A lot of jobs have certain things that are better kept on the hush-hush from customers just to make the whole operation run smoother. But sometimes those secrets are downright unscrupulous and maybe even illegal, putting employees in a very uncomfortable situation. It's really not fair to anyone involved.
Whether it's shamelessly recycling old food or straight up charging people for things they didn't ask for, these company secrets range from mildly questionable to straight up unethical. It's actually amazing that more of these haven't turned into major public scandals! Here are some of Reddit users' weirdest, most 'what the heck' stories about the secrets their former employers expected them to keep.
Maybe Not The Best Buy After All
“Best Buy’s discount is 5% above actual cost. If you are in a store and want to do a price check, find a register in computers or home theater, hit F4, then put the employee number 1 (default that employees use to check prices) in and scan away. If an employee comes up, just say you were checking a price; you won’t get in trouble and most won’t even care.
This could be helpful if you want to see if the deal is good or not at Best Buy (is it close to cost). Typically, if you find an item below cost online, it may be a gray market or have a really crappy return policy.
Some other things that are fairly obvious but may be worth knowing: there’s no commission at Best Buy, but employees’ performance does require them to sell things. Best Buy credit cards save Best Buy merchant fees, which is the reason they push them.”
Valuing The Shareholders Over Human Lives
“I work for American Medical Response (AMR) which is America’s largest private ambulance company. Their contracts with counties will specify response times that they need to meet in order to remain in compliance. Typical response windows are about 10 minutes in heavily populated areas, and 14 minutes or more in more rural areas. This compliance usually needs to be maintained to 90% or higher for all 911 calls generated.
Several times this year, we’ve been ‘too good’ after running compliance up at 98-99% for the month. AMR’s response is to cut staffing hours to save labor/diesel costs. They are willing to be late at the end of a month because they know they’ll still hit their monthly compliance requirement.
I personally think that’s despicable. Even though MOST 911 calls are bullcrap and not a medical emergency, somebody that needs a defibrillator right away could have a reduced chance at survival in the name of pleasing ‘corporate’ and ultimately the shareholders.”
They Were Definitely Not Lovin’ It
“I’m a former McDonald’s manager, and I don’t know if this is a company-wide thing but our regional McManager ‘strongly discouraged’ us from firing anyone who had worked there more than six months since they’d be eligible for unemployment. Instead, we were encouraged to make their lives miserable until they (hopefully) gave up and quit.”
Hotels Don’t Care About Most Customers
“I worked at a Hilton hotel where I had to stand for 8 hours straight and was given breaks only if the front desk wasn’t busy. There always had to be one person at the front desk at all times. Florida law doesn’t require breaks, but most companies do. Hilton does not.
Also, if you book a hotel room on one of those travel websites (Expedia, Travelocity, etc) then you are guaranteed to get the worst rooms available. Sure, if the hotel is completely empty, you’ll get a fine room. But if the hotel is half full, you’ll be getting the crappy rooms because you paid the lowest price. None of those websites can guarantee room type or accommodations and I’ve ticked people off MANY times because we didn’t have the type of room they thought they booked.
Also, shady stuff happens in hotels. Employees sleep in vacant rooms without telling housekeeping so they don’t get in trouble (and it never gets cleaned), plus they often have ‘quickies’ with other employees in the rooms.
Pro Tip: Be extra sweet and nice to the front desk people. They don’t get paid enough to hear people complaining at them for other employee’s mistakes. Also, it’ll get you special treatment if you’re having a problem.”
It’s Not Just Corporations, Either
“My mother, who was a school teacher in an inner-city middle school, was ‘strongly discouraged’ from failing any student for any reason. If you failed too many students, you would be sent to the worst school in the district. This policy actually ended about two years after she finished working there when a teacher’s final grades were changed by a principal who didn’t want to fail the students.
Also an incident occurred where one of her coworkers was assaulted by a student and had to go to the hospital because the assault aggravated her heart condition. She was told that if she chose to press charges, or if she leaked the incident to the public, she would be transferred to the worst school in the district. Welcome to the American school system.”
The Pets Are Shown No Love
“I worked at a pet store once and it was probably the worst job I’ve ever had. Animals were generally well taken care of in our store, but almost never touched or played with (unless the managers were gone). That pretty much made any animal we sold hostile to its new owner or even unmanageable.
It also sucked because when stupid kids would come in and want to hold animals, we all would groan on the inside, knowing we were probably gonna get bit. The kid was definitely gonna get bitten, too. Then they’d likely drop it in surprise and make us run around trying to catch it again. If the management had let us handle them a bit more, we wouldn’t have had kids freaking out over being bitten by a gerbil or a parakeet, or have people bringing the animal back when it wasn’t instantly warm and receptive.”
It Was A Bit Of A Free For All
“I worked at Kohl’s for five years and was a supervisor for three. We were encouraged to sign everyone up for a credit card, despite age, language barriers, etc. I absolutely hated signing people up for those cards because they mainly just wanted a discount. I would give them the discount regardless if they were approved or not, but if I didn’t sign enough people up, I would get warnings. The APR on them was 27%!
The jewelry cases were all opened with one key and were pretty flimsy; you could easily open them with a hard jerk. Also, a lot of the diamonds that were under 1/4 carat were fake.
If someone was returning something without a receipt, they would get a ‘corporate refund,’ and 95% of the time that meant they were returning stolen merchandise. We would tell them they’d get a ‘check in the mail.’ The other 5% was only if it was extremely old merchandise, like 3+ years old. A few people got the hint, and those that didn’t were in for a sore surprise when they would never get a check.
You could easily let a friend know your associate number, go to Kohl’s, say you work at a different store, give the number, and get the associate discount of 15%. If an item was returned and wasn’t noticeably damaged, it went right back out on the floor, no matter how long the person had it. Also, inventory was always wildly inaccurate, so who knows where all the missing stuff was going.”
The Whole Payday Loan Industry Is A Crock
“I’ve worked at a few major Canadian ‘alternative financial’ businesses, one of which has a major parent company in the US with the same policies. So what I’m about to say applies to Money Mart, Cash Money, Speedy Cash, and Rapid Cash. Those are some pretty major companies, so I feel confident that this is industry-wide.
There is no authorization system. Absolutely none. We talk it up like we have to put all this information in the computer and send it off to a head office for an approval, but there is no such system. Every decision is made by a living breathing employee right there in the store you’re in. We talk about this system to protect ourselves and to keep the crazies away. Those nuts will be ticked that we declined their check and wait outside to ambush us when our shift is over (all kinds of other security procedures are in place for that).
Handing me a check that looks like it was written in the same pen as your signature on the back? ‘My system is just asking me to verify this, I’ll be right back.’ No, it isn’t. I think you’re trying to hand me a stolen check.
Handing me a low-sequence check (e.g. check number 0003) from a numbered company? My first thought is it’s a fake business, unreliable, and unestablished. I’m probably not going to cash it. ‘Oh, I’m really really sorry, but my authorization system is down right now. Can you come back tomorrow?’ Then I can run a search to see when the company was registered, who it’s registered to, and so forth.
Do you want 70% of your net pay on your very first payday loan? ‘Hmm, I mean, I’ll try, but my system only usually approves 30-40% on a first loan…hmm, yeah, says I can only give you $200. I might be able to get you a little more if you have any references verifiable in the phone book, do you know anyone with a landline?’
Sending $2,000 to Nigeria with some generic test question about what their favorite color is? ‘Sorry, my Western Union system is down.’ Lady, that thing never goes down. You’re just too stupid to realize it doesn’t make sense for a nice 2-bedroom apartment in downtown Cityville to be $300 a month with a huge deposit and a landlord in a foreign country who will call his buddy to let you look around just as soon as he gets your security deposit.
We blame the system because it protects us, because it keeps us safe, and because it’s hard for you to argue or bicker with us when you don’t believe we have any say in it. But we do. The only time the person you’re dealing with face-to-face isn’t the sole person making the decision is if they’re a newer employee and they haven’t been deemed able to be trusted with the amount of money you’re dealing with.”
Their Policy Is Not To Care At All
“Someone close with me works at Forever 21 and told me that employees cannot ask or accuse you of stealing. They cannot do anything. Even if they see you put it in your bag, they can’t really do anything.
Mall security won’t handle it, and they don’t do loss protection. They cannot contain you, or chase you, etc. They can just comment that the shirt that’s in your pants would go nicely with a bracelet.”
The Secret Cruelty Of Pet Stores
“As a former Petland employee (for a franchise store), here are some of Petland’s deep dark secrets:
-We sign a paper at the beginning of employment basically saying we won’t talk about the store policies outside of the store. It’s just a paper, not a legal document, but they hire young kids so no one ever thinks to ask about it.
-You won’t believe the rate of parvo in the kennels. If you don’t know what parvovirus is, it’s a really awful disease that puppies can get that can lead to a very painful death. Dogs at Petland have died before because of it. When there is a parvo outbreak in the store, employees are told to tell customers, ‘The puppy you want to see is just feeling a bit under the weather and might have a stomach ache from eating too fast, so they can’t come out to play right now.’
-Think only puppies and kittens come from mills? Think again. All of the small animals and reptiles come from huge warehouses and mass breeding facilities.
-Veterinary care is only given to dogs and cats and the occasional rabbit and guinea pig. If a hamster or any reptile needs to see the vet, then too bad. The owners of this particular store did not want to pay for the veterinary care in any sense. We’re told to tell customers that all of our animals receive vet care from an in-store vet.
-Under no circumstances are we allowed to talk about the ‘breeders’ these dogs come from, apart from saying that they all come from ‘loving, responsible breeders that have been personally checked out by Petland managers.’ For the store I worked at, in particular, many of these ‘breeders’ never had a Petland representative step foot in their house.
-For the store I worked at, some of the puppies were purchased from the classifieds simply because they were cheap.
-A snake and a dog (separate occasions) were recently stolen, but the owner did not want to report it to any authority because they did not want any bad publicity. The dog could have been used for any number of horrible things (i.e. bait for fighting dogs) and the owner was much more concerned about bad publicity. I’m sure that’s not surprising.
Under no circumstances should anyone shop there (for live animals or products). That place is a hole. I can’t explain why I stayed there for more than five minutes as an employee, but I’ll do everything I can now to expose this horrible place.”
A Grossly Superficial Company
“I worked at American Apparel for two years. During the time that I worked there, the company implemented a company-wide recruitment policy where any person applying for a position must be photographed (one headshot, one body shot). The actual resumes were thrown in the garbage. These photos were then sent to a company email address where someone would either give a thumbs up or down to the photographs. Staff were encouraged to recruit instore and on the street and were given a $100 bonus for every person they got approved.
Before this was implemented, all existing staff were photographed (again, one headshot and one body shot). Anyone deemed to be physically unworthy was let go from the company. Of course, this wasn’t legal, however right before they started the process every employee had to sign a waiver form that was pretty much a lot of legal gibberish. I wanted to have a lawyer take a look at the form but I was told I had to sign it on the spot or I would be let go.
There was also a company intranet website which all employees were to check on a regular basis. It was CEO Dov Charney’s main line of communication to all staff. The site would have pictures of girls from the stores and he would rip them apart for having too-thin eyebrows, ‘ugly make-up,’ or bad tattoos and piercings. They were basically publicly shamed for not looking the way he wanted them to. He would also post memos saying things like, ‘HIRE MORE ASIANS.’ Needless to say, I no longer work for the company and will never shop there again.”
The Fraud Made Him Reluctant To Give To Charity
“I’ve actually wanted to get this out there cause it has really bothered me and its been a few years. I used to work at Dollar Tree and the store had a charity drive for toys during Christmas.
We would ask people at the end of their checkout if they wanted to donate a toy for the kids in active military families. The incentive for the cashier was to sell the most and you would win like $100 or something; I got second place so I don’t remember. Anyway, we sold what had to be thousands (so we thought).
It was easy since what’s one extra dollar, right? Well, whenever the customers bought a toy, it went into a big bin at the front. However, after every day, this bin was unloaded and was recycled to be sold yet again, over and over. I guess they figured we sold so many that every local kid would be buried in toys, but I will never forget it. It makes me sad and reluctant to donate unless I know it’ll actually go somewhere.”
They Loved To ‘Put Pressure On People’
“I worked for a famous mobile game publisher called Gameloft for many years. I was instructed to hire younger people over older ones, preferably with no children or unmarried, because ‘if they have a life we can’t put pressure on them’ and ‘if they’re too mature they won’t take crap from us, so no one 40 and up.’
Gameloft didn’t like it when the video game job market was good because, I quote, ‘We can’t put pressure on people because they know they can get a better job somewhere else.’ Yes, they loved to use that term, ‘put pressure on people’ because it was the only management technique they ever knew.
During the SARS influenza outbreak in China in around 2002-2003, when the local government forced some people into quarantine, the workers of the local branch were forbidden to go home until they shipped the current game (if they went home then the Chinese police wouldn’t let them into the office until the end of quarantine). I wasn’t a direct witness of this but I heard some of them couldn’t see their family for up to two weeks or more.
Top executives were stealing money from the company by declaring twice as many workers in their local Asian branch than they actually hired, pocketing the difference (the main branch would wire them the amount they needed). People who noticed or were about to notice were quickly scapegoated and fired. I don’t think the CEO ever knew or even cared. I wonder if they’re still doing it today.”
Who Cares About Meat Expiration?
“If you shop at a grocery store that sells whole rotisserie chickens, the chicken you’re buying probably isn’t older than about 3 hours (that was when we had to pull ours.)
However, if you buy a chicken pot pie or a BBQ chicken pizza, it’s hard to say exactly how long ago that chicken was cooked. Why? Because the chicken that we pulled after it sat for 3 hours, we pulled off the skin and tore the meat off the bones and then threw the meat in a big container in the prep fridge. So your Safeway chicken pot pie is made out of rotisserie chickens that no one bought.”
Always Double Check Your Receipt!
“I used to work at Petco. They had this ‘spa upgrade’ added to their grooming package which included special scented shampoo, conditioner, and teeth brushing. By order of corporate, each store had to sell a certain number of spa packages to meet the quota or they’d be written up.
The manager at my store added it on to every dog, even if the customer didn’t ask for it. Suddenly a dog whose haircut should cost $50 now cost $70. We had many complaints and lost a lot of customers.”
Wally World Is Pretty Stingy Toward Employees
“As a former cart pusher at Walmart, one thing I always noticed was how they pushed all of their employees, I mean ‘associates’ to work 39.5 hours a week max so that they wouldn’t get full benefits. That and the 10% discount card only worked on taxed items.”