Barcode Myths Debunked

Barcodes are everywhere. Almost everything that you buy either in a store or online will more than likely have a barcode printed somewhere on the packaging. Their primary function is to store information about a particular item for inventory tracking, accounting, and the point of sale. Barcodes have been around since 1973. The first one ever used in a live retail application? That honor goes to a pack of Wrigley’s chewing gum at a Marsh supermarket in Troy, Ohio in 1974. On the surface, barcodes are a useful tool to help companies track their sales and inventory. But many barcode myths have surfaced over the years. Here are a few of the top ones.

Barcodes are evil

This is probably the most popular myth surrounding barcodes. There is a rumor that hidden within the barcode is the number 666. If you are a religious person, then you will recognize that that number is associated with Satan as spelled out in the Bible’s book of Revelation. So where does this myth come from? George Laurer was credited with perfecting the barcode. As chance would have it he has six letters in his first, middle, and last name. Rumors began to swirl that he was a servant of Satan and was attempting to sway the righteous to the will of the devil.

Barcodes reveal the origin of a product

Barcodes can sometimes tell you where a company is headquartered, but not where a product is manufactured. There are other more reliable ways to find out where a product comes from if you are interested. Usually there is some indication where a product is made on the label. You can always Google it as well.

Looking into a barcode scanner will blind you

Here is an interesting myth. While I wouldn’t recommend staring into a barcode scanner, it probably won’t blind you. Modern scanners use LED lights which are basically safe.


There are many barcode myths that have surfaced over the years. The proceeding is just a few of the most common ones. These useful tools have been the subject of controversy, but the myths surrounding them can easily be debunked with a little research. The next time you are at the store take a minute to think about how the barcode has helped track what you are buying and has brought it into your hands.

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