collusion or collaboration to nefarious ends
which makes it seem like some villainous or sinister thing, to be in cahoots with someone. Let's say, the hotdogs are sold in jars of 6, but the buns are in bags of 8. So you get two leftover buns and need to buy more hotdogs, and then you have four leftover hotdogs and need to buy more buns. It's rather iniquitous of them to place their consumers in a vicious cycle like that, just to make another sale, so then the hotdog people and the bun people are in cahoots with eachother, aren't they.
But what about using "cahoots" as a more positive term?
"I'm in cahoots with her friends to throw her a surprise bridal shower"
or something. By that, I wanted to say we're being sneaky and secretive about what we're up to. It might involve a white lie here or there, but in the end when it's out in the open she won't care about any of that. Does that work okay or does it seem like an inappropriate word use?