People Are Sharing The Industry Trade Secrets That Only Insiders Know, And They Are Every Bit As Fascinating As You Might Imagine
Wait, I can do WHAT with a library card??
1. "You cannot copyright or patent a garment design unless it is a niche and rare design feature. Only trademarks and branding can be protected in the fashion industry. Literally anyone can legally copy any garment so long as they don’t use logos or other trademarked branding. This is why so many luxury brands slap their logos and such all over products they sell. It’s the only way they can designate something that could otherwise be copied down to the smallest detail. As such, many knockoffs and imitations are literally made by the same people in the same factories as the branded good, but with a slightly different logo or pattern. The finished products may be identical."
2. "US hospitals lie on their bills. All of them, all the time. Push them for a code-by-code breakdown and watch the total amount owed shrink. Ask them to reference each code choice based on physicians' notes and it shrinks again."
3. "When you shop at Walmart, you'll sometimes hear an announcement saying security cameras to zone six, or another number. Walmart plays these announcements at random, hoping that someone who might be stealing will think they’re being watched and decide not to shoplift."
4. "Attorneys can really only remember the details of about 20 to 40 cases at a time, so if you call your attorney after about a month or two (depending on the firm and how busy they are), they've likely completely forgotten your details and are working off a set of notes to pretend they know who you are. This is especially true if you've only interacted over the phone."
5. "The best way to get your cutlery perfectly shiny is by using vinegar. I learned this cleaning trick while working at restaurants and bars."
6. "If you call a call center and the person on the other line puts you on hold with no hold music, they can hear everything you're saying. I worked for an insurance call center when I was young. I had so many people accidentally confess to insurance fraud that way."
7. "I am a veterinary nurse at an emergency hospital, and we 100% give your pets cute nicknames and kiss them and let them sleep in our laps when it's not busy. And we always pick favorites 🥰."
8. "Arcade crane games have knobs inside that allow you to control how strongly the claw can grab. You can basically set the claw strength to weak and then change the setting in the motherboard to make the claw go full power after a certain number of plays. Essentially, the arcade or owner decides how often they want people to actually win."
9. "If you are involuntarily kicked off a flight because it was oversold, you can demand cash instead of a voucher."
10. "If you volunteer your seat on an oversold flight, you can negotiate more money and also a hotel and/or meal paid for by the airline."
11. "I used to work at Panera, and it shocks people that other than the meats, veggies, and salad dressings, everything comes in frozen. The pasta, soup, the dough for bread, bagels, and pastries are all frozen. The pasta gets microwaved, the breads and pastries are defrosted, baked, and decorated, and the soup gets tossed into what is essentially a hot water bath."
12. "Take it from someone in the automotive industry: Never buy the first year of any new-model car. Generally speaking, the last of a generation is the best. That's when all the facelifts and problems are worked out and the generation has matured."
13. "The repairperson who shows up at your house to fix something is usually the one deciding how much to charge you. Being nice to them can save you a lot of money."
14. "Health inspection is really kind of a sham. Health inspectors tend to inspect all the restaurants in a given area around the same time. When the inspector shows up at one restaurant, the manager will typically notify the other restaurants in the area. We would call in extra people to do a deep clean of everything. It did not matter that most of the year, every time we hosed out under the fryer or food prep lines, we drowned hundreds of roaches. When the health inspector showed up, everything was clean, so we still had a 100% on our health inspection."
15. "If you ship through FedEx Express and you're sending many packages/envelopes to a single stop, ship one Priority Overnight and the rest standard. The rest will all be delivered together with the priority package."
16. "If you can’t find a book at your local library, ask the reference librarian to do an interlibrary loan. They have access to large networks of libraries that are able and willing to share materials, sometimes even across state lines, depending on the sort of library and request. Also utilize the digital content! We have to pay big bucks and fight with publishing companies to get that content (e-books, audiobooks, etc.), and they are great resources. Many library systems also offer streaming content of movies and TV shows. Oh, and you can check out national park passes and museum tickets, too, at many libraries!"
17. "If a medical professional ever suggests you get a second opinion (for instance, a nurse at the doctor's office), that person may be concerned about the quality of the medical care you are currently receiving. In other words, you really should get that second opinion."
18. "At any fast-food drive-thru, the speaker box hears everything from when you pull up until after you drive off. If you talk crap about us, we hear it. If you are arguing with your other passengers or on the phone, we hear that, too."
19. "Speaking as an HVAC mechanical engineer, if you tell us you don't care about a specific brand, that will open up an entire industry of options. Almost all packaged equipment has the same efficiency and warranty, but some brands just cost way more than others because of whatever internal proprietary controls they have. I can often design you a system for 30%–50% less money if you give me the flexibility to do so. I can also show you a comparison to prove to you that two systems of different costs will operate equally well."
20. "In the United States, movie theaters spend more money on popcorn bags than on the popcorn itself."
21. "Kirkland products (the Costco brand) are independently tested to beat the industry-leading product in that category, whether it's razor blades or laundry pods. If it doesn’t beat the industry leader, they won’t put the Kirkland name on it."
22. "I worked at high-end golf clubs for years. Almost all politicians register their handicap scores under a false name. The US Golf Association handicap records are technically public information, and people would be pretty pissed if they knew how much time these guys actually spend playing golf."
23. "The only thing that is fresh and 'healthy' — aka not premade, bagged, and/or frozen — at, like, virtually all fast-food places is the tomatoes."
24. "I work in payroll. The number of payroll reports I see where people are conned out of their overtime is sad."
25. "When you play match-three games like Candy Crush Saga, after you beat a few levels, the game will make it impossible for you to continue. If you put your device aside and return after several hours, you will find the previously impossible level to be easy. It is a mechanism to prevent people from burning through hundreds of levels in one go."
26. "For every publicly announced data breach (whether that be a confirmed leak or the identification of a security flaw), there are about 50 other such incidents that companies sweep under the rug. Data security is complicated, and most organizations don't have the proper expertise to secure their data."
27. "Not all emergency rooms are equal. In the hospital I work for, we don’t have any sort of OB-GYN or pediatrics. Whenever a kid comes in, the nurses and doctors panic. This isn't because they’re incompetent but, rather, because this isn't what our hospital specializes in regularly. We will stabilize to the best of our ability, and we will immediately call the local children's hospital, but if you have a child in distress and you have multiple hospitals nearby, be aware of which emergency room is the best for your needs or your child’s needs."
28. "I am an accountant. If you have your personal tax return done by a form, then it's likely someone straight out of college entering your tax info into a tax program that you can use at home for a quarter of the price. Most accountants use TurboTax, Quickbooks, etc., to do their own taxes."
29. "A lot of animal donations get thrown out because they can’t be used. I would say around 10% is usable. I'm talking about open packets of dried food, old toys, bedding, and towels. Most of the time, it’s checked and then binned immediately. This can be due to risk of contamination, something not being clean, or the possibility that someone tampered with a product."
30. "If everyone being charged with a crime insisted on going to trial and there were no plea bargaining, the whole judicial system would crash."
31. "Most electronic medical records allow providers to put pop-up warnings in your chart if you act verbally or physically aggressive. So if you yelled at the ER nurse in 2017, the medical assistant you called today begging for a last-minute appointment can see it."
32. "I work in the tourism industry. Look up when peak season is for the destination you’re looking at. You'll usually be able to find cheaper prices at the beginning and end of the high season, but you should try to book at the beginning because by the end, seasonal workers are usually totally burned out. At the beginning of the season, everyone is excited to start making money again."
33. "I've worked in high-end rugs. If you own a hand-knotted rug, don't bother getting it professionally cleaned. If it's just wool (which it probably is), clean it with a pressure washer and some rug shampoo. Knotted rugs are super strong and can take it. I know high-end cleaning businesses that do exactly this and then charge lots of money for the service."
34. "You'll never resell that diamond at a profit if you're not in the industry. Just write that engagement ring off as a financial loss when you walk out of the store with it."
35. "Most fossils you see in museums are replicas. These days, they're usually plastic casts from silicone molds of real fossils, but 3D-printed replicas made from high-resolution scans are becoming more and more popular."
36. "The urine pregnancy test you take at the doctor's office is the same as the Dollar Tree version."
37. "If you are buying software for your workplace, get a quote and then go silent until the end of the quarter. Then call the sales rep and tell them you can buy it today, but you only have enough budget for 70% of the cost. Your chances for a discount go way up at the end of the quarter."
38. "I work for an optometrist. If you find a pair of glasses in a clinic that you like, they are likely marked up two and a half to three times. There should be a number on the inside arm of the frame, which should be something like 'AK2073.' Look up the number online and buy the frames straight from the manufacturer. It will probably be less than $100. Don't pay full price for glasses."
39. "Wash the tops of your canned goods before opening them folks. For the love of God, do it."
What's an insider's-only industry secret that those on the outside would probably never guess? Tell us in the comments!
Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.