30 Secrets Large Corporations Don’t Want Customers To Know, Shared By Ex-Employees Interview
When you suddenly have a deeper appreciation of how things work behind the scenes at global companies, the scales tend to fall from your eyes and the penny finally drops—corporations aren’t your friends. Not really. This little insight might not be anything groundbreaking, but the secrets leading up to it might just grab your attention.
Musician and video content creator Anna J., aka @annaxjames, asked people who used to work at companies, like retail and restaurant chains, to share the secrets that only employees know, and they delivered. We’ve collected the most intriguing responses to her viral video, and we’re bringing them to you, alongside other employee secrets from all over the web, dear Pandas. While some of these secrets are disturbing or sneaky, others actually give customers an advantage, so long as they know about them.
Scroll down and upvote the confidential insider info that you possibly had no idea about. And if you’ve ever worked for a large company, why not share what you’ve learned while there, in the comments?
Bored Panda reached out to Anna to have a long talk with her about her viral TikTok, whether or not there's such a thing as a 'perfect' job, potential red flags at the workplace, and how she has been creating music and video content since childhood. For her, having creative outlets is very fulfilling.
She was kind enough to answer all of our questions very honestly and clarified a lot of things that she wish people knew about the video. For one, she doesn't hold any grudges against the company she worked at in 2013/2014. She also stressed the fact that the brand has changed a lot of its practices for the better in the time since then. And she shared how fame on TikTok and in the media had some downsides for Anna, too, though at the core of everything, she enjoys creativity in and of itself, not for the sake of views. Scroll down for our in-depth interview with her. Meanwhile, if you'd like to see more of Anna's videos or learn about her music, check out her social media links here.
I work for a casino. Pro tip: Don't go.
Anna, who is American, made the video while being isolated during a "super long, strick lockdown" in Toronto, Canada. Making TikToks was her way of passing the time. "Every day, I was just pumping out new TikTok content every day, all day, because I had nothing better to do. I've always loved hearing about my friends' silly jobs that they had as teenagers in high school, so I thought it would be funny to hear other people's stories," she told Bored Panda that she enjoyed hearing about people working at donut shops, dry cleaners, and elsewhere.
"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," she explained that if she were to make a similar video now, she would be far clearer and far more careful.
"I honestly don't really hold any hardcore grudges against Hollister. I was just sharing my experience and telling a story because I was out of content ideas and thought it was interesting because the company was known to be immoral in the early 2000s. I know the business has changed its practices since I worked there seven years ago," she pointed out.
When you go to a store, for example, you see like Oreo or Kellogg's and then you see the store's off-brand. It's called private labeling. The name brand company is producing the exact same product for the private label, that is significantly cheaper, but just as a different label. If you guys are familiar with the store Aldi, they actually require for their private label brand to have better specs than the name brand.
So for example, this company that I worked for, the name brand had a certain standard that they had to hold, but Aldi had a higher standard. So not only are you paying less at Aldi, you're getting a better product for way cheaper. Literally it's the same product in the kettle and they just swap out the labels at the end, but I'm going to make more.
In fact, a representative of Hollister had reacted to her video and had this to say: "As Anna states in her video, the brand is different than it once was. We firmly believe her past experience at Hollister is not reflective of our current brand." Anna told Bored Panda: "I think although Hollister has changed its values and hiring process in the past decade, I think my experience there as a 17-year-old in 2013/2014 is still valid."
On the one hand, the viral video "was really beneficial" to growing Anna's TikTok account which she sees as a blessing. On the other hand, she's slightly nervous that she may not have been painted in the most positive light in the media. She thinks that being called a 'former employee who spills company secrets' is "not a great look if I'm ever applying for jobs in the future."
"It's funny, too, because 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 told Bored Panda how the video impacted her.
Trader Joe's edition.
If you are walking through the store and see anything on the shelf, want to know what it tastes like, find a crew member and they will open it up for you. And you can try it.
We were able to give away flowers at any time. So if someone came in saying, oh, they had a bad day, or it was their birthday or something special was happening, we could go pick up flowers and give it to them.
Musician Anna, from Atlanta in Georgia, started the viral TikTok video off by sharing her experiences working at the clothing company Hollister and how “kinda messed up” things were “back in the day.” There were two positions working at the store: back stock and model.
If you wanted to work the front of the house and interact with customers, you “had to be attractive.” You were rated on a scale of one to ten during an interview and then you either qualified or you didn’t. As Anna put it in her video, everything was based on looks at the time when she worked at the company years ago.
No job is perfect, but there’s a pretty broad line between a soulless and exhausting gig and a calling that makes you proud to work where you do.
In Anna's opinion, everyone has a dream job. However, once you actually get the job, it becomes work. "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," she shared her opinion.
"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."
The "garlic butter" we put on our pizza crust is, in fact, garlic margarine. There's no dairy in it at all. I'll get customers calling in every once in a while who ask for soy cheese and no garlic butter, and if I'm feeling nice I'll let them in on the secret you they can enjoy that garlic-y goodness without worrying. "Garlic butter" just sounds more appetizing than the truth.
Editing for clarification/disclaimer: I work for a local pizza joint, not a chain. I deliver. I have nothing to do with making any food whatsoever. I know butter is healthier and that margarine isn't vegan, I don't care. You're ordering a f**king pizza, if health is your main concern you dun f**ked up already, son.
She continued: "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."
However, Anna still remains optimistic. "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," she highlighted the importance of creativity in her professional life.
I worked at Subway, which is franchised, so I doubt this is the same for every Subway you visit, BUT: When the meat is defrosted to be used, we had like 3 days to sell it. After that we'd have to throw it away. The franchise owner and area manager would often intimidate staff into keeping the meat on sale for up to 7 days to cut costs.
I reported them to corporate of course.
Anna also revealed to Bored Panda more about herself as a musician and a content creator. She's been pursuing both paths since her childhood. "I've been making content since I was 11. Before Instagram and 'clout' even existed," she told us, longing for the carefree days when numbers were completely irrelevant.
"I would just upload videos because I genuinely loved making them, and I'd never pay attention to how many views they got or how many subscribers I had. I've always created and posted silly YouTube videos growing up, and now thanks to how social media has evolved and new platforms have been introduced, I'm turning content creation into a part-time job that actually pays me, which is really fun," she said.
Used to work at a waterpark. Nine times out of ten when the pool is shut down for "maintenance" or "low chlorine levels", it means that someone shat in the pool
Similarly, Anna has been playing and writing music since she was 10. "The dream has always been to make music my full-time job. I'd love to be a touring musician, and content creation is just a part of that job now in this digital age, which is convenient because it comes naturally to me, thanks to years and years of practice and posting."
For her, music and content creation are her creative outlets. It's all that she's ever wanted to do. However, it's not all fun and games. She takes it very seriously. "I treat it like a job and I show up every day. I post daily on social media, and I work on music for an hour or so every day, even when I'm not in the mood. I'm learning to produce my own tracks, and I love the challenge of pushing myself to create something better every time I release a new song. I just started prioritizing my solo project, and I have a lot of fun songs in the vault that I'm excited to release this year."
You don't have to get a GED. It's just one type of high school equivalency, but GED is synonymous with that concept so people don't know there are other options. Pearson likes it that way because they can charge $120 per test, with most of that money going to Pearson.
Pearson doesn't want you to know that, depending on availability, you can also take the HiSET or the TASC battery of tests for half the price or less.
Until a few years ago (before Pearson stepped in) the GED cost $10 to $20 in most places.
EDIT: Not all colleges accept all forms of high school equivalency. And often the HiSET or TASC can be almost as expensive as the GED. Unfortunately it's complicated and you have to do your research. Depending on where you live, you might be screwed either way.
Added context because I didn't expect this to blow up: For decades the GED was dirt cheap because people who need a GED are usually broke. And then magically when education giant Pearson showed up, everybody had to charge ten times as much because one of the easiest ways to get rich in America is to exploit poor people.
Anna currently works in marketing, and she told Bored Panda that even if music and content creation remain her passion projects outside of work, she will still be happy because having these creative outlets fulfills her.
"Most creatives usually have to work a full-time job that isn't their art in order to financially support their passion projects. Creatives can absolutely be happy working a 9-5 to pay their bills and to allow them to pursue their passion projects in their spare time. I think that's something that a lot of artists don't talk about, the day jobs that financially support their art. I think all artists live somewhat of a double life with two different career paths simultaneously," she said that there's the art and the career that supports the art.
The USA famous brand MyPillow and its "official pillow of the national sleep foundation" means nothing since the owner created the group.
I work at a big store in The Netherlands and at the end of every advertisement week we have to make sure the shelves are almost empty so it will look like almost everything sold out and the products we sell are popular. In reality we still have a lot in the stockroom but this way people will buy it faster because 1) it's on sale 2) it's almost sold out 3) it's a popular product 4) they think the company as a whole is doing a great job.
It isn't really a big secret but I thought it's quite funny.
Generally speaking, when people read media headlines about workplace issues and extremely demanding work environments, some of them tend to think of Amazon. Earlier, Bored Panda interviewed an Amazon warehouse employee who spilled the tea about what it’s actually like to work for the company.
The worker, who goes by the username Somethingslightlyclever on Imgur, said that working at Amazon is stressful and lonesome. They opened up that the only thing still keeping them at their job is that they have an earpiece and can listen to audiobooks during work hours in secret.
I used to work for IBM. It was well known within IBM that all projects would be significantly understaffed. This meant that the people working on those projects would work their assess off. We were all salaried employees so we made no more money by working 80 hours per week compared to the normal 40 hours per week. IBM did make more money however since most of our projects were billed as time&materials (effectively hourly). When some internal people started complaining about the excessive overtime IBM offered them the option of becoming an "hourly" employee. This meant that they no longer had access to healthcare, 401K etc, but they would be making significantly more money, in some cases more than doubling their previous salary since they would be getting paid for every hour worked. IBM didn't think many people would choose the hourly option, thinking that their benefits plan was enough to keep people there as salaried employees. Of those that were offered the option, something like 95% chose to become hourly. Every single person that chose the hourly option was fired within one month. That meant that some projects that were already understaffed were even more understaffed. Many projects were cancelled or delayed because IBM chose to use these employees as an example of what happens when you complain too loudly.
Scientist here. About 50% of all published results cannot be reproduced in another lab. A lot of statistics are tweaked with to get results that are 'statistically significant', which is skimming the edge of what's legal and what is not.
I take donations at Goodwill. We throw away a good 90% of what we get.
“We aren’t supposed to have them, but I hide mine. It’s the single biggest factor in staying there. Before getting that, I was losing my mind. The job is as boring as counting change. It’s terrible being stuck in your own head for 10 hours a day over and over. I was talking to myself. Being able to focus on the audiobooks or music has saved my sanity,” they said.
“They constantly come by and tell you where you stand and what you should be at. It’s like a broken record. I don’t mind having to walk 5 or 6 minutes to the bathroom or 8 minutes to the break room. I do mind them getting on me for not being productive during that time,” the employee said that the company could loosen up a bit when it comes to enforcing quotas and efficiency.
Here's some Domino's secrets. First off, if you don't tip the drivers, they memorize your address and they don't want to take your orders. If you do tip, they'll give you extra toppings, sauces and all that.
If you get [bad] food it's because the pizza is put on a scale and you're only allowed to put a certain amount of cheese and toppings on it. If a manager or the owner sees that you're overtopping, you will get talked to.
Their marinara sauce is just a concentrate mixed with water and you just stir it in a big tub.
The vegetables and meats all come in bags, some are fresh and some come canned. They don't always wear gloves when they're putting your vegetables in tubs.
They have this thing called the food pit of toppings that fall below the pizza. They make workers pick that pit and put those toppings back in their container.
That's why there's cross-contamination and you'll find random [things] in your pizza.
The thin crust comes in a plastic.
This is true of academia in general but you have no idea how much money textbook companies spend on wooing professors. Just to give a couple examples: the last time I went to the big conference in my field, which was held in Atlanta that year, Bedford-St. Martin rented out the Atlanta Braves stadium, bused everyone at the conference there (about two thousand people), gave us a free buffet that stretched through three rooms (we were up in the box seats) with an open bar and they opened up all the games in the back hallways for us to play. Pearson's party was far more modest: they rented out the Coke museum, gave us all free tours and their free buffet only stretched through one freaking room (but with much classier food) but still had an open bar.
Just in case you were wondering why those textbooks of yours are so expensive.
(I haven't worked at Homegoods in 5 years so things could have changed in that time, but I doubt it)
Homegoods is a lie. You're not saving any money. There are no deals there. These price tags that say "Compare at" and "our store price" - completely made up.
The Amazon employee pointed out that working at one of the company’s warehouses isn’t the worst thing in the world and actually suggested that people “give it a shot” so that they make up their own minds. The work environment can vary a lot, depending on the country and specific warehouse.
“Being able to listen to audiobooks while at work is the only reason I’m still able to work there. That being said, there is a rumor that they will be taking our phones away soon. In which case I’ll have to leave,” they told Bored Panda at the time.
Former sandwich shop employee. They put soy sauce in the tuba salad. There, that's the secret recipe. Manager made me sign an NDA about it. Spy sauce. Shhh.
edit: misspelled. Meant "french horn" salad
Our chinese manufacturers will be more than willing to supply us with a certificate assuring us and our clients that the cardboard and paper packaging for our new line of electronics is 100% recycled and eco friendly. 1000% bs.
I work for a pharmaceutical company. Don't just buy some expensive s**t, you can buy the same medicine for so much cheaper elsewhere.
I worked at McDonald's and I learned so much s**t, so much McDonald's. You think that they're just fast food and s**t, but they have so much science behind everything. So for example, your straw at McDonald's is larger. Do you know why it's larger? Because it lets more carbonation hit your tongue and makes the soda taste better. That's why it's better at McDonald's. That's why 7-Eleven little s**tty straws suck. Their grilled chicken is injected with a saltwater mixture to keep it moist, but also flavorful. McDonald's actually commissioned Coke for their own recipe of syrup. That's why their Coke has a little bit more sugar and a lot more flavor. Their ice cream machine is made from whole whipping cream, and it's cleaned once a week. Did you know that Tyson actually makes the chicken nuggets? They're actually not that processed, and they're made by Tyson, and they're privately labeled.
Victoria’s Secret: they put the prettiest girls on the sales floor and everyone else at register or back room. We were told to flirt with male customers and sign up as many people for the dumb store credit card as we could.
I worked at Hollister and I think it's different now, but back in the day it was kind of messed up. There were two positions. One was called back stock and one was called a model. And the model was like the customer service people who actually were on the floor and dealt with customers. In order to be a model, you had to be attractive and in the interview process, they rate you from a scale of one to 10. You had to keep your hair and makeup natural. You couldn't paint your nails, and you could only wear their clothes that were navy, blue and white, including shoes. So when I worked there, they only had the flimsy little flip flops and I just had to wear those on my shifts. And the reason they're called models is that apparently Hollister, like all of their ad models, all of the models in the pictures were pulled from the employees, and on Black Friday, they always picked the skinniest girl and paid her more than everyone else to stand in the front with the shirtless guys. It was so much stuff, it was always just on looks.
So I used to work at Target, and when I found this out, I was like damn, this is about to save me hella f**king money. So Target actually price matches all of their competitors' prices, including Walmart, including Amazon, so you can basically just go to guest services, show them on your phone the price for like, a different website or a different company, and they would just go bloop-bloop-bloop-bloop up at the guest service, change the price up for you, and this works best with, you know how when Target sells like the Apple Watches or the iPhones, and they have like the extra one hundred dollars gift card or $50 gift card? Yeah, you can get a better price and you can get the gift card on top of that. So that's what I'll be doing at Target. It saves me hella money.
So I used to work for Whataburger. And if you haven't noticed, sometimes you get a really long receipt and at the bottom it says, if you complete the survey, you get a free burger with a purchase of a medium fry and a medium drink. We don't actually have a way of checking whether you did the survey or not.
So you could literally just write down numbers, like six numbers and use a coupon. And this is how I know that we can't even deny it, whether we find out that you didn't do it or not. There used to be this old man who would literally come in to ask for a pen and write six numbers down right in front of us and use the coupon.
And we were not allowed to be like 'Sir, I just saw you. I can't take this.'
I work for a Fortune 100 financial office. I wouldn't trust 95% of the people with a cent of my money. There are a few decent people, but the rest dont give a s**t, they want the commission and the policy count. And a ton of them have either been sued, given strikes on their records, investigated for fraud and/or are not allowed to use wording due to their past behavior.
Do not ever use one of those milkshake machines. You know where you get the frozen cup then you put it in the thing and it shoots out your milkshake? They don't clean those.
I worked at Wawa and I would clean it every shift just because I knew other people weren't doing it. Even from one day not being cleaned, it's all mold up there.
The major gym chain that I worked for actively tries to discourage members from becoming frequent members.
How do they do this? They would start by putting treadmills and elliptical out of order, or preventative maintenance. And would keep them out of commission until attendance got to manageable levels where the gym did not feel so crowded and thus easier to sell memberships.
And getting out of a membership was damn near impossible.
All right, so I worked at Best Buy for the better part of a decade. Ironically, wearing a blue and yellow hat, not on purpose. So the big one is you don't have to buy that protection plan if you go back in the store and your product isn't working within a year. They can actually take it back right then and there and give you a gift card for credit. And if they tell you they can't honor a manufacturer warranty, they're full of s**t. Ask for a manager if you're going to buy a cell phone from them, just know that it's more expensive to buy it from Best Buy than it is in a carrier store. The carrier store, it's going to be about one hundred and fifty bucks off. If you're ever going to buy an open box TV or a big ticket item, try to get it on a Saturday night because they need to hit their numbers for the week and they'll be more willing to work with you to get a deal done. If they try to sell you an HDMI cable, just say no, you can get the exact same thing on Amazon for like four bucks. The last thing is they actually lose money on computer sales. So when they try to give you a bundle deal with whatever accessories they have, you're actually not getting that great of a deal.
I sell cars. Most of the time you wont find the OTD price on the paper because they want you to get to finance and "include" your warranty in the payment. The verbage makes it sound free. It is not free.
Dominos pizza tracker isn't accurate. Employees can enter s**t on the computer to make your order to appear at a different stage than it actually is. The horror.
I worked for a home security company. 2 big secrets:
About 90% of the salesmen are lying douchebags that will say anything to get you to sign up and then think they can hold a contract against you, but if you complain enough to the right people, the legal department will cancel your contract outright.
The equipment is super cheap despite the fact that they tell you that you are basically paying for the equipment over the length of your contract so that you don't have a huge up-front cost. The parts for an average home with an 8-piece system, panel included, only run about $800 at-cost (if that, but it depends on the stuff you get), but you will pay out several thousand over the length of your initial 3 or 5 year contract. Any extensions on top of your initial contract with no new equipment or services is money straight into the pocket of the company. Monitoring ends up costing the company a few cents a day when you break enough systems across enough operators. If "peace of mind" is worth that to you, then go ahead and sign up. Monitoring service is excellent but the equipment is s**t.
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