The Delightful Hidden Meanings of 7 Everyday Objects

The little pocket on your jeans. The little hole in your pen cap. They're not just there for show.

The color of the tag on your store-bought bread …

Ali Blumenthal for Reader's Digest

… Tells grocers what day of the week the bread was shipped. Bread is usually delivered fresh to stores five days a week—Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday—and each day has its own colored tag or twist tie. Though some companies use their own system, this common code is easy to remember: Just as the days of the week proceed in order from Monday to Saturday, their corresponding colors proceed in alphabetical order—blue, green, red, white, yellow. Here are other supermarket tricks you don't know about.

That tiny pocket on 
your blue jeans …

Ali Blumenthal for Reader's Digest

… Is for your pocket watch. Well, maybe not yours, but the cowboys who made 
blue jeans famous in the 1800s were plumb grateful for it. Typically, watches were carried on chains and worn in 
waistcoats, but hard field labor made that 
a lot less practical. Outdoors, the “watch pocket” on any pair of jeans did just the trick—even after watches moved to the wrist. “This extra pouch has served many functions, evident in its many titles,” the Levi Strauss website reminds us: “frontier pocket, coin pocket, match pocket, and ticket pocket, to name a few.” Here's how to clean jeans by using your freezer.

The arrow next to 
the gas symbol on your dashboard …

Ali Blumenthal for Reader's Digest

… Is a perpetual reminder 
of which side your gas cap 
is on. If the arrow points right, your gas tank is on the 
right side of your car, and vice versa. Nearly every car 
sold in the United States now comes equipped with this handy guide so you’ll never be stumped at the pump again. This is why cars have gas tanks on different sides.

The hole in your pen cap...

iStock/Ruben Pinto

... Is there to prevent choking. BIC first added the tiny punctures in the top of their pen caps in 1991 both to equalize pressure inside the pen, and to give cap swallowers a last-ditch lifeline; if a cap gets lodged in someone’s throat, they will still be able to breath through the hole. This may sound like an irrational fear, but according to Business Insider more than 10,000 people have swallowed parts of pens and pencils. Lego mini-figures have holes in their heads for the same reason. You'll be appalled by what BIC pens were almost called.

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That little strawberry attached to your pincushion …

Ali Blumenthal for Reader's Digest

… Is an emery board for your needles. Filled with tough emery sand—a combination of aluminum and iron oxides—the strawberry is historically a tool for polishing, sharpening, and removing rust from your pins and needles.

The perforations on the sides of your aluminum- wrap container …

Ali Blumenthal for Reader's Digest

… Are called end locks and, when pushed in, are meant to keep your roll secure inside the box. Many similar kitchen products, such as plastic wrap, come equipped with the same feature so you’ll never rip the whole roll out of the box when you want just a single piece. Try out these creative uses for aluminum foil. It's good for a lot more than storing leftovers.

The tiny hole outside an elevator…

iStock/Kenneth Schutze

… is not a secret spyglass (sorry, kids)— it is a keyhole so authorized personnel can open the doors for maintenance, whether the elevator is behind them or not.

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