Every place of business is going to have some behind-the-scenes secrets going on. Most of the time, we are too oblivious to really know—or perhaps we don’t want to.

image
iStock

Have you ever looked in the kitchen of a 24-hour diner? No, but you can probably imagine what goes on. That’s most likely enough for you. In case you’re curious about other jobs though, we’ve compiled a small list of secrets you may want to know since you probably frequent these places or use these items on a regular basis.

Applebee’s microwaves their food… Well, most of it.

Look, we are not here to judge. If you are going to a food chain like an Applebee’s, TGI Friday’s, or Chili’s, then you’re knowingly going into an establishment of cheap prices; while they don’t necessarily serve low-quality food, it’s not gourmet made-to-order cooking either.

image
Visit Frisco

Don’t get us wrong, we could eat Olive Garden’s breadsticks five nights a week, but it should come to no surprise that those foods might be cooked for time and not quality, meaning they want you to get your food as quick as possible. Thus, the microwave.

Dwight Garner wrote about Tracie McMillan’s The American Way of Eating, for The New York Times and mentioned her time working at Applebee’s in New York: “At Applebee’s, almost no actual cooking is done: premade food in plastic baggies is heated in microwaves and dumped onto plates. Ms. McMillan deplores this practice while also finding it fascinating. ‘I watch an endless assembly line,’ she writes, ‘a large-scale mash-up that hits the sweet spot between McDonald’s and Sandra Lee’s ‘Semi-Homemade.’” And that’s coming from someone who worked there.

image
TechBrick

By the way, she also worked at Walmart to really get an insider’s look at their produce section. However, she does mention that they treat their employees “moderately well” so at least there’s that.

Ghostwriting romance novels isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

When you think of romance novels, you might think of Fabio on the cover of a tattered ’80s paperback or maybe something a little more modern like Fifty Shades of Grey, but you might be interested to learn there is a whole other market out there with some serious revenue. Revenue to the tune of $1 billion a year actually, according to the Romance Writers of America.

image
Jesse Baron/NPR

But the problem is that sometimes people don’t want to be associated with these books. Sure, if you get a Fifty Shades–style franchise out of it, then of course, you’ll want to cash in, but a lot of these writers are just doing this to make ends meet and are churning out books as quickly as the publisher will pay them.

Thus, the industry gets a lot of ghostwriters, many of whom are actually men with a female alias—like Jessica Blair, author of dozens of romances, who turned out to be an octogenarian man named Bill Spence—or college-aged women who write books for the middle-aged set. There are some great stories of how these writers got into the business and some secrets to lessons they’ve learned. Some even share their personal secrets, like putting a chinchilla in some way in every book as a calling card.

image
Damon Winter/The New York Times

These stories seem to go hand-in-hand with the secrecy of the romance novel genre as a whole. Sometimes the readers don’t want to know who the author is, sometimes the author doesn’t want the readers to know who they are, and maybe, the reader doesn’t want anyone to know they’re reading it. Call it an affair.

Cable companies may bill you if you don’t say “no.”

If there is anything that humanity can agree on in life, it’s our disdain for our cable company. Maybe you’re like me and you said enough is enough and cut the cord, but most of us have, at one point, dealt with a cable company.

Well, one reason for our scorn of giant corporations is that they seem to never want to help and are always trying to up-charge us for one thing or another. And that’s because that’s exactly what they’ve been doing. That’s right.

Comcast is actually being fined by the FCC for $2.3 million (an agreement they settled on) for billing its customers for things they didn’t order, but didn’t technically say “no” to either. That’s like giving someone a pizza out of the blue and then asking them for money after they eat some of it. Just not cool.

image
iStock

The Verge reported on this October 2016 event; Jacob Kastrenakes writes, “In addition to paying the fine, Comcast will also have to make changes to how it sells products, so that — and this is going to seem extraordinarily reasonable — customers only have to pay for things they’ve actually agreed to buy. Most of the issue arose over a practice called ‘negative option billing,’ where Comcast would begin charging customers if they didn’t actively decline or cancel a service.”

image
iStock

So there you have it: proof that these companies are, in fact, evil. Cut the cord, and join the streaming life.

Georgia’s coroners don’t need a college degree.

If there is one rule to take away from this section, it is to not die in Georgia by anything other than natural causes.

image
iStock

Reason being, well, Alan Judd for the Atlanta Journal-Constituion sums it up pretty nicely: “Georgia’s prerequisites: A coroner must be at least 25 years old, registered to vote, and in possession of a high school diploma. So Georgia’s coroners are grocers, nurses and morticians; farmers, pastors and hairdressers; plumbers, teachers and handymen. In one county, the coroner is a boat-motor mechanic. In another, it’s the owner of a shooting range.” The kicker? Of Georgia’s 154 coroners, only one is a physician.

Do a quick search for “Georgia coroner” and you’ll see quite a few mugshots pop up, like this photo of Lumpkin County Deputy Coroner Sonya Abercrombie, who was arrested for impersonating an officer at a local restaurant.

image
CBS46

These coroners earn as little as $1,200 a year for what essentially amounts to a part-time job and while they do not conduct autopsies, they do oversee evidence collection at death scenes and make one of the most important decisions in any fatal case, which is whether to request an autopsy by the state medical examiner.

image
iStock

Therefore, you get several cases that go under the radar or are simply brushed off due to a lack of professionalism and knowledge of what to do and how to do it.

A lot more than you think goes into building a roller coaster.

We didn’t want every secret to be bad so we figured this would help, especially with summer here and theme parks being a main attraction. We have never put much thought into what goes into building a roller coaster (unless you played the RollerCoaster Tycoon games we all loved in the mid-noughties), but now we are glad we did.

image
iStock

While the thought and design comes from architects and designers, welders and carpenters do the actual construction, and they make sure no stone goes unturned. Thermo Fisher Scientific, a world-leading company in science, talks about the safety measures that go into the construction of roller coasters and explains the process they go through for supplying metal:

“Metal alloy material verification for quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) is critical to product integrity, and can affect the safety of the final product. X-Ray fluorescence (XRF) analyzers are usually the technology of choice for positive material identification to verify incoming or in-stock raw material and their alloy grade, and since the technology is completely non destructive, it can be used for a final quality check of finished products without concern.”

image
iStock

In layman’s terms, this means that the metal they supply for companies to build coasters gets X-rayed and tested for their strength before ever being built and is then tested once again after it’s assembled to make sure it hasn’t been damaged. While accidents can always happen, rest easy knowing your next trip to Six Flags is most likely perfectly safe.

Hotel rates are definitely negotiable.

While there are a lot of sites that can help you get a great deal on a hotel, it never hurts to know that you can do it yourself directly through the hotel. Most hotel companies have a base price they have to hit, but they up-charge in order to make more profit.

image
iStock

Therefore, if you call the hotel and are prepared—meaning you looked at the competition around the area, checked the discounted sites online, and have a budget to stick to—you might just get what you want. Wise Bread, a site dedicated to “living large on a small budget,” says, “It’s a good rule of thumb to try getting 25% off your starting rate because hotels generally pay that amount to third-party agents like online booking sites and travel agents for finding guests.”

image
iStock

If you book directly through the hotel, you’ll most likely have better refund policies since many third-party sites offer a zero refund agreement. When you book through a third-party site, that site takes a cut of the hotel’s profit on your room. By booking through the hotel, you may also be rewarded with some perks, like complimentary room upgrades or special requests. It may take a couple minutes of research, but it will be well worth it if you save 25 percent.