Processes and procedures we do not want to know about!
April 17, 2021 8:19 PM   Subscribe

What other processes, other than how hot dogs are made, do we really don't want to know about?

The cliche is that knowing how hot dogs are made will turn you off them forever. Wondering what other kinds of processes have the same "ooooh I didn't want to know that" caveat!
posted by storybored to Grab Bag (42 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
The criminal justice system?

I mean. We should learn about it anyway. But the little bits I know are pretty horrifying.
posted by eirias at 8:21 PM on April 17 [15 favorites]


Hmmm how the sausage gets made is a variation on the hot dog theme I suppose...

There’s a lot of stuff like this in the food/meat/seafood industry generally, like what happens to male chickens upon hatching... everything about the fishing industry... corn as a platform. I feel like this is a whole genre of Netflix.
posted by wowenthusiast at 8:24 PM on April 17 [3 favorites]


Are you looking for the gross-out factor specifically? Or are things where the level of nonchalance would worry you? Because if the latter, pretty much anything relating to software.
posted by kevinbelt at 8:40 PM on April 17 [9 favorites]


Well, there's an **incredible** amount of tedium associated with filmmaking for movies and TV. The cliche is "It's not the time it takes to take the takes that takes the time, it's the time it takes between the takes that takes the time." I can't remember who said this but I think it was a famous author who visited the set of a film being made from their book, but it's something like: there's nothing so interesting as your first day on set, and nothing so boring as every day after that. I have to agree, after having spent many years on set, and also being married to a guy who has spent more than 40 years as a below-the-line crew guy.

All those fun blooper clips of everyone laughing and goofing off is like 1/2% at most. The rest of the time includes such scintillating moments as the DP taking 20 minutes to readjust the lighting after the actors have already done 5 takes.
posted by BlahLaLa at 8:40 PM on April 17 [21 favorites]


Politics.
Surgery.
Autopsies.
Proctology.
Periodontology.
Stool sample analysis.
Cleaning up crime scenes.
posted by NotLost at 8:40 PM on April 17 [2 favorites]


I would say that there are a lot of medical procedures that are better left as, "Surgery went well. Your spousefriendrelative is in recovery."

I had a friend who worked in a slaughterhouse in New Zealand whose job it was as the sheep came down the line was to quickly with a swift twist of a knife, cut out the sphincter. Turns out to be a very messy job. Makes you not want to have that lamb chop.

I personally would rather not know what certain programs are doing in the background such as autopilot on my 767. There is a lot of trust that goes into letting someone else program and test that. I am sure if I knew some of the issues that arose during development and how they solved them, I would not be comfortable. Better left with the assumption it is bulletproof.

Anytime you are relying on humans doing things that can cause bodily harm or even death if things go wrong, I would rather just assume it has been tested under EVERY possible circumstance millions of times rather than think about the business decision that this is good enough and we can survive the lawsuits if something goes wrong rather than spend more money testing.

Also, how some military decisions are arrived at. They are doing calculations, really guesses, on casualties and what the tradeoffs are. I would rather have the delusion that they are in agreement with me that the collateral damage is going to be minimalized.
posted by AugustWest at 8:41 PM on April 17 [5 favorites]


Please believe me when I say you do not want to know what most sewage systems do when it rains. At least not if you live near a body of water you ever spend time in.

(I've found that people are genuinely fascinated by sewer systems and how they work in the abstract, but it's not really a stories-at-parties kinda thing when you get into the details.)
posted by kalimac at 8:41 PM on April 17 [11 favorites]


SO MANY THINGS related to some of the funeral/death care providers here in the US. Jessica Mitford's classic The American Way of Death is beyond astonishing.
posted by mochapickle at 8:42 PM on April 17 [6 favorites]


When I worked as a bartender, you did not want to know the effectiveness of us cleaning glasses. Also, the well alcohol would get mixed together when there was very little left. So, using brand names, if we had a few ounces of Jim Beam and a few of Jack Daniels, we would combine them and put them in the well.
posted by AugustWest at 8:45 PM on April 17 [4 favorites]


The guy who took the pictures of animals that some call "the original LOLcats" was not really an LOLer, and worked himself to exhaustion, and often harassed the animals he worked with.
posted by jessamyn at 8:46 PM on April 17 [1 favorite]


The law.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 8:46 PM on April 17


The recycling industry.
posted by 2N2222 at 8:53 PM on April 17 [1 favorite]


The production of "feeder insects" for pet reptiles/frogs

The international reptile/amphibian trade (maybe people should be turned off about that)

mushroom cultivation (I'm told; probably not true for all mushrooms)

The settlement of the Americas
posted by amtho at 8:54 PM on April 17 [3 favorites]


Seconding sewage systems: you don't want to know why they have a machine known as a Muffin Monster®.

Chocolate making has a couple of really nasty steps. The really horrid looking one is dealing with all the nasty cocoa butter, which slimes up everything
posted by scruss at 8:54 PM on April 17 [5 favorites]


I lived near a maggot factory (for maggots for fishing). Judging by the smell... though I think we can all guess...
posted by How much is that froggie in the window at 9:05 PM on April 17 [2 favorites]


While I'm tempted to say 'most medicine, especially surgery,' I'll narrow it down to say the details of wound care.
posted by cobaltnine at 9:07 PM on April 17 [3 favorites]


Climbing Everest! The human waste dotting the snow, the mess of abandoned flags and garbage littering the peak, the corpses serving as waypoints (turn left when you see the body with the green boots, etc.), the shuffling lines of inexperienced climbers literally being yanked to the top so they can get their selfie and bragging rights, the inhumane treatment of the guides/sherpas who are putting their lives at risk...
posted by mochapickle at 9:12 PM on April 17 [25 favorites]


One of my exes said you do not want to know how they make milkshakes at Jack in the Box. I like said milkshakes, so I did not ask.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:39 PM on April 17 [5 favorites]


law and criminal justice are noted above. i specifically need to call out prisons and plea bargains.

also, court-mandated drug treatment is a sham and a grift. a big circle of unavoidable probation violations, more charges, and profit for the man.

heroin-meth users can't remember to brush their teeth. how the fuck are they supposed to handle a bus schedule and an appt that's cancelled after 10 minutes?
posted by j_curiouser at 9:41 PM on April 17 [3 favorites]


A bitter pistachio usually means you've eaten an entire navel orangeworm larva.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 9:42 PM on April 17 [17 favorites]


Commercial ground coffee can include up to 10% of ground-up bugs. (I am so sorry.)
posted by mochapickle at 9:55 PM on April 17 [2 favorites]


Oh man. Service work. Janitorial work, cleaning, cooking, maid service.

Basically anytime you go on vacation, you probably "don't want to know" about the behind the scenes horrible shit the people serving you have to live through.
posted by RobinofFrocksley at 10:14 PM on April 17 [2 favorites]


How often 99% of the people (working) in most restaurants wash their hands.
And whether or not a pandemic has improved that number.
posted by stormyteal at 10:27 PM on April 17 [2 favorites]


Potty training. A childhood memory that I am forever grateful that I don’t remember.

I remember some of my kid sister’s and no. Just no.
posted by bendy at 10:28 PM on April 17


Hotel housekeeping.
posted by bendy at 10:30 PM on April 17 [1 favorite]


Labor and delivery.
posted by stormyteal at 10:31 PM on April 17 [3 favorites]


If you like eating in restaurants, never, ever read the Reddit thread called something like "restaurant inspectors: what is the grossest thing you have come across?" (Having worked in a few restaurants, they weren't bad. So maybe it's not all restaurants. Or maybe I just didn't know everything.)
posted by slidell at 10:45 PM on April 17 [1 favorite]


The cruise industry.
posted by flug at 11:55 PM on April 17 [2 favorites]


The thought of using a jacuzzi isn't very appealing to me after I worked in a job where I had to clean them.
posted by iamsuper at 12:29 AM on April 18 [7 favorites]


What happens to slops in pubs.
posted by StephenB at 2:22 AM on April 18


While I'm tempted to say 'most medicine, especially surgery,' I'll narrow it down to say the details of wound care.
posted by cobaltnine at 0:07 on April 18 [2 favorites +] [!]


Wound care, specifically animal bites/wounds. It happened to me last Dec. I was gobsmacked. Still am.
posted by james33 at 5:02 AM on April 18


Seconding the entire field of medicine!!!!
posted by 8603 at 5:21 AM on April 18


Scientific research using animals. My job involves reading descriptions and looking at pictures.

But really, any enterprise that uses animals - food (as mentioned above), clothing, entertainment. Photographer Jo-Anne McArthur has made it her life's work to photograph the use of animals throughout the world, so if you do want to look, her organization We Animals Media is a good place to start.
posted by FencingGal at 5:49 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]


Banana ice cream.

Just trust me.
posted by spitbull at 6:29 AM on April 18




Scientific production using animals.

I spent some time in the healthcare business, working on the tests that hospitals use to screen patients for nasty viruses like HIV, Hepatitis, etc. The antigen-related tests work by looking for an attraction between the virus particles in your blood versus the antibody particles that are in the test reagents.

So those antibody components need to be made somehow, and there is no way to make them artificially. There are farms full of animals, usually goats, infected with various diseases and their antibodies are harvested to produce the kits. The company I worked for went to very great lengths to make sure very few people knew about the farms and where they were located.

The only way I found out about it was reading a corporate safety report (nobody read these, I was bored) about an employee that was injured chasing a runaway goat. Funny at first, not funny when I finally found out the real story.
posted by JoeZydeco at 6:51 AM on April 18 [4 favorites]


Banana ice cream

What??? Why?? I need more info please!
posted by bahama mama at 7:02 AM on April 18 [5 favorites]


One of my exes said you do not want to know how they make milkshakes at Jack in the Box. I like said milkshakes, so I did not ask.

I used to work at Starbucks more than a decade ago and once read the ingredients off the box of Frappucino base and have regretted it ever since. Frappucinos are gross y'all.
posted by mostly vowels at 8:21 AM on April 18


It's not gross, but the amount of plasticware, electricity and hazardous chemicals that goes into getting the data for climate research is demoralising. Some of our samples use 10-20 pieces of single use plastic or glass, litres and litres of acid, and unbelieveable amounts of electricity. For one single dot on a graph.
posted by kjs4 at 7:38 PM on April 18 [2 favorites]



It's not gross, but the amount of plasticware, electricity and hazardous chemicals that goes into getting the data for climate research is demoralising. Some of our samples use 10-20 pieces of single use plastic or glass, litres and litres of acid, and unbelieveable amounts of electricity. For one single dot on a graph.


see; modern everything in the world that is far, far dumber than a dot on a graph
posted by lalochezia at 5:40 AM on April 19


The Justice system in the UK - Stories of the law and how it’s broken


posted by lalochezia at 5:41 AM on April 19


Knowing the back end drama and business of places of worship can be a good way to lose religion.
posted by donut_princess at 3:54 AM on April 20 [1 favorite]


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