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amazing secrets hidden in everyday things

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By Charles NwitePublished 5 months ago 18 min read

When you're naturally curious,

every day is a school day.

But I'll bet you didn't realize

just how much there is to learn

about the seemingly mundane items

we see and use on a daily.

From deceptive store displays

to the secret messages hidden in fast food,

let's take a look at yet another batch

of "Amazing Secrets Hidden In Everyday Things."

"Throwing in the Towel."

Unfortunately for your wallet,

shopping is very much a part of everyday life,

and when it comes to tempting their customers,

retailers know that appearance is king.

Bed Bath and Beyond is famous around the world

for their impeccable ceiling-high towel displays,

but have you ever wondered how exactly

they keep them looking so perfect?

While it may look like these towels

are stacked too high heaven,

each stack is just one towel

carefully sheathed over foam rolls

in a way to make it appear as though it's lots of towels

folded on top of one another.

The real towel stacks are wisely kept

within the average shopper's reach,

so most are none the wiser.

Pretty ironic that Bed Bath Beyond

personal hygiene section

would be harboring dirty little secrets like that.

"Pizza Table."

With the soft dough, tangy tomato sauce,

and that oh-so-glorious gooey cheese,

you'd be hard-pressed to find someone

that doesn't love a good slice of 'za,

but I'll bet you never realized just how much thought

goes into your standard takeout pizza in a box.

While the pizza itself

is what catches your eye upon opening the box,

there's something else

that I'll bet you've never paid much mind to,

specifically, this mysterious little piece of plastic.

While it might look like the perfect spot

for a tiny pizza party,

this little table is called a pizza saver.

Its job is essentially to provide

structural support to pizza boxes

when other things are stacked on top during transit.

While you might be wondering why an already flat pizza

would need any kind of crush protection,

the pizza saver plays a crucial role

in preventing the top of the box

from drooping down onto the pizza.

Pizzerias that don't use pizza savers

are at risk of causing any delicious cheese

and toppings to stick to the lid,

turning any sized pizza party into a pizza pity party.

As nifty as this little table's true purpose is,

I'd still love to attend a tiny pizza party.

What a tasteful pepperoni carpet this place has.

"CAPTCHA If You Can."

Thanks to the wonderful world of spammers,

daily internet users are sure to find themselves

convincing websites that they are, in fact, not a robot.

This is RECAPTCHA, an online system that enables websites

to differentiate between genuine human users and spam bots.

On average, humans solve roughly 60 million

online CAPTCHAs every single day,

and you might have noticed

that the questions asked by the picture puzzles

seem just a little bit dumb.

Select all squares with traffic lights,

all images with a bus, crosswalks, and taxis.

The list goes on.

While these tasks might seem random and pointless,

few people realize that the answers we're giving

to these irritating CAPTCHAs

have been steadily moving us closer

to a reality dominated by self-driving cars.

When you identify road hazards and signs in CAPTCHAS,

Google uses this precise information

to help its smart car technology

identify where pedestrian signs, crosswalks,

and cyclists are.

So, when you're sitting with your future grandkids

in your self-driving car,

you can tell them all about

how you've been personally responsible

for the magic of truly smart cars.

"Tough Bus."

In the United States, around 26 million students

ride the school bus to and from school every day.

Chances are you've ridden one yourself,

but have you ever stopped to consider

the design of what's ferrying you to class?

Ever noticed these horizontal steel bars

that jut out the side of American school buses?

These are called rub rails,

and serve to provide structural

and protection support to the bus.

If something were to swipe up against the side of the bus,

the rub rails provide additional reinforcement

against the obstruction,

reducing the chance of damage being done

to the main body of the bus,

keeping the kids inside safe from metal walls

that could otherwise crumple inward.

Pretty neat, huh?

If, like me, you always just assume

those black lines were a stylistic choice,

let me know in the comments.

"Spinning For Air."

They say when one door closes, another opens,

but revolving doors are another kettle of fish,

and, surprisingly, they're full of hidden functions.

While they might seem snazzy,

revolving doors work to save energy

and reduce carbon emissions

by preventing something called the stack effect.

The stack effect occurs in tall buildings

when the outdoor temperature

is significantly different compared to the inside.

During the winter, when a regular swing door opens

at the bottom of a building,

cold, dense air from outside will enter the building

and push its way upward,

forcing the warmer, less dense air out of any openings

at the top of the building.

In summer, cold air-conditioned air

sinks to the bottom of the building

and rushes out when the swing doors open.

Revolving doors are designed in such a way

that there's never a direct opening to the street,

meaning, that the air on the inside

is mostly sealed from the outside,

even when the door is spinning.

These spinning doors exchange eight times less air

compared to swing doors,

and thanks to this tighter control

of the temperature of the air within the building entrance,

buildings that exclusively use revolving doors

can reduce their annual energy consumption

by as much as 74%.

So, the next time you treat yourself

to a fun ride through a revolving door,

you can give yourself an extra pat on the back

for doing your bit to save the planet.

"In-N-Out of Faith."

Some might compare an especially delicious fast-food meal

to a religious experience,

but little do they realize how literal this can be.

We don't often pay much attention

to what our burgers, fries,

and sodas are packaged up in,

but turns out the guys at In-N-Out Burger

have been hiding something sacred right under our noses.

These mysterious markings can be found in hidden

on the underside of cups, the bottoms of boxes,

and near the seams of wrappers.

But what are they?

You may have already realized

that these markers are pointers to Bible passages,

but you probably don't know why exactly they're there.

In-N-Out Burger was founded

by Harry and Esther Snyder in 1948,

and unlike many other fast food joints,

remains privately owned,

an un-franchised, family business to this day.

The Snyders have always been a religious family

and seeing as they own In-N-Out outright,

they can put just about whatever they want on the packaging.

The Bible verses have been present

on the burger joint's packaging since at least 1987,

and mostly indicate passages that promote faith in God.

So maybe fast food isn't as sinful as we thought.

At least, not the kind from In-N-Out.

"Chairing is Caring."

There aren't many better ways

to catch up with a group of pals

then over a cold one at the bar.

While balancing on a bar stool isn't always the easiest,

the most comfortable thing to do,

I bet you never realized

that you're sitting on a gold mine.

A gold mine of secrets that is.

You may have spotted that some bar stools

come with a small round hole in the middle of the seat.

While it might look like it's perfectly placed

for you to silently break the wind in public,

there's a lot more to it.

One of the reasons for this tush hole

is down to air pressure,

and I don't mean backside air.

If no hole was present,

the chairs are more likely to get stuck when stacked

because of air vacuums

that form within the gap between two chairs.

It can also, more obviously, act as a convenient hole

to hook your finger into

for a better grip when moving them around.

Thanks to the bar stool's handy hole,

the only balancing act you'll need to do

is when you find yourself sitting on one.

"Easy Street."

It's easy for pedestrians to go about their daily routine

without paying much attention

to the sidewalks, they're using,

but some features are essential

to certain folks getting around.

If you've ever noticed raised patterns

like these on the ground,

they aren't there for a fun change in pace.

That's what's known as tactile paving

and it's designed to guide people with visual impairments

through busy areas like city sidewalks

and public transport stations.

There are two main types of tactile paving.

Directional blocks and warning blocks.

Directional blocks like these serve to guide

those with visual impairments towards important landmarks

such as train station platforms and accessible exits.

Warning blocks often work

in conjunction with directional blocks

and can indicate a change in direction

or significant landmarks such as platform edges

and curbsides.

And this isn't the only secret message

hidden in our sidewalks.

Love it or hate it,

graffiti has become a part of everyday life.

City dwellers, in particular,

are so used to seeing these urban hieroglyphics on the daily

that they've become synonymous with city life.

But did you know that some of it

is meant to be there?

Certain spray-painted messages

may mean nothing to the untrained eye,

but they're essential for warning street engineers

and construction workers about the different types

of underground hazards in the area.

These markings are color-coded,

and common colors include: red,

which indicates electric power lines;

yellow for gas and oil lines;

green for sewers and drain lines;

and orange, which covers communication wires.

This one in particular refers to a communication wire

that's running under the ground,

with the line and arrow indicating

the wires offset a little further

over from the line's position.

This offset usually happens if there's something obstructing

the ability to mark the actual position,

like a building or a busy road.

So, the next time you're wandering up the boulevard,

you'll know that the pavement itself

is determined to make sure that everyone,

both workers and civilians,

are walking on an easy street.

"Off Target."

With almost 2,000 stores across the U.S.A.,

it's likely that the average American visits

or sees a Target branch pretty much every day.

You're likely to recognize

the brand's iconic bright red bullseye logo,

but have you ever been to a Target

and noticed those big red spheres

sitting right out front of the store?

You might have assumed they're just decorations

to add to the overall brand aesthetic,

but those gigantic pimples

serve a very important purpose.

They're bollards,

and are there to act as a barrier between cars

and the storefront,

keeping customers safe in the event a vehicle loses control.

While the bollards you're probably familiar with

look more like this,

Target took the opportunity to make theirs hit the mark

when it came to brand recognition.


While your parents might have told you

that too much fast food isn't good for you,

you can never fill up on too many fast food secrets.

While the question of exactly which fast food chain

serves the best chicken nuggets is a tough one,

it's no secret that Chick-fil-A is up there.

But the real secret lies

not with Chick-fil-A's chicken nuggets,

but the box they come in.

In November 2018, one... (clearing throat)

A Genius Twitter user seemingly solved

a big Chick-fil-A mystery.

According to them, the hole in the back

of the humble nugget box exists

so you can perch the top atop your drink

and have a place to thread your straw through.

Now, I'm always the first in line for a fast food hack,

but this doesn't seem quite right,

and that's because it isn't.

The hole in this instance is a removable tab

and its purpose is far more than a simple straw hole.

There are, in fact, three tabs

on the backs of the boxes Chick-fil-A use

to serve their chicken pieces.

But they're not there for straws.

According to the company,

the three punchable tabs are there

to indicate what's in the box.

Nuggets, strips, or others.

Either way, the straw trick is still pretty cool

and it's safe to say that Chick-fil-A

is Chick-Full O' secrets.

"A Cut Above."

Kitchen scissors are a deceptively handy tool.

While most people just use them

for chopping herbs or opening packets,

they have quite a few lesser-known uses.

You might have noticed

that one of the more obvious differences

between regular scissors and the kitchen variety

is the serrated gap often found

between the handles of kitchen scissors.

But you may not have realized

what the actual purpose of those metal teeth is.

Tight jar lids and bottle tops can be a real menace,

especially from my delicate palms,

but those serrated edges can act as a grip

for any stubborn lids.

They can even pop off a bottle cap,

though many scissors come with more effective,

dedicated tools for this purpose built-in.

But, that's not all.

The little serrated teeth

can also serve as a cracker for nuts and shells,

and in some scissor varieties, as an herb stripper.

They truly are a cut above the rest.

"Soul Searching."

While you may walk around wearing Vans sneakers for fashion,

they gained popularity in the late sixties

as practical, affordable shoes.

As skateboarding gained popularity in the seventies,

Vans developed its signature design,

and thanks to their grippy, durable, weighted soles,

they proved ideal for skaters,

given that grip tape was only just beginning

to be used on boards.

But there's a pretty red trick you can perform with Vans,

no skateboards are required.

That's right, just like a cat always lands on its feet,

a pair of Vans will almost always land on its soles.

It doesn't work 100% of the time,

but the thick sole's disproportionate weight

will often orientate the shoe correctly

as it hits the ground.

Heck, I had a pair of vans that lasted me nearly a decade,

so it looks like they might have nine lives too.

"Abandoned Chip?"

Crispy, crunchy, and oh-so-addictive,

potato chips reign supreme in the salty snack world.

But some chip consumers may have noticed

that now and again

while digging in their favorite bag,

they'll pull out one of these.

But what is exactly up with these green chips?

Is it mold?

And, more importantly, are they safe to eat?

When potato chips turn out green,

it's because they were made from taters

that have been exposed to too much light in the storage

and have become laced with a toxin called solanine.

Solanine can cause some pretty nasty side effects

when ingested in large amounts,

including vomiting, headaches, diarrhea,

and even paralysis of the central nervous system.

But, before you swear off chips for life,

it's worth noting that you'd have to consume

several pounds of solanine-laced chips

to reach a dangerous level of toxicity.

So, when you find a green potato chip somewhere in your bag,

it's okay, just know it probably spent

a little too long in the sun.

"Shifty, Shifty."

In our modern world, there's no getting away from computers.

It's not much of a secret

that modern keyboards were based on typewriters,

but some key changes have been made

to keep up with the evolving ways we use computers.

You might have wondered why countless keyboards

have two sets of control, alt, and shift keys.

What's the point in having two sets of keys

that do the same thing?

The purpose of these duplicate keys is, quite simply,

to help the typist access the same function

with whichever hand is most convenient.

However, some countries' keyboards have an Alt Gr button,

short for alt graph,

which allows the user to type foreign letters and characters

by tapping the keys the keyboard is assigned

for the purpose.

Though, I'm still going to continue to believe

that the Alt Gr key is just the alt key you press

when you're angry.

"Get a Grip."

Spend more than a few minutes soaking in the bathtub

or tearing it up in the swimming pool,

and you'll notice that your fingers have undergone

a pretty dramatic transformation.

But what exactly is up with water-shriveled fingers?

This question has plagued scientists for quite some time

and, even now, they can't be 100% sure,

but there's one theory in particular that stands out.

Some scientists have suggested

that the wrinkles on our wet fingers and toes

may act like rain treads on tires or the soles of shoes,

which makes it easier to grip objects with wet skin.

The theory goes that our wrinkled digits and soles

could have given our ancient ancestors

a key advantage when it came to gripping damp branches

or exploring over wet, slippery rocks.

I guess the main benefit these days

is being able to grip onto our precious phones

on rainy days.

"King Of Broken Hearts."

Depending on what game you're playing,

kings are usually amongst the most important playing cards.

But if you look a little closer at the king of hearts,

you might notice something that just might break your heart.

Horrifyingly enough, the king of hearts is often depicted

as sticking a sword into his noggin.

But, why?

While this is often attributed

to a story about King Charles VII of France going mad

and committing a similar deed,

that rumor is a load of baloney.

While the real Charles did become very ill

and paranoid towards the end of his life,

his ultimate end came when an abscess in his mouth

caused so much swelling,

he was unable to swallow anything,

leading him to starve to death in 1461.

A pretty horrendous end indeed,

but, sorry, Charlie boy, this isn't about you.

There's a lot of debate over the source of inspiration

for the King of Hearts card,

but one plausible story is more widely accepted than others.

While the king of hearts

is most likely based on a French ruler,

it's one that sat on the throne

more than 600 years before Charles VII.

Charlemagne was the ruler of Francia,

part of which later became France,

and he was later the first Holy Roman Emperor of Europe

in the ninth century.

The main theory goes that the early king of hearts played cards

depicted Charlemagne, the great conqueror,

holding his weapon aloft,

but this was set to change.

The card ended up going through variations in its design,

as artists copied one another imperfectly over time.

Beginning with a battle ax being held over the king's head,

it's likely that those copying the pictures

misinterpreted the weapon close behind the king's head

as a sword that looks like it's embedded inside his head.

To this day, misinformation spread around the internet

about the card king's head,

have led to some pretty hilarious modern updates

to the king of heart's card.

Sorry, Iron Man, R.I.P.

"Oh Crumbs!"

While popping a couple of slices in the toaster

is a part of many people's daily routines,

a surprising number fail to realize

that their favorite kitchen appliance

is hiding a secret in plain sight.

At the base of some toasters,

you'll find a hidden compartment

that plays a very crucial role,

and if you didn't know about this,

you might be in for a bit of a messy shock.

This is a crumb tray,

which conveniently catches any crumbly rubble

as you insert and remove the bread from the toaster.

You're supposed to empty the crumb tray

after every two to three uses of your toaster,

according to manufacturers,

so expect a debris horror show

if you're only opening yours for the first time.

Oh, crumbs, indeed.

"Saucy Secrets."

One of the best things about a trip to McDonald's

is the sauce station.

Despite the ample supply of sauce,

sachet and pump-activated alike,

regular customers have no doubt

come up against the question of where to put it.

While squeezing it out onto a little cup is a good option,

there's an even more convenient choice

if you've got some fries.

You can bend the back of your fry box

to form a nice little platform for your ketchup.

But before you go thinking

that McDonald's did this on purpose,

I'm afraid it's not that simple.

In reality, the higher flap of the box is purpose-built

to help Mickey D's crew members

easily scoop fries into the package,

using the flap as a funnel.

Still, that doesn't mean the fry flap can't double

as prime dipping real estate anyhow.

While the old saying suggests the proof is in the pudding,

this next saucy surprise proves that the real secrets

are in the sauce packets themselves.

Eagle-eyed condiment lovers have realized

that there are some mysterious numbers

marked on the single-serve ketchup packets

available in some restaurants.

Some condiment-conspiracists theorized

that the numbers equate to each packet's level of sweetness,

suggesting that the lower number

indicates the packet has a sweeter taste,

and the higher numbers signal a sourer taste,

meaning you can secretly tailor your dipping experience.

While this might sound like a mind-blowing fact,

it's a squeezed-out serving of pure fiction.

The real reason behind the elusive numbers

has been confirmed

by the number one condiment king, Heinz.

The sauce-laden company has stated that the numbers refer

to the different filling lines, the sachets were filled at

during the manufacturing process in factories.

So, as fun as sweet and sour variations sound,

it all comes down to the layout of a factory.

Which is, honestly, pretty dull.

But I hate to be a bore,

Do you know any more amazing everyday secrets?

Let me know in the comments below

and you might just see it show up

in the next part of the series,

with a shout-out of course,

Thanks for reading.

naturehumanityhow tofact or fiction

About the Creator

Charles Nwite

Kari is a talented article writer and recent high school graduate from Nigeria. With a passion for storytelling and a knack for capturing the reader's attention, Charles is quickly making a name for himself in the world of writing.

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Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

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