20 Facts You Didn’t Know About The Products You Buy

From weekly business trips, working with various Fortune 500 companies and other large organizations, to expensed dinners and racking up those travel points – it’s inevitable that the lifestyle of a consultant wouldn’t be short of unique experiences and encounters.

One of the most popular conversations on Fishbowl this year had professionals in our Consulting community share obscure fun facts about industries they’ve worked in… some of these things may surprise you.

Check out the highlights from the conversations and be sure to keep these in mind the next time you engage in any sort of consumer activity.

Before you make the splurge on ‘quality,’ consider the following facts:   

1. “Don’t waste your money on free range chicken. To qualify as free range all the companies have to do is put a small door through which the chicken ‘could’ go outside.”

– Accenture  

2. “Much of the olive oil marketed in the US as extra virgin is not. Also ‘natural,’ ‘first press,’ ‘cold press’ and similar terms are marketing gimmicks and don’t denote quality.”

– PwC

3. “DVDs and BluRays are made by using a press or stamp called a master. So when entertainment companies market that some re-release of an old movie has been ‘digitally remastered,’ it just means that they made a new stamp. Maybe it’s higher quality, maybe it’s not. Doesn’t matter.”

– Deloitte

4. “Groceries sometimes use special LED lights in their meat section to make the beef appear redder (and fresher)”

– Boston Consulting Group

5. “Much of the craft bourbon out there is made by a manufacturer called MGPI in Indiana and then purchased and relabeled by ‘craft’ makers.”

– Principal

6. “Orange juice sits forever in vats. It’s grown once a year and sold as ‘fresh’ year round…”

– PwC

Don’t be fooled by so-called marketed quantities either:

7. “Diamonds aren’t that rare for now. There haven’t been any major gem quality diamond mines found recently so yields will actually start decreasing in the next 5-10 years.”

– PwC

8. “When you see in an online marketplace that there is only ‘X’ number left in stock, that’s just a fake number. Companies simply give you the number that will make you most likely to buy now due to fear of missing out.”

– Accenture

9. “Fashion brands often burn product they don’t sell. Certain watch companies purposely restrict supply to create demand for specific models to retain the image of exclusivity.”

– Senior Consultant

Looking to get a new car? Here are some pro-tips for you:

10. “Many car dealers receive a cash bonus from the manufacturer if they hit a monthly quota. If you’re thinking about a new car it may be helpful to go the last week of a fall or winter month (notoriously slow sales months), because it’s not unheard of for a dealer to actually take a loss on a sale in order to hit the quota.”

– Accenture

11. “Car dealers add a markup to the loan they offer you. So you will most likely get a better rate elsewhere or at least should know what another lender can offer before you walk in so you can negotiate better. And yes that is one reason car loan rates are higher for women and people of color.”

– a Director

Or before you decide to invest in certain stocks:

12. “Do you see those fancy pharma company drug forecasts shared with the Wall Street? Yeah, those are just based on a bunch of assumptions made by one/two guys in the firm with some direction from the senior leadership. No one has any idea about what will really happen. So think before you invest in that stock.”

– ZS Associates

Consider these additional tips when it comes to managing your money:

13. “Always count the money when you withdraw cash from an ATM. Banks have teams of people reconciling ATMs that are out of balance because it over/under dispensed cash.”

– Director

14. “If you’re ever audited by the IRS the best move is to IMMEDIATELY fess up to some small ball shit (e.g. “oh yeah I sold my old car last year and forgot to declare it, my bad”). The IRS is very resource constrained, so the costliest things to them are false positives in the audit selection process and anything that takes up any time whatsoever. Therefore auditors are judged on exactly 2 metrics: 1. Did you find any kind of tax non-compliance? 2. How quickly did you close the case? If you can give the guy a win on both those dimensions, no matter how small, he has literally zero incentive to dig further.”

– Oliver Wyman

And why you should also think twice before providing your information:

15. “Everything you have ever done on your phone/the internet is tracked by your telecom provider. They can be forced to provide this data in civil and criminal cases with a subpoena, court order, or search warrant depending on the type of information requested. Also, they sell your data. Although it is supposed to be scrubbed of any PII when it is sold.”

– Deloitte

16. “When you buy one of those friendly ‘DNA tests’ for your ethnicity, the companies are collecting your ENTIRE genome and storing it… waiting to figure out how to sell it. My guess is health insurance companies will buy it use it like a Carfax for humans…oh you have a cancer gene… your premium is $500/month more. ”

– Accenture

As if your mind isn’t already blown, impress your friends at your next trivia night with these additional fun facts:

17. “Railroad employees are exempt from paying into social security. There is a separate entitlement program just for railroaders (Railroad Retirement) because the industry was so dangerous. There still are about 1-2 railroad workers that die on the job due to accidents monthly.”

– Deloitte Digital

18. “The designs and colors of our jeans are essentially special rocks getting washed in with denim for a certain period of time with a different type of chemical. There is a formula for each design. It actually made me appreciate denim watching that process, and I can get why some jeans cost a lot of money.”

– Accenture

19. “Waffle House has built their entire brand on their restaurants always being open, no matter what. They go so far as to position refrigerated trucks with food outside of expected hurricanes/tornados. The national weather service actually has a ‘Waffle House Index’ for quantifying how disruptive a storm can be. Basically, if WaHo can’t open, you know shit is real.”  

– a Manager

20. “Australia currency cannot be crumpled and doesn’t get wet even if you submerge it in water (or keep it in your pocket while surfing, more likely).”

– PwC


Check out highlights from these Management Consultant conversations on Fishbowl, and be sure to keep them in mind during the holiday shopping season!

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