Industries That Are A Lot Shadier Than They Seem
Photo by Fikri Rasyid on Unsplash

There are a number of industries which, owing to business practices and perception in the media, are commonly associated as being evil.

These include nuclear power, big pharma, and healthcare, at least in the United States, while some retail services such as Amazon are notorious for the poor working conditions in their factories.

However, are any industries or businesses wholly without sin?

We might find ourselves surprised what goes on behind closed doors of industries we've come to trust as ethical and without fault.

Redditor Kneecap_Buchaneer was curious to hear which industries are not as clean and trustworthy as they appear, leading them to ask:
"What industry is a lot shadier than it seems?"

They Make Them An Offer They Can't Refuse.

"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."- tokyokillswhale

Aroused Grocery Store GIF by TravisGiphy

Life On The 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."

"It’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."- AbleTourist6

So Many Fish In The Sea

"A lot of hobby fish importing is pretty shady."

"You have farms of certain types of fish like bettas in some areas of the world that are run with the fish in horrible conditions."

"Which is why a lot of the ones you get in a major chain store are sick before you even bring them home."

'Outside of boutique fish farming, the way some wild fish are caught is just horrible."

"The trappers will lightly poison the water supply to knock out the fish, then scoop them out of the water without a care for that area's ecosystem."

"This has led to depletion of some natural species to the point they are now endangered."

"Lastly, boutique fish sellers/major chains do not give half a rat's a** what happens to the fish in the end."

"This means that people who buy fish like plecos, bettas, goldfish, etc. end up getting sick of them and dumping them in local waterways to supposedly get rid of the problem."

'So in some areas, these fish have completely destroyed the local water ecology because, like other invasive land species, they were never meant to be there."

"One of the worst offenders is the lionfish in Florida."

"It's venomous and has no natural predators so its population has exploded out of control."

"The same is true of plecos and goldfish.

"Basically releasing fish into the wild is a terrible idea."

"Releasing any animal into the wild can have disastrous consequences, but fish are being released into a very limited ecosystem and outside of a few diseases, if they can adapt to the water and have no predators they will survive and breed incredibly quickly."

"I love my fish, I love the hobby, and there's a lot of value to it as global warming may make things like reef tanks a valuable source of coral in the future."

"But there's also a lot of bad to it."- beepborpimajorp

Cat Thank GIFGiphy

One Star...

"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.'- chinmakes5

Just Try A Balanced Diet!

"Dietary supplements."

"It's gotten better, but there's still a lot of half-truths and whole lies."

"Not all that long ago it was seriously like the wild wild west."- LaquandaSchutt

Pills GIFGiphy

Trust No One!

"All industries are shadier than they seem."

"I used to work for a flute manufacturer and it was shady as hell."- pajmahal

Take a Closer Look...


"You have no idea the snow job they put most people through when it comes to buying them."

"It's 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."- PolecatEZ

Truck Stop (the Madness)


"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."


"I worked in trucking and the head HR lady for our distribution center was skimming payroll, shorting the checks of the lowest people on the totem pole, then getting cash infusions to petty cash from corporate to return part of the theft as an "emergency tide over" until the employee's next check, then claiming the rest of the theft as an overage on the next payroll report (I am probably missing a step in her chain but I am not an accountant)."

"It was a scam she managed to work for a couple of years due to a lack of oversight during nationwide management shifts. When she finally got caught, rather than take the bad publicity, the company just let her leave. The last I heard she was working in the same position in an adjacent industry, but still involving transportation. C'est la vie."


Green Gold

"Avocado farms. Most of the farms in Central America are taken over by the cartel because of how much money is in selling avocados."


Puppy Mills

Pet industry. Basement puppy mills and dogs that are so inbred they can hardly breathe. 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. Shady."



"CBD, lot of predatory companies making subpar products with questionable raw materials and then marking it way the fu*k up and selling it as a miracle cure to vulnerable and ill-educated consumers. Usually have a high power legal team on deck, but pay their workers sh*t and no benefits."


Take You To The Mattresses

"Worked in the mattress industry for a bit at a startup. Basically 90% bullsh*t. And the worst part? We had a real doctor serve an advisory role for our products. He debunked a lot of nonsense claims about mattresses like “your pillow is 50% of your spinal support” that the salespeople use to sell you accessories. The salespeople would argue with him, like they knew better. Kool-Aid is strong there."

"Some of my favorites I learned are: these hip direct-to-door in a box foam bed companies like Tuft and Needle use the same material, from the same manufacturer. There’s hundreds of them, just put them in different boxes and sell at wildly different prices."

“Side sleeper” “back sleeper” and “stomach sleeper” is baloney. You toss and turn at night on purpose, to help prevent blood clots."

"No mattress will keep you from “tossing and turning” for the reason above. It’s a natural thing you’re supposed to do."

"More layers DOESNT mean better mattress. A lot of companies add in cheap materials like upholstery foam to just claim there’s more layers. Maybe one layer of nice springs then just 10 layers of various types of cheap foam to get the layers higher."

"One that actually IS true is heat. If you frequently are hot at night, foam mattress is not good for you. It’s an insulator and will trap your heat on your body. In general, air and spring are better beds because of heat. Your body needs to dump temperature at night to get into a full, deep sleep. If it’s too hot, you won’t sleep well."


All That Gitters


"A manager of one of the biggest glitter manufacturers, Glitterx, said in a 2018 interview that most of the glitter they make goes to one buyer for a single industrial use. When asked who the buyer was and why they need so much glitter, she said “Oh, I definitely can’t disclose that.” When asked why, she said “Because they don’t want anybody to know it’s glitter.”

"Ever since this interview people have been trying to guess what company or industry secretly uses most of the world’s glitter and why they want to keep that use under wraps."


It's harder to avoid putting money in an industry to which we have numerous moral objectinons than we would like to admit.

But who knows if our favorite stores, which we frequent with regularity, are any better?

Maybe ignorance is bliss?

Or maybe we need to raise stronger objections....