsatisfied. And her name is easily Googlable.
I used to be plus-size. I worked at the mall at a famous plus-size clothing place. And in training, I asked about selling the clothes. Like, you get bonuses and commissions if you push the credit cards and I'm like, why not the clothes? And they were like, well, we are a credit card company that also sells clothes, not a clothing company that also has credit cards. That's not just the plus-size fashion industry, although it explains why you have trouble with plus-size fashion, but any place that pushes that credit card when you get to the register. Now you know.
I only worked at Claire's for like a summer, so I didn't have that much time there, but I do know - don't get your ears pierced at Claire's. Don't let your child get their ears pierced at Claire's. And definitely do not let your infant get their ears pierced at Claire's.
I only had to watch my manager do two piercings before I was allowed to start doing them. And I only ever practiced on a teddy bear before doing it on an actual human being. A literal teddy. We were told to lie to the families. If they were worried about their child having any type of allergic reaction to the metal, we were told to tell them that the safest metal we had was the 24-karat gold option, which was obviously the most expensive, but that's not true. The safest metal at Claire's is actually the cheapest for $15. You get surgical-grade titanium. Yes, there's less options and they look less pretty. They don't have as many gemstones, but you can always change it later. And it's the only metal Claire's has that's surgical grade.
I worked at this HR technology company that recruiters use and the first screening of a job application is usually done by AI and it captures tokens, keywords related to the job. So if you're applying for a sales job, it's looking for selling, sales, business development, things like that.
So if you fill up the white space of your resume with all of these tokens in white font, so it's not seen on your actual resume, it'll likely get picked up by the AI wave of the technology for your application because it's finding more keywords and it's giving you a better ranking.
"I did not expect the video to get as much attention as it did, and I honestly kind of regret posting that video now. I wasn't clear enough in the video that I only wanted to hear the secrets of the silly jobs that people have had and not necessarily lifelong, professional careers. I worked at Hollister when I was 17 and a senior in high school, I would never make a video about any of the career-building jobs I've had in my adult life," James told us earlier that she would be far more careful about these sorts of videos now.
"I would love to put on my resume that I started a viral TikTok trend, but the subject of it isn't the best look. I'm now much more aware of what I post on the internet," she said.
"Everyone has complaints about their work, but I think a perfect job is getting paid to do something you absolutely love and are doing already," James shared some of her thoughts about the job industry.
While I was in high school and after I graduated, I used to be an assistant manager at Michael's. Some things have changed since I was there, but here are the things that remain true.
A few times a year, Michael's does these $5 grab bags. They are filled with everything that didn't sell when prices hit 90% off. And some of them are really good. I've personally put together grab bags that are worth probably $300 or $400 retail. I would say the average is between $75 and $100, but they are basically always worth the five bucks.
Another secret is don't ever pay full price at Michael's. If you do, I'm judging. Michael's always has coupons. They used to do better ones before the pandemic, like 50% and 60% off, but if you join the rewards program, they will give you a coupon instantly. Michael's also does tons of discounts if you're like a teacher or a nonprofit. So just ask at checkout. Most of the time, I just gave people discounts.
I have worked at quite a few restaurants in New York city, maybe like four or five, I think. And I promise you this. If you've been to a restaurant in Manhattan, they have rats. They have rats. I did not say mice. I'm not talking Ratatouille. I'm talking, Master Splinter - big, huge rats.
And you're like, well, I am not seeing them? Because rats are afraid of noise. So when you come in in the morning, that's when they're there. When you open the restaurant, they're there. But then once the people started moving around more, you go around clanging pots and pans and the more people show up, the more the rats stay away.
I'm telling you, especially if it's Manhattan, especially if it's accessible from the first floor. Oh, baby! Yes. Yes, that restaurant has rats. I remember going into work on days, you walk in the morning, you just smell that a rat has died somewhere in the walls, somewhere inside of a booth and you can't find it.
So the amount of covering up... air freshener and candles, yeah. New York City Manhattan restaurants are nasty. And there's probably going to be a bunch of us commenting a little thing like, oh yeah. Guaranteed. And anyone that tells you the restaurant does not have that - don't believe them.
So I'm sharing this information because I know it's going to help a lot of people, especially if you drive a car in the United States. I used to work in the service industry with all the mechanics and everything. I was a service writer for a company whose name rhymes with Sunday, but it starts with an H.
And they're really committed to service and making sure all of their customers are happy. And so they're very committed to their warranty. But if you ever have something that's out of warranty, it could be anything like your radio, your engine, anything. (I don't think it can be things that are aftermarket unless the dealership did it themselves) But pretty much, if you're told you have this huge expense, like your timing belt breaks, and you're just over a hundred thousand miles, they can goodwill it. You have to ask them, 'please goodwill this'. If you say those words, they're going to be like, 'do they work for corporate?' And they'll do it for free.
"I believe that red flags at a company for me personally would be: employees don't receive respect, discrimination of any kind, communication isn't clear between everyone on the team, your work is not valued,” she noted what employees should be aware of potential problems.
"Red flags at a minimum wage job or service industry job would most definitely be unsafe working conditions, inappropriate behavior from members of the team, discrimination of any kind, and unsupportive work shoes in the uniform, like what I mentioned in the Hollister video when we were only allowed to wear the flimsy flip-flops."
She added: "With the right working conditions, I think a 'perfect job' is one in an industry you're passionate about with people you respect and who genuinely care about your wellbeing. I, personally, will always be happy with my job as long as I have the opportunity to be creative in my daily tasks.”
I work at Texas Roadhouse and this is not a secret. They just don't tell you. With any meal, you get two sides. And instead of picking regular sides, you can pick an appetizer. Half an appetizer.
So you can pick, like, half of skins or half of mozzarella sticks. They're just not going to tell you, but you can get it. No upcharge, no nothing.
I used to work where they make diapers at. Not going to say a specific brand, but it was a very big brand. And inside the diapers, the part that soaks up the pee and the liquid, is a mixture of a cotton-like material that comes in these big bale stacks and a super soaker material. It forms up like snow when it gets wet. That material is actually a carcinogen to the point that in order to clean it up, we had to be respirator fit, tested, and wear a respirator. And I'm not talking about the little mask. I'm talking about the whole shebang, when you go to the doctor and they make sure it fits your face and they test everything because the material they're putting in diapers causes cancer.
I got one and it is terrible. So a few years ago, I used to do social media for one of the most iconic hotels in the world. Back in the '90s, this hotel had a live animal show. During one of the performances, an Asian elephant had broken its back leg. And for whatever reason, they didn't get him medical attention fast enough. And, apparently, he wasn't treated very well, but he ended up breaking his other leg. And so they had to euthanize him.
That part's terrible, but it's not the terrible part. The show and where the animals were held was underground. And there was only one large service elevator that was the access in or out. Well, after they put the elephant down, they realized that they couldn't get the body out. So they had to chop it up into pieces to get it out of there. Pretty sure with a chainsaw. And we were told that we weren't supposed to talk about it.
I'm gonna speak in a little bit of a code so that maybe I don't get sued. I worked for a person who was the head of plastics for a company that kind of sounds a little bit like Ronson and Ronson. And when I was working for them, I walked into their home with a plastic container and they said, 'Take that out of my home right now'.
And I was like, 'Hey, you're the head of plastics for Ronson and Ronson? Why would it be not okay to bring plastic into your house?' And I was like, 'It's 'BPA-free'. And they looked at me dead in my face and they were like, 'Take that out of my house now. There is no plastics allowed in my house whatsoever. BPA-free means nothing. It just means we replaced it with a chemical equally or more toxic that just hasn't been banned yet'. And I will never forget that. Do with that information what you will, but I do not use plastics in my home when I can help it.
I was a manager at a McDonald's. I worked there for about three years. For the tea, they have a red jug for the sweet tea and a green jug for the unsweet tea. These jugs are four gallons big and for every four gallons of the red jug with the sweet tea, there is a full four-pound bag of sugar emptied into it.
One pound per gallon of tea. Yeah, I stopped drinking the tea after I realized that because that's nasty.
Here's things that I wish that I would've never learned after working in banking for five and a half years. Let me just start by saying, please don't be upset with me. I want to apologize in advance for anything you're about to hear.
Number one: the bank does have a computer system that is designed to charge you as many fees as possible. So a lot of times when you're looking in your online banking, like your mobile app, and you thought that you had so much money and you see that you're just being charged fees, but your account was still positive, it was because on our end, they show that you were negative. So what they'll do is they'll post your charges and then post your paycheck so that you get overdraft fees, even though you thought that you had the money.
Second thing is the amount of money that we are stressed to lend out to people is horrific. It's insane. It is disgusting - the amount of money that I was expected to have lent out to people every single day. And as a banker, if you don't meet those goals, trust me, they'll make it your life's work to try to get those goals. So whatever it's going to take to get you a credit card or a car loan or a mortgage or a home equity line on your house that you probably didn't even really need, we got to do it. Most big banks are bad. Wells Fargo was just the one that got caught.
This part is important. A lot of you guys need to start checking with lost property. I hate to break it to you, but I have seen so many people pass away and have lots of money and safe deposit boxes full of valuable items that should have gone to the families who needed it, but because they didn't trust their family members with their money, and, legally, we're not allowed to say anything about it, it goes to lost property of the state, so y'all need to start checking on that. This is not to sound mean, but some grandmas and grandpas were never broke. They just told you that they were broke because they didn't trust you with their money. And I've seen people struggle with this. Like try to pay for a funeral. Meanwhile, I'm looking at somebody's account that has a hundred thousand dollars in it and they just didn't tell their family.
And please do not come at me for this one, but some of the most chaotically organized and proficient people in this world are specifically people who pretend to be homeless. I legally can't say that I know that they're not homeless and how much money and stuff that they have when I see them on the streets getting people for money because of how I know, like legally, I can't say anything and it sucks.
I literally had one of my clients come to me with a homeless sign on his chest and then proceeded to open up a bank account, go back to his home, and then come back to the bank with $4,000 that he had been keeping in his closet for like a couple of weeks.
I worked at Texas Roadhouse for five years. A couple of fun facts about the bread, the fresh-baked bread, two of those pieces of bread is the equivalent amount of calories as one Big Mac. So if you eat an entire basket of bread, you just ate the amount of calories as two Big Macs.
Also, the reason that they give you the bread in the first place and keep refilling it and refilling it is to get you fuller faster so you don't finish your entree and leave the restaurant quicker. So now you know.
So I used to work for Bath & Body Works, and this really isn't a secret, but I do get asked this a lot still to this day. And most of the employees should still be wearing a pin on their apron that says like a hundred percent guaranteed. But for those that keep asking, you can still return those old used products and tell them you did not like them and exchange them item for item. Even burnt candles, lotions, sprays, wallflowers, soaps. Yeah. All those. Just go in there and tell them that you did not like it. The fragrance, it's not burning right, or you didn't like the lotion, whatever. They don't ask questions. They will let you exchange them.
I have not seen anybody talking about Pandora. Okay. Pandora jewelry. When you shop at Pandora, you're literally shopping for sentimental value because there's not a single charm or a bracelet you can take to a pawn shop and actually get any cash back for it.
There's so little gold in that jewelry that it's worthless. It's all silver, it's all cubic zirconia. You wouldn't find a Swarovski, a diamond, a crystal at all. In that store is all CZ stones that we find anywhere.
And two, it varies from franchise to franchise. I worked at a few, some are really good at being organized and stuff, but a lot of them - it's dirty. They don't keep things up. You could probably look in between the things on the floor and you might find a charm underneath there, honestly, that filthy.
And we all steal, all the employees.
Many years ago, I used to work for this department store that rhymes with Boredstrome. When I first started there, I actually worked in the shoe department. One day, these ladies tried to come up to me and return a pair.
They were silver and they were actually kind of dirty. So mind you, she had no box. She says, "I want to return the shoes". I said, "how is that?" She said, "you just look it up and return it to my card". So instantly, I'm flabbergasted. And I go ask my manager about it. She says, yes, that's actually true.
So, of course, they try to go through all different avenues to see if you actually got the shoes from the store. But if they can't find it, it doesn't mean they're not going to return it. What they do is they actually look at the price of the shoe now. So say you got the shoe for $500 back then, and now it goes, like, for $375. During that time, people are going to take that $375.
Later that week, I actually had a lady who returned two pairs of shoes that came in a box. Oh, but she got these shoes 10 years ago. I asked her, "why are you returning those shoes?" She said she lost her job. Mind you, these shoes were like $500 each. As soon as I scanned them on a computer, there was a receipt. She got $500 for each pair of shoes. Oh, and mind you. They actually own their own bank. So as soon as you go to return something, it's probably in your account within 30 minutes to a day.
I used to work for PlayStation. When you have a problem with your 4, 5, I'm pretty sure they even still service the 3's - send it in, it's worth a hundred dollars. I think it might even be $150 for the 5's to get it serviced because if they can't fix it, you get a refurbished unit. You don't have to replace your system, you get a refurbished unit.
So I worked for a designer handbag store roughly about 11 years on and off between part-time and full-time. And this handbag store can be found at most outlets and factory areas in the US in most cities and towns. When you go into the store, everything in the front of the store is made for factory. It is not made the same way, and it does not use the same leather as the full-price store. If you are looking for items you may have seen in the full-price store, on the full-price website, head straight to the back. Those bags are the ones that actually come to get transferred from the full-price store when they are discontinued. That's where you'll find them.
I'm going to tell you about them, but I'm not going to say the names because you can still get sued. Okay. I was an envelope machine adjuster.
The people that worked in the factory that chewed chewing tobacco would spit their chew spit in the glue buckets. That glue went on your envelopes. That's what you lick to seal your envelopes.
Off-brand no-name bacon is the same as the name-brand bacon. It just doesn't look as pretty in the package, or it has a little bit of higher fat content.
If you go to eat somewhere that makes sandwiches like fast food-wise, possibly 12 inches, there's mold in the ice machine. And if you worked there and you say that's not mold, you have another problem. It's limescale.
Those big signs, like the big gas station signs, those poles only have a two-year warranty. I've seen the basis bust off of them before they even left the shop.
I've been offered a lot of money to do structural welding and use my certificates to say that other people's welds are my welds because they're not certified.
I used to work at Victoria's Secret. If you like the semi-annual sale, buy whatever you want, and then go back in 14 days and you can price adjust. They will let you do it (or they're supposed to). They don't like it, but if you're nice, you can at least buy that much additional stuff now that everything's half off.
When buying contact lenses, the same contacts that you get for three months, one month, two weeks, and one day are the same lenses. But I didn't tell you that.
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