Myths about Barcodes: Fact or Fiction?

Retail barcodes are the devil’s work; they contain personal and business information. They are too expensive. These are some of the myths about barcodes. Are they fact or fiction? We like to tell ourselves stories in order to make our lives more exciting, some might say we thrive on drama. This is one of the reasons why conspiracy theories abound worldwide. In this article we will briefly touch on some of the main theories we have read and heard about.

By far the most intriguing conspiracy theory regarding retail barcodes is that they are the mark of the devil. This all goes back to Revelations 13:16 which states: “And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.” According to this conspiracy, all barcodes have the number 666 hidden in them. This is the mark of the beast that is supposedly on the body of the Antichrist, who is predicted to bring about the end of days. Therefore, they are the work of the devil. Despite how intriguing this conspiracy theory is, it is not true. The belief all began because the number six is almost the same pattern as the three guard bars that mark the beginning, middle and end of the code. These guard bars appear 3 times– representing the 666 number. This has been proven false. These guard bars are there solely to enable the scanner to read the barcodes and not to embed the mark of the devil himself. The scanners that are used use a LED or laser light that reads the barcodes at a fast speed, this causes light to reflect back off of the image. The white spaces reflect more light than the black bars. This is also why it is very important to print at the best colour contrast, it is always safest to stick to printing in black and white. The scanner is able to read the number by deciphering the light that is reflected back with a light sensitive image sensor. The thicker mentioned bars are in order for the scanner to decipher exactly where the barcodes image begins and ends. No sinister hidden meaning there.

A second myth is that they contain information pertaining to where the product comes from or information relating to the product itself or the company selling the product. All of this is not actually true. They are actually a completely blank code, consisting of the black lines with the number underneath it. So when you receive them from a company, there is no information stored on them. It is not possible to store information on the barcodes themselves. The next step is to load these retail barcodes onto your sales system and link it to your product information. If you are providing retail barcodes for products you would like to sell in a supermarket or other store, this step will be done by the retailer. You choose which barcodes you would like to use for which product, keep those records in a safe place and pass the information onto your retail stores, they will manually load each number into their system along with the individual product information and the pricing of the product. This also allows the retail store to edit any information themselves if need be, such a price increases, sale items etc. Imagine how time consuming it would be if every time information needed to be changed the supplier had to edit it before the store could proceed on their side? This way it saves time for everyone involved.

barcodes2Other people have come to believe that looking into a Barcode Scanner can blind you. These scanners use LED lights, which many people believe causes blindness. It is true that continual exposure to light, especially blue LED lights may damage your vision to some extent. However for this to happen, you would have to be staring directly into an LED scanner for an excessively long period of time for any damage to occur. Looking briefly at the scanner is not going to cause any damage at all. The people that work the most with scanners would be cashiers in retail stores and they are not looking directly into the light of the scanner as it is placed under a cover and they just pass the products along the light to read the information.

Another myth claims that it is a long, expensive, and difficult process to initiate a barcoding system within your business. This is not true either. All you need is a scanner, a sales system, and the retail barcodes themselves. The first step is to find out which ones will work best for your specific business. Most retailers in South Africa and America prefer the EAN format, which consists of 13 digits. At Barcodes 123, we provide top quality EAN and UPC formats, which are 12 digits long, at the most affordable rates. We make it simple, easy, and very affordable to start improving your business. You could have your barcodes within twenty four hours. We email all the necessary information through to you. All our transactions are done online, no lengthy forms that need to be filled in and sent back, we will guide you step by step to purchase directly from our website:
In conclusion, these myths and conspiracies may be interesting and intriguing to read about, but they are not true. To find out more about what is fact or fiction regarding barcodes, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are keen to chat.