People No Longer Bound By NDAs Share Their Wildest Stories
NDAs – or non-disclosure agreements – are legally binding contracts which are designed to keep top secret information strictly confidential. If you break an NDA, you could face being sued and potentially having to cough up some serious money for legal fees and compensation.
But NDAs don’t always last forever, depending on the terms drawn up in the original contract. If your NDA has expired or you’re no longer bound by its terms for whatever reason, you’re free to disclose whatever information it was that you originally had to keep under wraps. There’s not even anything stopping you from broadcasting your wild stories to the internet at large – which is exactly what the people below did.
Here are Reddit’s craziest stories from people no longer bound by non-disclosure agreements.
1. Sticking it to the man
My cousin was working his first job in marketing in one of the top marketing firms in the country. So he gets to the job and his boss starts hitting on him ridiculously. He’s invited to lunch, dinner asked if he wants to go to the boss’ weekend home, all the time turning him down. One time in the car his boss told him how quickly he would advance if he spent the weekend with him, and my cousin recorded the entire conversation.
He nopes the boss and then ghosts him on invites for weeks until the boss stops asking. Fast forward to three months after he’s hired and he’s doing his review with HR and his immediate supervisor is there. He starts to hear about how he’s not a good fit, not a team player etc. They let him know they were terminating him, and he grabbed the paperwork they wanted him to sign and put it in his pocket.
Then he pulled out his phone and played his bosses recording. After he was done, he looked at the HR manager and asked if she had anything to say. Three days later he as signing a nondisclosure and picking up a check almost big enough to pay for his three years of law school. For anyone wondering, no the guy who harassed him was not fired, and he has since been promoted again by the company.
2. A fake waterfall
My best friend worked at a roadside attraction called Ruby Falls. It’s supposedly a waterfall inside a cave. But the “waterfall” itself is barely a trickle naturally, and then only in the wetter season. They’ve run a pipe up there to supplement the falls, hidden by cracks and crevices and cemented over, and powered by a pump off to the side, which you can’t hear when the water is splashing down from 100 feet overhead.
Of course, with such a wet area, old electrical wires going back to the Great Depression, and 300 feet underground, it sputters, or shorts out and stops every now and then. The first rule in the Falls Room is “make everybody leave immediately if the power goes out”, not for safety, but because the fable agreed-upon will be shown as fake.
3. Clandestine cupcakes
I worked at a small bakery in New York City when I was younger. Every morning the bakery would take their day old cupcakes and deliver them to a tour company that did Sex and the City tours. The tour company would pass our cupcakes off as cupcakes from Magnolia, a significantly much more popular bakery. People never realised that they weren’t really eating Magnolia cupcakes.
4. An interesting secret ingredient
I used to work for a large gas station chain. I worked at its warehouse where it creates a lot of the donuts. The room was really hot so we were always sweating. There’s some machines where the donuts get glazed in chocolate. They’re these small machines they look almost like a BBQ grill. They always wanted us to be super fast glazing the donuts.
Working in a hot room and working at super fast speeds it was natural for a lot of peoples sweat to just drip in the chocolate underneath us. Never eat the chocolate donuts from a gas station.
5. Money talks
I was wrongfully terminated by a past employer. They low balled the settlement offer and withheld payment on my accrued vacation (this part was actually illegal). It took about a year to get to the point where their attorneys realized that we were not lying about them holding back the accrued vacation and this caused them to make a more than generous offer to make my claim against them go away.
6. Space race
I was a contractor for NASA. I still fully support the agency, but I was extremely bugged when I learned that each separate NASA center (e.g., JPL, Kennedy, Ames, Goddard) hides many of its inventions and breakthroughs from the other centers. This is so that when HQ is ready to assign a big mission (and a lot of dollars) to one center, they have a better chance to compete over the others. “Look what we invented! Ames can’t do this over there! Give us the next moon orbiter!”
7. No spoilers
I had to sign an NDA to be cast in a pretty big movie this year with a bunch of Marvel people. I know literally nothing of any value to everyone. All I did was dress up and stand out in the snow staying perfectly still and freezing my a*s off next to Tom Holland for a week. I may have just been an extra but it’s an experience I’ll never forget, that’s for sure.
8. Why you shouldn’t eat from a buffet
The health inspector says anything that’s left open buffet style can’t be taken back and repurposed because it’s not monitored and could be cross contaminated or many other things, but the company I worked for was unhappy about the money they were losing by composting the food so they make us keep it and re-serve it later or repurpose it into soup or casserole or something.
Personally I never did this and just waited for my boss to leave and compost the food but others I worked with were too worried about losing their jobs to go against orders. I didn’t want to be fired but felt morally obligated to not feed people food that was meant to be garbage, so I just sneaky tossed it out when nobody was looking because I got paid really well there. We all had to sign NDA’s saying we wouldn’t tell the media or non employees about recipes and procedures that covered leftover food and food waste.
9. Big money
The $100 million electronic component broker that I worked for shafted me out of $900k in commissions when I was in my early 20s. They assumed I would not have enough money to fight them in court and they took their shot. I got a lawyer on contingency, sued them, and took home a $500k settlement in 2000. The 20yr NDA recently expired.
10. Small town scandal
My graphic designer best friend won my town’s “design the centennial logo” contest, despite having never set foot in the town. I worked for the radio station, and just did an interview with one of the organizers, where he lamented that there weren’t very many entries. So I called my friend and said, “Want in on this?” He said, “Sure!”
As he lived on the other side of the country at the time, I spent the next day texting him photos of the town for inspiration. Anyway, when he won and they found out he was a professional graphic designer who lived on the other side of the country, they made him and me sign NDAs because the town was afraid people would think they brought in a ringer.
11. The more you know
If you’ve ever used VeriCite, the loading spinners you see when the report loads aren’t waiting for anything. People kept complaining that reports were coming back too fast, so it must not be working right (it doesn’t take long to complete a few hundred Google searches simultaneously). So the loading spinner just makes you wait a few seconds longer so it feels like more is happening. SO glad to finally get that off my chest!
12. “The Joe Exotic of construction”
I used to work for a construction company in rural Texas, and man we did so much shady sh*t. Honestly my boss was like the Joe Exotic of construction. None of our haul trucks could pass a state inspection because he was too cheap to fix them up. He always paid the OSHA inspector off because he knew our shops couldn’t pass inspection.
We had mountains of scrap metal in the woods. Mountains of old oil buckets stacked in the woods. We had an old rail car in the back that was full of oil/hydraulic/transmission fluid. The cap was off so when it rained it overflowed and would just drain into the earth. I can’t count how many times we would get some equipment in and he would tell us to dump the fluid into one of the ponds.
13. A great excuse
Moments after I was unceremoniously fired because my tech skills were found to be insufficient, the bosses who fired me demanded to know the whereabouts of a hugely important computer file I had worked on. I refused to help them. I even cited the exact language of the NDA I was compelled to sign. “I am prohibited from disclosing details of my employment with anyone, including past and current employees of the company,” I expounded.
Now I think I can disclose the truth: I only hid behind the NDA language because I had no clue where to find their damn computer file or even where to look. I suck with computers.
14. Thank God for that
I used to work at a zoo. One day, electricity failed, so the polar bears and wolves were able to break out of their barbed wired compounds. Zookeeper told me this while I was located in a kiosk that was situated right next to both the wolves and polar bears. Yikes. Luckily, they decided to not test the fences that day.
15. An eventful day at the amusement park
I worked at a zoo/amusement park and ran the rollercoaster. I was one of only two supervisors for this ride because it was very difficult to learn and you could hurt someone if you weren’t careful. So we have this hotshot, been working there for 3 months. He tells our boss that he should be promoted to a supervisor, and our idiot boss gives him the go-ahead. So Hotshot puts this girl, we’ll call her Courtney, on the rollercoaster and ‘trains’ her.
I come in for my shift, Hotshot waltzes up to me and says, ‘guess who trained Courtney on kiddie coaster?’. I couldn’t have ran faster, by the time I had gotten to the ride, the poor girl was losing her mind. Courtney couldn’t stop the coaster itself. Those people were stuck on that coaster for probably 20-30 laps when we usually just do 2. I had to sign an NDA after a whole bunch of customers threatened to sue the park.
16. Poor pups
Popular dog kennel I worked for would have people leave their dogs for long periods of time. Dogs would stop eating. They wouldn’t tell the owners this. People would leave beds and special toys and treats for their pet thinking they’d get these items, a little slice of home. These items would go in a trash bag and it would be set aside, treats would be thrown out.
17. Laughing all the way to the bank
The shop I used to work at sold whippets (nitrous cartridges) behind the counter under the guise of being “cake ingredients.” It was so easy for people to buy them – all someone had to do was walk in and say they were looking to bake a cake. I’m not sure if they still do it but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they were.
18. Save your money
If you create your own business cards at the Design and Print station at a certain office retail center, you’re paying 4-5 times what you should because the whole system is done through Vistaprint.com. You could literally design and order the same amount and quality of business cards from your home for $10 as opposed to $39.99 or more you’d pay in the store.
Sometimes Vistaprint will run promotions where you get 250 quality cards for free. But if you order them at this office retail center, you’re gonna pay out the wazoo for the exact same thing.
19. Grades do matter
The university I used to teach at did not care what prospective students got for entry into the university. In multiple meetings I attended, they treated students as headcounts towards better course statistics and if a single student was underperforming in a single semester, instead of removing them they would give them JUST ABOVE the threshold to stay on.
This happens across a lot of universities. Final grading decisions were not down to me but course directors and head lecturers. I had raised it multiple times to an anonymous hotline at the university, but nothing was ever done.
20. Sneaky shops
Stores like Ross, TJ Maxx, Marshalls etc. don’t actually sell overstock and cancelled orders. Most of the merchandise is private label with a made up MSRP [manufacturer-suggested retail price]. The name brand stuff you do find, is typically made exclusively for them. And it’s lower quality. Those Michael Kors handbags are lower-end materials and do not carry a warranty like ones bought in full line stores. Those stores focus on the hunt with made up MSRP’s to trick the customer.
21. Worst employers ever
Found out my company had been manually adjusting my time punches to avoid paying me overtime. In order to get the pay, I had to sign an NDA saying I wouldn’t tell anyone about it and just take it on their word that they’d stop doing it to everyone else. To this day I still don’t know if they actually did stop, but I have a horrible feeling that they didn’t.
22. Not OK
As a content moderator, a lot of people have a huge problem with trauma from what they see sometimes. The higher ups tried to cut mental health services and check ups down to one 15 minute session every three months. Honestly, it was so messed up given how disturbing and genuinely scarring some of the content we had to go through was.
23. A dodgy deal
The brand-new luxury apartment building I was renting a studio out of for $2500 a month was built with substandard materials by unlicensed contractors. After we got all of our rent back as a settlement, we had to sign a non-disclosure and the rent went up for the new wave of tenants. It was awful but I was mainly glad just to be out of there.
24. The most magical place on earth
Worked at Disney World for an internship, where they have their own police and fire station and hospital on grounds called Reedy Creek. If anything were to happen in the parks, a Cast Member or guest were harmed or needed medical assistance, they INSIST you call 911 from a Disney phone so that it will go to Reedy Creek, not the Orange County Police Dept so it is completely under the control of Disney.
If you didn’t have access to a Disney landline and absolutely HAD to use your cellphone to call the police, once the Orange County police answered your were required to request to be transferred to Reedy Creek to report the incident.
25. Dough or cheese?
I used to work at a company that made small frozen mini pizzas. You know the kind… they came in packs of 4. Each layer of 2 was joined together. About 5.75″ across. They had crust, sauce, 5 slices of pepperoni, and shredded cheese. After being cooked, there was some melted cheese. There were also some shredded cheese bits that didn’t melt… they browned.
The reason for that is simple… mozzarella cheese is expensive, shredded frozen dough is dirt cheap. The “shredded cheese” was about 65% cheese, and about 35% shredded dough. They didn’t have to list it on the ingredients because the dough for the crust was the exact same. So, yeah, if you ever see brown bits on your ‘cheese’, it’s actually dough.
26. Squeaky clean
I used to work for ConAgra foods, specifically the Hebrew National Hot Dog Plant. It’s honestly all amazing, the rabbis are nice and the hot dog making process is not as gross as everyone thinks when the meat is all beef. There is probably a small amount of cleaning solvent in every hot dog you eat though, they spray that sh*t everywhere.
27. Invasion of privacy
Many years ago some phone carriers from the UK, Spain and US were offering a service where voicemails could be automatically converted to text messages. This process was in fact not automatic, instead all those private messages would be sent to call centers in third world countries (such as mine in the Dominican Republic, but I learned another in India also handled the same service) where we would manually type everything we heard in those messages and then send it out. Everything was under NDA and you weren’t even allowed to use cellphones.
I was interning for a global consulting firm almost 20 years ago and we had a client show up looking to recruit 3 folks for their finance department (CFO, Senior and Junior accountants). At the final round of interviews, I was invited to sit in as I was the intern and I should probably learn something. The ethics question was asked: “would you be comfortable maintaining two sets of books, one for the government and one that is true?” Everyone who answered no was immediately removed from consideration.
29. Behind the scenes
I once worked for a company that tracked how much Hollywood movies earned at the box office. We had so much data that the studios got concerned and demanded we all signed NDAs. The NDAs were sent on the precise day I was transferring teams. I, as far as I know, was the only employee who was not required to sign an NDA.
Best tidbit? Lilo and Stitch opened the same weekend as Minority Report, but it was Minority Report which [apparently] grossed the most money for the weekend. This was a lie. Minority Report actually earned slightly less, but 20th Century Fox couldn’t have a Tom Cruise feature film being out-earned by a cartoon, so a deal was struck with Disney to allow Minority Report to be reported as having a higher gross.
30. Think of the children
My old Christian school made my parents sign an NDA about their worship practice. I spent more time [learning about] Jesus than math; when I transferred to public school in 4th grade I was absolutely astounded at the concept of multiplication. They also taught that girls needed to be subservient to boys and let them do whatever they wanted, which resulted in a power dynamic issue and a lot of bullying. No parent could sue the school for child endangerment because of the NDA.
31. Flying high
I used to be a helicopter pilot for a tour company in Las Vegas. Many of our guests come in nervous for their flight tour. Even though commercial flight is leaps and bounds safer than driving. But what is really scary is how our managers value profits over flight safety. If the helicopter isn’t flying, they aren’t making money.
For example, there was once a huge, and I mean massive, thunderstorm on my flight path. It doesn’t take a genius to realize aircraft and thunderstorms don’t mix. I told my manager I wasn’t doing the flight that day. My manager asked me, “you mean you wont even try to fly through the storm?” I said nope, finished up my paperwork, and went home.
32. Code theft
The company I worked for openly encouraged us to steal code from open source projects and make it look like our code. There was a whole team whose job was to make sure the code looked like the company’s. And they kept filing for patents world over as their own. It is for this reason that I try to never pay for software and always go for open source. At least you know the vulnerabilities.
33. If it’s good enough for them…
The cosmetics company I worked for sold shampoo for dry hair, tangled hair, greasy hair, curly hair, fine hair, straightened hair and colored hair. It also sold dog shampoo for puppies and another for adult dogs. It was all the same shampoo, bottled differently and with a couple drops of different perfumes mixed in. You’re best off just buying the cheapest one.
34. Stale cakes
The coffee shop I worked at updated the expiry dates when they were reached. They didn’t change the desserts until they were sold. This place would literally refuse to waste any food or money, even if it meant risking the health of a customer. It was so gross and I was so shocked they did it. I never buy cakes from coffee shops now.
35. Treated like royalty
Did a gig at Windsor Castle for Princess Zara’s 21st birthday. Jazz trio, cocktail hour. Prince Andrew was the only noticable royal I saw. Anyway, I’ve done hundreds of gigs over the years and been fed some pretty questionable meals and I have to say I was disappointed and honoured to be served microwave lasagna in the royal armoury on that occasion.
36. It’s what’s on the inside that counts
I used to work for a place that made brand-name lotions, shampoos, conditioners, face creams, etc. All organic. Well, you know that bottle of “baby” sunscreen you’re about to spend a few extra dollars on that is actually made by the same company of the “adult” version you use? Yeah, don’t bother; it’s the same exact formula, just packaged differently. Read the ingredients on the back before you waste your money.
37. Something very similar indeed
The bar/restaurant chain I worked for would buy kegs of cheap beer and sell them as nice imports, and their own signature beer would actually be Busch Light. As a bartender I hated when a guest would ask if we have Busch Light, and I had to say “no, but we have something very similar”. It felt so wrong to lie to customers but that was what I was trained to do.
38. Not lovin’ it
The hotcakes at McDonald’s are prepackaged and microwaved. Like the kind you can get from the super market. I know it doesn’t seem like a big deal cause it’s fast food but it blew my 16 year old mind. Also pretty much every vegetable is dehydrated. Every morning I’d have to open a dry paper packet of onions and add lukewarm water to it and let it sit. The salads are all pre-cut and sit in freezers until someone orders them then we add the requested items. The only fresh thing I had to actually dice was tomatoes.
39. A more than tidy profit
Furniture store I worked with sold these ottomans for $40 normally. On Black Friday, they had a sale where they sold them for $20. I asked my boss how we could afford to let them all sell for half price and she laughed, said “we only pay a dollar for each of these… don’t forget about the NDA you signed when you got hired.”
40. Evil boss
Back in 2008, when the economy went to sh*t, I was working in a decent business that had a ‘Workers Shares scheme’ and since returns were good. The boss would ‘persuade’ workers to invest and threw fancy numbers at them. Almost 80% of employees would invest into stock. Recession hits. Mass layoffs and almost all workers were essentially up to their eyes in debt. Was super f***ed up. Since I worked in HR. I had to sign a NDA to not talk about this.
41. Poor customers
I used to work at a call center for a cellphone company. The company ranks its customers based on how much money they are projected to make off of them. If that rating is too low, they actively try to get rid of you as a customer. They will slow down your data speeds, as well as lower your call quality, especially in rural areas. It’s more cost effective to send you to their competition than to have to pay to service those towers.
42. Turkey salad
I once worked for a popular Jewish deli. We had chicken salad on the menu which was really popular. We made it from scratch. The only thing we didn’t/couldn’t tell our customers was that we actually used turkey in the chicken salad, because was cheaper by the pound. No one ever complained or noticed thankfully otherwise we would have been in trouble.
43. Authentically Scottish – not
I played and helped write some of the piano parts in Outlaw King. Specifically the music that leads into Chris Pine’s glorious dong shot, which is now my go to line on first dates. Anyway, I wasn’t allowed to talk about working on it because it was supposedly all recorded in Scotland with Scottish people. I may or may not be Canadian…
44. Alarm bells ringing
I worked overnight for an alarm company. They decided to save money by having alarm dispatchers also do secretarial paperwork in a room around the corner where we couldn’t tell if any alarms went off. They told us to just check fairly often if we had any alarms that needed to be responded to. I told them how unprofessional it was, and how it wasn’t acceptable that we weren’t providing immediate response to alarms. I was fired 2 weeks before Christmas.
45. The big cheese
I’ve answered this many times, but every brand of cheese you buy is the EXACT SAME. We would package Giant Eagle, then Market Pantry, then Sargento, then Great Value. All from the same cheese. So buy the cheapest cheese because it’s literally all the same, just with different packaging. It’s literally so messed up, I know.
46. A big lie
I worked in event management for a few months after university, we did grand openings, weddings, graduation parties and things like that. During peak season we’d need to rent electric generators, we’d rent one for $50 a day and charge $350 for its use for three hours. Whatever you do in life do not ever hire an event manager. I left that line of work because I couldn’t stand lying so much.
47. Pretty unhygienic
I interned briefly at a high-end dress rental service in Canada called Rent Frock Repeat. They charge a dry cleaning fee for every rental, but never actually dry clean anything. They had their interns steam and febreeze everything. I honestly don’t know if any of the clothes were ever washed at all, which is just so, so gross.
48. Hardly freshly baked
A local family owned pizzeria was outed for selling “Freshly Baked Artisanal Pizzas” for nearly $20 each. They were actually purchased in bulk from CostCo and Kirklands Brand. Discovered because, duh – all the empty Kirkland’s pizza boxes in their dumpster out back. Honestly, they were too stupid to even cover their tracks.
49. A little over the top
I had to sign an NDA when I worked at a juice shop in high school. This was ten years ago so juicing wasn’t as popular. We were given recipes to dips and salad dressings that were super basic yet he thought they were too secret and special. Like, they were literally the most generic recipes ever – there was nothing fancy about them at all.
50. You’re being listened to
Certain voice assistants really are always recording you, and I get to hear all of the things you say near those devices. I have to transcribe the audio for it and you wouldn’t believe the amount of totally inappropriate search queries there are or the things you hear sometimes. Gets kinda gross at times and honestly it feels so invasive.
51. A little over-the-top
I worked at a restaurant and had to sign an NDA to not share recipes. The restaurant is no longer in business and I don’t even know if the NDA still stands but there was nothing on the menu that someone couldn’t have made on their own at home. For example, the chipotle mayo. It was just chipotle powder and mayo. The owner always hyped up the sauces specifically and acted like he invented something top secret.
52. Talk about cutting corners
I was a beta tester for AOL during the 4.0 era. Many of us (I would estimate most of us) reported to AOL that the 4.0 software was junk, crashed incessantly, caused loss of data on users machines, BSODs, etc. It was terrible. A lot of us were let go, and the software was released anyway to an unsuspecting public. They literally didn’t care that the software was awful.
53. Slightly unethical
The original talent manager for Walker Stalker Con was fired for embezzlement. She was not arrested. Probably because that would have required an audit and they would have realised the rest of the upper management was doing the same thing. She just got caught at it. Everyone else just carried on but was a little more careful.
54. That worked out well
Disney Online commissioned me to make a live action Phineas and Ferb video but they cancelled the project. As soon as the 5 years was up I then got my friends together and made the video. It now has over 5.5 million views, so I guess it’s Disney’s loss. I never did find out why they decided to cancel the whole project.
55. Mice aren’t nice
The Burger King in Hendersonville, Tennessee had a MASSIVE mouse infestation in the mid 2000’s. Management had begged corporate multiple times to pay for exterminators and massive repairs. They refused to justify the expense. The managers were told to buy mousetraps at the store using petty cash funds. A few employees took pictures of a mouse that had crawled into a bag of buns and died.
When corporate found out, they fired everyone who’d worked that shift and hit them with gag orders forbidding anyone from sharing or discussing the mouse infestation. My mom was one of those staff members.
56. How sly
A popular prom dress boutique I used to work at made me sign one because the didn’t want anyone to find out that the prom dress style numbers they gave to customers was completely fake and only unique to that store. They did this so customers couldn’t go home and search up the style online and find it cheaper somewhere else.
57. That’s one way to boost numbers
Not me but my old boss worked for a streaming music company in the late 90s. They only had a couple hundred customers so the company awarded each employee thousands of dollars in credit to buy music so they could boost their numbers of streams and revenue. Yup.. they counted credits they gave away as revenue and threatened to sue under NDAs they signed if anyone talked about it.
58. How do they sleep at night
This children’s acting company is only nonprofit so they can absorb grants for nonprofit only businesses, not because the “for profit model is a failing model.” They’re making twice the money now as a nonprofit that they did as a for-profit. The owner drives a Lamborghini in a city where the average annual wage is 34k/year.
59. Not very charitable
A certain charity I worked for would “miscount” donations and fund-raising a lot. They also didn’t care at all about safety, the fire exit door was padlocked shut, the fire extinguishers were blocked by HUGE piles of bags, I didn’t see a single fire-drill get performed (despite the sign-off sheet being filled in weekly) and on more than one occasion they left vulnerable volunteers to run the shop without any higher up staff around.
Oh and on more than one occasion I was told to lie about my managers whereabouts when they left early…to go to the pub and get drunk.
60. Not exactly freshly made in store
I got a job at a cute cupcake/candy/boutique shop. It is pretty “high end” with expensive items and baked goods. I had to sign a 5 year agreement to keep their recipes a secret. They purchased everything from Sam’s Club. The cupcakes were frozen in packs of 2 dozen and came in big boxes. Even though I was to break down the boxes and throw away.
I still was required to take ALL the stickers off the box so no one would know they were pre made or purchased from Sam’s. Not even the other workers knew that we didn’t make them fresh.
61. At least it was clean
I worked at a salad processing plant, basically huge wash lines rinsing of leaves and then packaged them. We supplied basically all of stop and shop and price chopper. When we ran out of chlorolizer for the water, my boss always told me to just pour bleach into the water. He said “chlorolizer, bleach, close enough.” Three months after I stopped working there, the company was shut down. I’m not sure if it was because of the bleach though. Also I don’t mean a few splashes of bleach, I mean 2 gallons of bleach per 300 gallons of water, every hour on the dot.
62. That’s rotten
I worked for Publix Supermarkets for a little over a year in the produce department. Daily we would gather expired and fruit that was to old for us to sell to donate. We would get a tax write-off for the value of the donated fruits and vegetables. There was also fruits and vegetables that were too far gone to donate and would have to be trashed. However, management made us scan the produce that was to be trashed as donations so we could get the tax write off and we would get in trouble if we didn’t comply.
63. At least no one complained
I used to work at this local restaurant. Their this was everything “fresh”. Really it was frozen pizza, patties, and practically everything else you could imagine. Yet everyone still loved the place, I guess advertising is really all of it. I just feel bad that people were paying all this money for pizzas that really cost a few dollars.
64. Not fit for sale
I worked for a dealer of a “low-high end luxury” car manufacturer that I’m not gonna name but the secret I kept was that the Hybrid Motors fitted to their PHEV sedans and SUVs were unreliable as sh*t and liked to combust during regular operation. The company knew it and was “constantly working on resolving and finding workarounds for known problems” Customers who were shelling out $75K+ (with options) for their fancy “eco-friendly, 400 horsepower” SUV were essentially beta testers.
I used to work for a bank in the 90s that had a church as one of their clients. The church owned over a hundred million dollars in an investment account that the bank managed. The church never new any of this. The money had been left to the church in the will of a customer who had died. They new that if the church ever found out they would, oh no, actually use or withdraw (gasp!) the money.
The church’s address was incorrect in the customer database, so they got away with it by sending statements to an addredd that would bounce. They knew the address wasn’t valid, they knew what the actual address really was. And they simply refused to fix it. They said that they weren’t really stealing the money because it was all there, and if the church ever came looking for, they would give it to them.
66. That’s one way to cut costs
Worked as a barista, not at an actual Starbucks, but at a café licensed to sell Starbucks products. Think like the “Starbucks” at Target or Barnes and Noble, but this was on a college campus. The one I worked for frequently used expired products to save costs, including expired milk. I found milk that was a week expired in the fridge for us to use. Gross! I always just dumped it out against management’s wishes.
67. Running rings around you
Used to work for a alternative wedding band company so they specialized in tungsten, titanium and ceramic wedding bands. They did decently well since they offered a generic version of these alternative rings over the name brands so the price difference between the name brands and their generic brands can range from a price difference of $100 to $1000.
My job at the company was to order these name brand rings from these established companies at wholesale. Eventually the owner of the company told me to just use our generic brand rings and engrave the name brand logo onto the generic rings and ship them to the customer. I told him I was uncomfortable with it and they eventually demoted me to a customer service rep job since I wasn’t willing to screw customers like that.
68. Cheesy does it
Worked on a “humane” farm that sold free-pasture, organic, goat cheese. We had a secret room where we mixed Costco goat cheese with ours because it takes a long time to make hard goat cheese and we couldn’t keep up with orders. Later found out that a couple local restaurants using our goat cheese were also mixing it with Costco cheese to cut costs. I don’t trust labels anymore.
69. A very secret recipe
I worked at a restaurant that was on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. While they were filming the show, Guy asked them how they made one of the hot sauces (can’t remember what kind) and the owner made some random thing up on the spot. She made it up because we didn’t actually have a recipe for the hot sauce, we used store bought.
70. Struck gold
I used to give gold panning tours in Alaska. I would drive people out to the wilderness and teach them how to pan in the creek. These tours guaranteed you would find gold. The creek did legitimately have flake gold in it, but there’s absolutely no way every tourist would find some within the 90 minute time slot. Each morning we would use a salt shaker holding flake gold (each flake worth roughly 25 cents) and individually “salt” a few into the old metal pans we would be using, then cover them with a shovel full of gravely sand.
71. What could have been…
Fortnite was originally supposed to be a defence game where you spend the day time building a fort and defending it from zombie at night. You defended your Fort at Night, thus “Fortnite.” The idea of the game obviously quite a bit but the name stuck – and thankfully so, because it is a really good name for a video game.
72. Donut buy from them
Most Dunkin’ Donut locations haven’t made donuts in store since about 2007-2008ish. Some earlier. They switched to a centralized distribution model. This coincided with the facelift their stores got around that time. This was to attempt to cover up the fact that their bakeries were being dismantled. This is why their donuts are almost universally stale now and they carry a greatly reduced variety of them.
73. Disgusting dinners
Back in the late 1990s, I worked at a leading Australian University campus cafeteria that had a cafe/bar that was open in the evening to serve dinner. Thursday night was all-you-could-eat pasta night, and for $5.50 a plate, there was always a long line of students and academics in for a cheap feed. We knew groups of students would eat off the one plate, cheating the system. The boss didn’t care because what they didn’t know was that the Head Chef had bought pallet load after pallet load of pasta that was full of insects. He got it dirt cheap, and the strategy was to just skim the bugs off during cooking when they float to the top of the water.
I was working at a well-known rehab center and met a lot of celebrities and celebrities’ kids. I met Mark Wahlberg’s wife, Lionel Ritchie’s son, Paris Jackson, Kevin Spacey, Harvey Weinstein, Taraji P Henson’s son, Demi Lovato, and several athletes. It was nice to see these people get the help they needed but I did feel a little starstruck at times.
75. So unfair
Twenty-five years ago I worked for a jewelry store that once a year gave entries into a vacation contest with every purchase over $100. The drawing was rigged. The owners gave the prize to a different friend every year and they all went on vacation together with the money. After 3 years I quit and moved because I couldn’t deal with how unfair it was.
76. Not exactly from scratch
I worked at an independent restaurant. Where do I even begin? We told customers the food was from scratch and fresh. Ingredients were either canned and pre-prepped, i.e. marinated meat from a local market, frozen fried chicken, etc. Closest thing to our food being “fresh” was when we [used] the vegetables that had been sitting in a partially broken down fridge to the point they were obviously too ripe. Not mouldy, just limp and squishy – but if it had mould we’d cut the mouldy part off and use the rest.
During my year off in college, this beer factory I worked for had a cleaning done in their holding vats. The contractors that did this used extremely strong ammonia which was dumped directly into the sewer line without being treated first. The sewer line ran through a residential area and most of the residents got seriously affected. Their payout was huge. When we came back to work on the Monday, a few workers got seriously ill too. Since the brewery is owned by one of the richest families in the country, it would’ve made sensational news.
78. Defrosted in-house daily
I used to work at a popular French pastry shop. They claimed everything was made in house daily, fresh from scratch. Actually, their croissants are delivered frozen, they just bake them for 10 minutes. Tart shells and eclairs are also bought in bulk and are defrosted daily, the chefs just fill them with pastry cream and fruit and dust some powdered sugar on top. It’s really wild to see local food critics raving about how good the stuff tastes when I know they literally just defrost half their sh*t.
79. Burn baby burn
When the Apple Store I worked at in 2007 first opened, it was next to the mall’s dumpster that the food court also shared. Needless to say, there was a bug problem. It got so bad they were laying eggs inside everything, even the new products. So one night the entire store’s inventory was removed and incinerated. iBooks, PowerBooks, iPods, iMacs, PowerMacs, even the two 30-inch Cinema Displays we had in stock. All of it. Burned. Exterminator came in immediately after. Sprayed everywhere. Cleaning staff were hired to then scrub everything down. New shipment of Apple logos the next day or so.
80. Messy state of affairs
I worked for a major TV network in the 90s in NYC. Had to sign an NDA as my role took me across multiple departments. Multiple relationship scandals broke simultaneously. One spouse did an investigation during custody battle and it snowballed. I was on the front lines of damage containment. EVERYBODY was f**king EVERYBODY – I mean multiple overlapping affairs, many involving nationally famous names, interns, execs, I mean, it was like Caligula’s palace. Mucho dinero paid out, dozens on pretty solid NDAs signed.
81. Look alive
Mortuaries and funeral homes have a not-so-secret secret hiring rule: don’t hire anyone over 40 or who looks old. This is supposedly to not trigger anyone who’s grandparent just died of old age, to keep the appearance of “lively” employees; basically ones that don’t look like they have one foot in the grave already. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s also a way to get out of paying pensions to long-time employees.
I interned at a company that got sustainability funds (seven figures) to install smart lighting sold to city halls. The funds were given up front and after a few months there was an audit to check whether the funds were correctly allocated. They were not. The funds were spent in anything but those lights. Since the usual document that proved the smart lights were installed was missing for all the city halls of the whole country, my boss asked me to make (forge) these documents – one per city, signatures and all.
I was terribly uncomfortable with it and said so. My boss just told me I had to do it. Being an intern in a large corporation, I was scared. I started doing it but couldn’t live with myself so I made an effort to play incompetent and stupid. It worked. After a few days they assigned the “project” to someone else. And after a month of intensive job hunting I was out of there! What a relief to leave that corporate nuthouse.
83. Client from hell
Signed an NDA for a possible client who wanted us to make an exercise based mobile game for him. Turns out the dude was delusional, his idea for the game was terrible, and he had almost no money to pay us, so we backed out. Sent us all a text a few days later threatening us not to make his terrible exercise game idea or else he would hunt us down.
A year passed and Ring Fit Adventure came out. His delusional mind seemed to think that we were responsible and had somehow made this AAA game between the 3 people in my group. Dude flipped out on us and wouldn’t stop calling us, finally had to block him. He was honestly convinced that us three had ripped him off, which could not be further from the truth. Would not recommend.
84. The game that never was
Not super interesting but back in 2014 I got to beta test a game from Harmonix called Chroma. It was a competitive first person shooter mixed with rhythm game. They eventually abandoned it, but man was it cool. One of the guns in the game would have you clicking the left and right mouse button in rhythm with notes that were coming down the screen, similar to Guitar Hero.
I don’t really understand why Harmonix stopped development on the game. They truly nailed every aspect of it, and combined two genres in a fun and interesting way. It was a great concept. I hope they pick it back up again, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a game quite like it.
85. Secret coffee
I once dated a guy whose dad was the CFO of a company that was developing a proprietary coffee maker. The first night I stayed over, the next morning he said I couldn’t have a cup of coffee unless I signed an NDA because the coffeemaker prototype was in his kitchen. That was the last night we spent together. Can’t say the coffee was anything special either.
86. Quite the cover-up
At my last workplace we had a manager embezzle thousands yet somehow manage to keep his job for another 7ish years after that. Surprise surprise, he did it again, and this time he was finally let go but under the guise of “health reasons.” His boss arranged that to avoid getting herself in sh*t for not firing him the first time. We also had another employee embezzle even more a couple years later. Both times the rest of us employees were threatened with disciplinary action if we talked about it to anyone.
87. Dodgy diplomas
I taught part-time at a midwestern technical school back in 2004 (which went under in 2019). Students took out huge loans ($20k+) for a 1-year programming certificate. Some of my students didn’t show up or do their work and the administration still asked me to pass them.
When I declined and stated the obvious (students didn’t learn anything, it devalues the name of the school to turn out “graduates” who don’t know anything, etc.) they threatened to not renew my contract. At $15/hr and already working full-time in the tech industry I told them no thanks and didn’t return after the semester ended. The school’s graduation rate also determined whether they would remain eligible for students to get federal loans. It was an expensive diploma mill.
88. Dream internship
A friend of mine last year completed a work experience program with Lucasfilms. He knew all about Baby Yoda months in advance and couldn’t tell anybody of this amazingly cute creature. He was literally so excited when the film was released and he could finally gush to everyone about how adorable Baby Yoda is. I can’t imagine how hard it must have been to keep schtum about the whole thing.
Out of the more than 50 attorneys I worked with at two separate downtown firms, who all charged more than $400 per hour, only a single one ever washed their hands. The other 49 or so would walk past the automatic water sensors, wave their hands over it, grab a paper towel, then crumple it up with their dry sh*t-crusted hands on the way out.
The HR department was always puzzled by the fact that every new hire would get a “mysterious” cold after shaking hands with all of them the first day.
90. Made-up numbers
Worked at a Geotechnical company. Did a lot of testing for housing developments: base of the house, utility lines backfilling, even roads and parking lots. We were actively told to just make up data so the tests would pass as to not slow down the construction projects. It was a pretty dangerous thing to do now I think about it.
91. You can never leave
A company I worked for used to purposefully make cancelling subscriptions as difficult as possible. My manager looked me in the eye and told me that I was charged with putting up as many roadblocks to cancellation as possible. “Customer retention” was more like “customer kidnapping” in a lot of cases. It felt so morally wrong.
92. Sounds like an interesting film
For a university class I was taking a few years back, we were allowed to read a manuscript for a movie that was trying to get picked up for Hollywood. To be honest, I don’t remember much of it other than it was in a war-torn country and the main character had a Mickey Mouse watch. The reason I remember the Mickey Mouse watch is because there was a scene where he talks to a hallucination/dream of a thousand-yard stare, war veteran Mickey mouse man whom they very optimistically wanted to be played by Morgan Freeman.
93. Poor students
I worked at a leading food service company that had a contract with a major state university. They do all the food on campus, dining halls and retail outlets. When I began the main dining hall was lousy with roaches. They were constantly short-staffed due to low-balling hourly workers and laying them off over summer and winter breaks.
Employees would ignore health codes. Wouldn’t wear gloves, keep personal drinks without lids on food service lines, lack of hairnets and PPE, etc. They bring in millions at this location each semester because freshman MUST purchase a meal plan. Any remaining balance of the meal plan at the end of the semester go straight to the company.
94. Playing games
Worked for a very big and very well-known gaming company, as my first job ever at 19, for about 2 years. We were treated like sh*t by most of our leads, getting screamed at for needing paid leave, or sick leave or any kind of leave for that matter, or being late (like even less than 5 minutes). The developers screamed at us for not meeting our quota, despite them taking ages to deliver a stable build to us.
We were just always overworked and never had enough time to finish what we had been tasked with. Not to mention we were paid like sh*t, while also being taxed for everything they were supposed to provide for us, like coffee, tea, fruits, TP, soap etc. But nevertheless I made a bunch of friends, worked on a bunch of games, one that’s really close to my heart.
95. A big reduction
I worked for a pharmaceutical company. The quality control department routinely used to skip on critical raw material tests that are required by the FDA. There were other violations around testing, all a big no no in pharma. Later on the company was sold to a larger company, which found out about all the problems during audits before closing the deal. The larger company pulled out of the deal, and my former company lost almost all its value. Went from US $7 BILLION value to less than 100m.
96. A secret formula
This will get buried, but I used to bartend at a restaurant that desperately wanted to be high-end despite being a total sh*tshow. Now that the restaurant went out of business, the NDA is no longer binding. So I can tell you that our margarita recipe was tequila, triple sec, lime juice, and simple syrup. Not exactly the most secret formula ever, but it feels good to get that off my chest.
97. Slightly worrying
I worked for a very well known medical company that makes lab tests. These tests have to be kept at a certain temp to stay effective. Company used cheap packaging material that only kept the product at the right temp for about 2 hours. All of the deliveries to customer were overnight. The GM’s response was the customer can check if it is ok but they never did because the company never told them. Still happening today.
98. Won gold
I worked on prototypes for the 2010 Olympic medals for 18 months without telling anyone, not even my wife. Funny thing was, I worked on them openly in my shop and none of my employees ever guessed what they were. I guess to begin with they just looked like generic gold medals so they could have been for literally anything.
99. It all adds up
I used to work for a prepaid calling card company. Our owner had us go into the active card database and remove 17 cents from every card. He said 17 cents was a random number that nobody would notice removed from their card. This was close to 20 years ago, and I still feel guilty over participating in something like that. The guy was insane. That job made me quit telecom forever.
100. That’s grim
I worked at a processing center for the world’s leading Asian hot sauce you find on restaurant tables everywhere. After the fermentation period, we would manually lean over the barrels and stick in tubes to suck out the chili pepper paste, but as we did, sweat would trickle into those barrels. Every single one of them. That my friends, is your secret ingredient.