17 People Talk About the Industries That Are Much Shadier Than They Seem


Some jobs and industries are just shady right on the surface. But then there are the industries that most of us would never even think would be shady.

That’s why these articles are so enlightening!

You just never know what an industry is like until you have first-hand experience with it.

Are you ready to get shady?

Folks on AskReddit definitely had some thoughts on the matter.

1. Better not cross them.

“My dad knows a story from someone who works for a nationwide grocery chain, they have to deal with an Italian mafia to import balsamic vinegar.”

2. Vanilla wars.

“More people died last year over vanilla in Madagascar than cocaine in South America. They’ve even coined the term “vanilla murder”.

Farmers hire armed mercenaries to guard their crops from thieves near harvest time, and if one is caught… well… let’s just say it’s in response to all the farmers that were killed by thieves for the same reason.”

3. On the high seas.

“The maritime industry.

Most of the big companies do things by the book and treat crews well because they’re afraid of lawsuits and unions, but many smaller “mom and pop” companies break laws and violate safety regulations with reckless abandon because they’re not as visible and can “stay under the radar” so to speak. I

t’s very common for a small company to ask a captain/crew to do something illegal and dangerous in order to increase profit, and for the captain/crew to comply out of fear of losing their jobs.

And that’s just the US maritime industry; sailors from poorer nations who work on ships are often fed little more than rice and cheap ramen for months at a time and paid pennies for their backbreaking work.

I love running tugs for a living, but the industry as a whole is rife with shady business.”

4. Never thought of this.


You have no idea the snow job they put most people through when it comes to buying them. Its far, far worse than trying to buy a new car from a dealership.

Wholesale frames are about $5-20, wholesale lens blanks are another $10. Any kind of dip coating (UV, tinting, etc) is negligible cost and effort to apply – literally pennies.

To top it off, they don’t even do a whole lot in house, but send it to “labs” which are basically sweatshops that can take up to 2-3 weeks when labor time is literally under 5 minutes.

Instead of training real opticians and technicians, they’re just glorified sales staff now. Most of the time they don’t even bother with proper measurement for pd, frame width, or arm fitting.

Was an optician in the early 90’s. I’m horrified at what the business has become.”

5. The ratings game.

“Rating services like Yelp. Refuse to advertise and your good reviews magically get rearranged. Hey, look if you want to do that and be transparent, I get it. But most every business owner knows how scummy this is and most clients just have no idea.

I have a business that isn’t something that would usually be looked for on Yelp. They called and I just froze. Luckily I do long term rentals and was sold out. Explained I wouldn’t have an opening for months, they seemed to leave me alone.

Yet they have my business on the front page of Google search (under the wrong category).”

6. A bunch of lies.


The margins are razor thin and so everyone is trying to nickle and dime each other constantly.

The drivers lie to their dispatchers, the dispatchers lie to the brokers, the brokers lie to the clients.

All of this for like $50-100 sometimes.”

7. Sounds like a really bad industry.

“Cruise ships.

I was told I was having a minimum of one day off every week and work normal hours (8-10h/day) with a good pay and good pre paid tips. I ended up working 30 days in a row, Ewell over 400 hours, for $1600 with tips included.

This company I was working for was called Scenic Cruises (ship was called MS Scenic Crystal), which was an Australian company working over a Swiss company going under a Maltese flag, sailing in Central Europe. That’s how I understood it anyways, they deliberately did this so they could break international laws, I counted at least 5 that they broke.

Biggest scam company I ever worked for. I resigned after my first month. The police boarded the ship every once in a while because they knew this but they couldn’t do shit because they had no jurisdiction over the ship.

I was forced to work with a 39 Celsius fever.”

8. This is terrible.

“The pet industry.

Basement puppy mills and dogs that are so inbred they can hardly breath. There are plenty of ethical breeders out there (and some unlicensed breeders are ethical even if in a legal grey zone) but the conditions of some of the so called puppy mills can be really bad.

Sometimes when breeds are mixed and the pup gets the recessive genes the breeders weren’t looking for.. they straight up euthanize it because they know it won’t sell. Not to mention how many “purebreds” are actually not pure at all… and sold as is.


9. Big, shady business.

“Avocado farms.

Most of the farms in Central America are taken over by cartels because of how much money is in selling avocados.”

10. Higher education.

“Higher academia is badly broken.

Some of the smartest people are some of the most badly exploited. Old tenured professors limit the number of faculty many departments can have, forcing people to work as postdocs forever, effectively doing all the work the prof should be doing in the first place.

Meager pay and long hours, plus constant pressure makes postdocs some of the most depressed people.

The grad students are no better either. A lot of the times grad students don’t complain about ill treatment, harassment and outright bullying as they don’t want to jeopardize their prospects of graduating.

If you’re a foreigner, this situation becomes even worse, whether you’ve a grad student or a postdoctoral researcher.”

11. That’s a shame.

“The nonprofit world, unfortunately.

Most people at the top are in it to make a name for themselves and don’t usually care about the mission of the organization.”

12. Kind of depressing…

“Mental health facilities…

A lot of people trust today’s mental health facilities, but from my experience they’re quite flawed. Staff can be judgemental and condescending and downright cruel.

A family member of mine was institutionalized for a while, I say with full certainty she was healthier before she went in than coming out. The places I’ve seen are most definitely for profit. They had no intentions of having her “fixed” and released. Also, sloppy.

She was given the wrong people’s meds several times. She was also prescribed dangerous combinations that wound up having her sent to the ER. Really stupid mistakes were made over and over.”

13. Everyone needs them, though.

“The tire business.

Tires are a scam and shouldn’t cost anywhere near what they do. Everyone along the supply chain is making bank. It’s one of the industries I would love to see disrupted.”

14. Tying the knot.

“The Wedding industry (at least in the US). The whole point of the wedding industry is to trick people into overspending by preying on their desire to have the “perfect” wedding. So you “have” to have multiple photoshoots, a beautiful venue, excellent catering, an expensive dress/suit, etc, all at an exorbitant price. It’s a scam.

A lot of “traditional” wedding staples (like the white dress, service performed by minister, etc) are based on actual traditions and beliefs, but those traditions don’t mean anything anymore and now are sold as “traditional” to squeeze more money out of you.

Tell me, why would you ever need 1000 photographs each of your engagement, your “first look,” the ceremony, the bridal party, etc? How many of the 50 good ones are you going to actually look at and will mean anything? Maybe a handful. The rest just get dumped on social media and forgotten in a few months.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t take pictures at your wedding. You should. But there’s no reason to spend thousands to take pictures of contrived setups, like the “first look.”

I’ve been to and been in a number of weddings of my friends and have seen the ludicrously overpriced things the planners convinced them to buy into.

And that’s just the financial side. That’s not even getting into the insanity that is planning the damn thing. Trying to get families on board and compromise their demands is a whole other shady industry.”

15. No thank you!

“Vape juice.

I did some work for a company that use to whole sale to a whole lot of smaller vape shops. The places that sold to us ranged from vape juice laboratories to guys making it in bathtubs.

I actually quit vaping seeing some of the conditions the juice is made in.”

16. This is crazy.

“The gourmet mushroom industry. The short of it is that I pulled over to check on what I thought was a forest fire in the middle of nowhere, British Columbia. Turned out it was a wandering rove of – for lack of a better title – Canadian mushroom gypsies looking for matasuki (pine) mushrooms and chanterelles.

Next thing you know, my car keys vanished and I was put to work for 2 days with payment being a sandwich and a few beers.

We wandered the forest, digging up pine buttons and learned way more about mushrooms than I ever imagined, and we were warned heavily to stay close to our own/captors/kidnappers/whatever as the rival group was not above violent tactics if you entered their territory… this was affirmed when I stumbled upon an angry man from the other side pointing a shotgun at me.

Whether or not there’s truth to it – I don’t know – but supposedly the mushroom world was once incredibly lucrative until the Chinese mob infiltrated it and gouged the prices. After 2 days my keys mysteriously reappeared with my car unharmed and nothing missing.

No one would answer where it went, but they all knew. Hands down the nicest kidnappers ever, but it was a wild experience.”

17. It’s definitely an industry.

“Televangelist and megachurch owners (especially those preaching a Prosperity Gospel) will make money hand-over-fist off the backs of the poor through product sales.

The sad part is if many of these people save their money instead of giving it to these men, they are statistically more likely to have greater wealth in the long term.

Instead money from little old ladies goes to fund Pat Roberts’s private jet or Joel Olsteen’s MegaChurch power bill.”

Wow, some of those really caught me by surprise.

Do you have any thoughts on this matter?

Do you know of any shady industries that most people have no idea about?

Please tell us all about it in the comments!