Well Hello There, New Bar Codes

Snazzy new bar codes are starting to adorn our fruit and vegetables to stop blurry-eyed cashiers from ringing up organic produce as the cheaper-priced regular stuff. They’re called GS1 DataBars, and they’re already appearing in select supermarkets to help consumers move faster through checkout lines.

“It’s quicker and far more accurate,” Mr. Biddiscombe said. But the system is valuable not only for speeding checkout times and for keeping track of different varieties of bulk vegetables and fruits sold. It also prevents another checkout problem: cashiers mistaking organic vegetables for less expensive, conventionally grown ones, and ringing them up for the lower price.

“The price difference between organic and field tomatoes may be 40 cents a pound or more,” he said. “When they aren’t rung up as organic, that bites into our profit margins.”

Kelly Kirschner, senior marketing manager at Sinclair International, a company in Fresno, Calif., that makes labeling for produce, said DataBars were gradually becoming popular because of limitations of the standard bar code. The standard code, she said, “takes up too much space to be used on loose produce, plus it is for fixed-weight items” – for example, 12-ounce boxes of cereal. The DataBar, by contrast, allows stores to scan for variable weight information.

Has anyone seen these yet?

The Bar Code Is Taking a Leap Forward [The New York Times]


Edit Your Comment

  1. madanthony says:

    Maybe this will also help self-checkout lines move faster – I’ve been stuck behind people who stare puzzled at the touchscreen when checking out the vegetables, as if they can’t grasp that “onion” comes after “apple” in the alphabet.

    • Jim Topoleski says:

      @madanthony: Hey! Sometimes its not the onion… its the fact that the market has 4 different onions, all different prices, but will be missing vidalia and just have plain white onion in the produce screen with NO code to plug in.

      • ngwoo says:

        @Jim Topoleski: Everybody knows that you’re supposed to pick the cheapest one.

      • mxjohnson says:

        @Jim Topoleski:

        And Yellow Onion is listed under O, but Red Onion is listed under R.

      • Rectilinear Propagation says:

        @Jim Topoleski: That sort of thing is why I will not self checkout if I have produce.

        • subtlefrog says:

          @Rectilinear Propagation: Heh – when I used it regularly, I actually memorized all the SKUs for the produce myself. Much faster. Then when I would go through regular check out, and the cashier would be at a loss, I would just offer up the SKU, she’d look at me like I had two heads for a split second, then was very happy that she didn’t have to dig through The Book. Of course, now that I’ve seen from others here how well it was organized, I understand better why she would be so grateful.

    • lordargent says:


      Ohh man, apples are vegetables? So that’s what I have been doing wrong :P

    • bonzombiekitty says:

      @madanthony: It’s actually not as easy as you make it out to be. In my personal experience, those lists of produce codes are often not organized in the best fashion. When I was a cashier, I remember potatoes being a pain in the butt. For example if you came up with a bag of “organic loose red potatoes”, the code for it would be found in only one of the possible combinations of those four words, and the word combination did not have a consistent pattern (so loose organic yellow potatoes would be under a different heading).

      It also doesn’t help matters when you’ve been standing in one spot for four hours and have the customer yelling at you going “they’re potatoes! Po-tay-toes!!!”. Ugh, that was such a pain, and I was really good at remembering the codes. What was even more annoying was that it was a huge pain to void weighed items. The weight used when voiding had to be exactly the same as the weight when charged, except that while you could deduct the weight of the bag when charging for the stuff, you couldn’t do that when you tried to void. This meant that the void weight was always slightly over the charged weight, and it’d take some time of carefully setting the scale to match the original weight. So if you weren’t 100% sure of the code, you had to look it up.

      • Kickstartheart says:

        @bonzombiekitty: I don’t have a problem with potatoes. Off the top of my head, there’s only the following to worry about:

        Brown, red, petite red, white, yellow, sweet potato, yam. Once in a while, I’ll have to look up purple potatoes. Any other weird potatoes, like fingerlings, are in scannable bags.

        Though voiding weighted items can indeed be a bitch sometimes.

    • PsiCop says:


      I’ve used self-service registers that were truly baffling to use, and had to spend time deciphering how to proceed. For instance, I once bought some Macoun apples, but that variety was not on the screen. I had to page through all the apple varieties before realizing they were not listed. So I went back to a variety that was at the same price, and chose that.

      I’ve also had other sorts of problems at these things, including:

      * The machine tells me to clear the scale, when I never put anything on it, and it won’t proceed until I’ve cleared it — but because there’s nothing to clear, it will never proceed. Manual intervention is required by a store employee, and finding one who has both the system authority and willingness to do so, is a challenge in itself.

      * Some stores don’t allow you to put in coupons. You have to go somewhere and give them to a cashier to enter for you, then return to the place you were to pay. But … you don’t know that, until you get to the end of your order and realize there’s no option to put in coupons. You then have to figure out what you’re supposed to do with them.

      * These machines also check the output belt to see that you’ve actually put down the item you just scanned. But as with the scale problem I mentioned, the thing doesn’t always “see” the item you just put down, and reports an error. Lifting the item off the belt and putting it back down, however, causes another error … again, you have to find an employee to reset the thing for you.

      * God help you if you accidentally scan something twice and have to back out the duplicate scan. Prepare not only to hunt for an employee with the authority and willingness to void the duplicate item, but for the 3rd degree as to how you made the mistake in the first place.

      * Do you scan your “store-loyalty card” at the beginning of the order? At the end? Or can you scan it anywhere in between? If at the start of the order, the machine will usually tell you. But if you do it at the end, you aren’t told up-front. You have to guess.

      * Do you scan coupons while you’re scanning items? Or at the end of the order? Or are you not permitted to put them in at all (as I mentioned earlier)? I know of no self-service cashier system that tells you. You simply have to guess, and scan your coupons. If the system balks, you have to guess again, and try some other time.

      While I agree there are a LOT of stupid and befuddled people trying to use these things, it is by the same token NOT always the case that they’re to blame for any hold-up.

      The bottom line is that self-service cashiering is generally not well-designed or well-implemented. It’s often done with hypersensitive or unpredictable hardware (such as scales that think things are on them when there’s nothing there). There are too few ways to “reset” them when they go haywire. There is FAR too much guesswork required of the customers that use them. There are exceptions to this rule, but not many.

      I suspect that these things are designed for techies and “early adopters” who are famously patient with stupid implementations of new technology. And the stores are pretty much focusing on making them appeal to this specific demographic. Thus they have virtually no incentive to improve them. I know a lot of folks who will NEVER use a self-service register because, in their minds, “they don’t work.” And while this is an irrational conclusion, there is a little merit to this thinking … because the truth is that while they work, they never work very well.

      What’s needed is better standardization across stores, and more stable hardware that can handle what’s demanded of them. I should be able to use one in one store, and expect it operate the same in another. There is no valid reason for me, as a customer, to have to “guess” at anything.

      • calquist says:

        @PsiCop: Lordy, chill out. All new technology has to start somewhere. Stick to the regular cashiers and keep holding out that your VCR will come back in style.

        I usually only use them when I have like 1 or 2 items and I find them super helpful for avoiding a long time. I have a rant in me just as long for the people who pull an entire cart full of produce and coupons up to them.

        • PsiCop says:


          Actually I’m no Luddite. I work for an IT firm and have been in the computer business for 20 years. And I don’t even own a VCR any more.

          Which is exactly how I know that there is no valid reason for a complete lack of standards. The world of technology is FULL of standards … some better than others, of course. The Internet itself is based on standards, and the World Wide Web which runs on it, and underlies this Web site, is too. Standards work. They exist. They’re useful. And new standards can be created easily, if desired.

          This is also why I know the hardware needs to be toughened and desensitized. An empty scale or output belt which is not damaged or jammed, should NEVER create errors that the user cannot clear on his/her own. That’s inexcusable design … period.

          At any rate, my point was to explain that holdups at the self-service counter … while they can be — and often are — caused by stupid customers … are not always the customer’s fault.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        @PsiCop: It really just takes a little learning…and a little patience. Scan your loyalty card before you start running groceries through. Scan all of your coupons afterward. Most of the self checkout kiosks are like that anyway.

    • synergy says:

      @madanthony: What a local grocery store does is puts the code on the sign with the name of the fruit/veg and the code next to the name. Then you go to a scale, type in the code number and stick it on the bag with the weight and food name already on it. Of course, this was cheatable *ahem*

  2. PLATTWORX says:

    Personally, they sound great, but I have NO FAITH that the products sold on my supermarket shelves are actually “organic” when labeled as such.

    The store employees could stack the regular old apples where the organic sign is and no one can tell the difference except in the price.

    The same of packaged goods. How can any consumer confirm that a product was product with organic ingredients? YOU CAN’T. Manufacturers can say something is organic because their supplier said an ingredent was and there is no way I can tell.

    No thanks. I eat healthy, but I won’t pay extra for something I can prove exists.

    • Coles_Law says:

      @PLATTWORX: Check the stickers. They’re applied at the distributor, not in-store. All organic produce has a PLU that begins with 9. In fact, the PLU is just the conventional PLU with a 9 in front. For example, bananas are PLU 4011. Organic bananas are 94011. Of course, if the supplier is lying, this won’t help, but there’s supposed to be some audit system in place.

      I also don’t bother with organics, but there’s not much the store can do to screw you in the line of fake organics.

      • Julius_Seizure says:

        @Coles_Law: @PLATTWORX: So do you avoid buying milk because you can’t verify that it was actually pasteurized?

        Organic food is huge business and it’s only getting bigger. Many a company stake their reputation and livelihood on the fact that they produce and sell organic products. Verifying a product as organic is both costly and time consuming, as the USDA Organic Seal – the king of all certifications – takes upwards of three years to verify due to numerous independent tests along with random USDA inspections. Once certification is achieved, producers are required to have independent tests run on their ingredients several times a year to verify organic integrity.

        Whole Foods, as an example, requires all products with organic labeling to not only be subject to the above mentioned testing, but also required products be subject to Whole Foods independent testing. While I agree you can’t be 100% certain a product is organic, the people producing the organic ingredients/products stand to lose their livelihoods if they are found to be misrepresenting themselves. With that said, the overwhelming majority of producers that sell organic products tend to be smaller companies that only produce organic products.

        • formatc says:

          @Julius_Seizure: With that said, the overwhelming majority of producers that sell organic products tend to be smaller companies that only produce organic products.

          Unfortunately, not true: [consumerist.com]

          • Julius_Seizure says:

            @formatc: My comment is 100% accurate. All you did was link me to a list of the largest food producers and the organic brands they market. If you were to look at all the brands of organic foods available to consumers in the U.S., you would see that the brands in the link represent a very small percentage of what’s available. On top of that, out of the many products available by the brands listed in your link, most are conventional, not organic.

            Odwalla, for example, has only a small number of organic products available out of the many products they market. The same goes for Kashi – some of the ingredients in Kashi’s foods are organic, but few of their products are 100% organic. I don’t recall any of their cereals being organic.

            With that said, there’s a giant difference between a product being 100% organic and products made with organic ingredients. Many of the organic producers on the market make products that are 100% organic, unlike many of the major labels that hedge their bets by only producing foods with SOME organic ingredients. You can advertise a product as organic if it has organic ingredients, but the % of ingredients that are organic has to be labeled.

            • AluminumFalcon_GitEmSteveDave says:

              @Julius_Seizure: Have you ever listened to Skeptoid?

            • formatc says:

              @Julius_Seizure: All you did was link me to a list of the largest food producers and the organic brands they market.

              I’m probably just playing with semantics now, but I’m talking more along the lines of “food marketed as organic” and not “organic foods.” If I walk into my local grocery store, by and large, the organic and natural foods section is dominated by subsidiaries of non-organic corporations. 100% organic food, of which I’m fully aware of the distinction, is harder to find.

              I do go out of my way to one smaller specialty shop in particular that offers a better selection, also locally owned and operated, but from time to time I come across products that indicate they fell prey to the marketing gimmicks of the corporations as well. Even there, though, I would find it hard to believe that there are enough products produced by smaller companies to call them an overwhelming majority. Perhaps I’m just at a disadvantage with my local selection.

              • JonThomasDesigns says:

                @formatc: I know Whole foods tracks the entire step by step process from grower to the display …

              • Julius_Seizure says:

                @formatc: Some background on myself: I’m a grocery (dry goods/canned goods) buyer for a national chain of natural and organic foods and I have at my disposal a catalog the size of the NYC Yellow Pages that details the various organic and natural food brands at my disposal. There are a TON of organic vendors out there that specialize in only a few items, and those small companies far outnumber the the major brands. An example is Honest Tea, an organic brand which just focuses on the drink market.

                I focus on purchasing only natural foods for myself. I don’t want High fructose corn syrup, artificial colors/flavors/preservatives and chemicals found in non-foods in what I eat and I’m willing to pay a bit more to achieve this goal. In my opinion, it’s reassuring when a loaf of bread goes bad in less than a week vs. the loaf of wonder bread that is shelf stable for a couple weeks.

                As for organic food, I rarely buy it. I don’t think the benefits of organic foods outweigh the benefits of me eating a natural diet. Some people swear by organic and if you happen to be one of them, I’d say it’s overwhelmingly safe to assume you’re actually eating an organic product as advertised. There’s too much money to be lost in profits if they were found to be frauds.

        • Coles_Law says:

          @Julius_Seizure: I think you misread my comment. I fully believe the organic products in the store are organic. I just avoid buying them because it’s not worth the difference in price to me.

    • SatanicGuinea says:

      @PLATTWORX: Well, there is a certification process to be able to use the organic label and fines for not being in compliance with organic standards. Now obviously this isn’t a guarantee but there is no more guarantee that the produce you have will not give you salmonella or meets USDA standards.

      Picking on organics is not fair.

      • PLATTWORX says:


        I appreciate the responses. However, as the sign rises each day, I am certain we will someday see blaring headlines “ORGANICS OFTEN WERE NOT ORGANICS, CONSUMERS WASTED MILLIONS.”

        That is how commerce works. There are some suppliers somewhere cuting corners and marking their items “organic” just so they can sell them for more.

      • stands2reason says:


        Yes it is, because “organic” is primarily a marketing term that has been scientifically obsolete for more than 150 years, and by its common definition, all food is “organic.”

        It has only had any useful meaning added to it post-hoc, and the claims made regarding it are basically lies.

    • PsiCop says:


      You make an excellent point. Is there any way to be sure the premium we pay for something to be “organic,” is valid?

      For those who say the system requires a certain amount of faith in what we buy … this is very true. When you buy milk, for instance, you are taking it on faith that the milk in the carton is not contaminated or spoiled.

      But the problem with organic mark-ups is that it adds to the leap of faith one must take. You’re making two leaps, instead of one. You’re not only assuming that the X dollars you spent on (say) a carton of milk is well-spent, you are also assuming that the Y dollars you spent on the organic markup is also well-spent.

      The food chain as a whole has basic safety inspections by various agencies along the way … depending on what you buy. But there is no inspection method that can guarantee the “organicness” of any organic item you buy. So that second leap of faith … the one you added to the equation by buying “organic” … has less of a verifiable foundation, than than the original leap of faith you make, that what you buy is basically safe.

      So you are very right to question the validity of spending more on “organics” when, in reality, there are NO measures in place, anywhere in the system, to verify “organicness.”

      Unfortunately, these new labels do NOTHING whatsoever to improve consumer confidence that the organics they buy, are truly organic. They are a shrinkage-reduction measure for the stores and an audit trail for suppliers. They offer NO benefit whatever to consumers.

    • Corporate_guy says:

      @PLATTWORX: I can say without a doubt that all vegetables in the store are organic. There is no such thing as an inorganic vegetable.

      • dragonfire81 says:

        @Corporate_guy: “Hey sal, these products I have are organic as far as I’m concerned and I’ve got $10 000 and a trip to florida that says you’ll agree with me.”

        Certification doesn’t necessarily mean anything.

  3. xrmb says:

    and I’ll still peel of the sticker from the cheapest apple and put it on the expensive one I want… next step, rfid inside the apple… that would stop me ;)

  4. insidiouskermit says:

    Suppliers have started to put these on their produce, but not all stores are supporting them yet. The store I work at is receiving apples with these new stickers but scanning them results in literally nothing happening – not even a “Not on File” error message.

  5. eelmonger says:

    I’m not sure how this is gonna work. You don’t scan most fruits and veggies because they’re sold by the pound so they have to be on the scale when the register gets the code.

    Also, when I was a cashier, red apples were 4016, bananas were 4011, etc. unless I happened to see a different sticker when I picked them up that identified them as organic. All the cashiers memorized the regular codes because they were used far more often than the organic ones, and looking up a code really hurts your scan time.

    • henwy says:


      I imagine you pull one out of the bag, scan it, and then weigh the whole lot. Assuming they aren’t sold individually.

      • eelmonger says:

        @henwy: That’s assuming their point of sale software can handle that. Even if it can, it’s extremely slow:

        1. take one out of bag
        2. scan it
        3. put it back in the bag
        4. put the bag on the scale
        5. push enter


        1. put the bag on the scale
        2. enter the code

        And you’d better hope the scanner doesn’t catch the barcode of something when you’re taking it off the scale. Barcodes for weighed items that are attached to said items are incredibly inconvenient.

        • Kickstartheart says:

          @eelmonger: Amen to that. I hate barcoded weighables with a passion. It isn’t just produce where this comes into play. It’s far, far easier to have a code to input with said item on the scale.

          Some of the apples have been coming through with those goddamned scannable PLU stickers on them. The scanner doesn’t know what the code is in the first place. It gives you an error message when you are simply trying to put the bag of apples on the scale and enter the PLU. I assure you, it slows the process down, not the other way around.

          I’m a very efficient checker, and only need to check certain apples to make sure I’m getting the PLU right. The organic stickers on produce normally look different enough to notice, and you merely add a 9 in front of the standard PLU in that case. You’d have to be a pretty dense checker to be slowed down by apples, or any other non-freaky produce for that matter.

    • MooseOfReason says:

      @bombhand: That sounds like it would take longer than the current practice of looking at the sticker on one of the apples, punching in the code, and pressing “PLU”. If you’re going to look for an apple with a sticker on it, it might as well have the code. That way, you can be done with it.

      Organic produce, in my store at least, has a number that starts with a 9.

  6. chortik says:

    it’s FRUIT, not fruitS

    • YouDidWhatNow? says:


      Depends on the usage…either can be correct.

      “Many fruits grow on this island” is akin to saying “Many different kinds of fruit grow on this island.”

      Looking at the buffet and going “that’s a lot of fruit!” while looking at apples, bananas, melons, and graps, is akin to saying “that’s a lot of fruit !”

      Which is completely different from saying “that’s a lot of fruits!” which is perfectly correct when watching a gay pride parade.

      • YouDidWhatNow? says:


        Hmmm…apparently the editor thingy didn’t like my annotation to designate an implied meaning in the second “that’s a lot of fruit” bit. In-between the “of” and the “fruit” was supposed to be a bit saying “in a generic, non-species-specific way.”

    • t0ph says:

      @chortik: Who cares. Seriously. Enough with the grammer and the rest. Sheesh.

  7. Drew Howk says:

    Saw these today in a Meijer outside in Indianapolis on fruits and vegetables. Granted, I only realized this once I got home and was prepping them.

    Also, for Chortik fruits is an acceptable form and is generally used for referring to more than one type of fruit. Just to keep everyone honest here. So whether you say fruit or fruits, these barcodes are appearing.

  8. henrygates says:

    I agree with Plattworx, that you can’t verify that anything is ‘organic’. And there are so many definitions of ‘organic’.

    • formatc says:

      @henrygates: The definitions are federally regulated in the US. From what I understand, the EU and UK does as well. If you’re looking for information pertaining to the US, I recommend ‘What To Eat’ by Marion Nestle. She gives a good breakdown of the nutritional and legal meanings behind the word, among many other things.

      I do eat organic whenever possible, but I buy produce from known sources and several non-perishable grocery companies have earned my trust (such as Annie’s Homegrown). I usually research the companies before I start shoveling my hard-earned money into their coffers for your reasons, though. I also tend to avoid buying organic brands owned by subsidiaries of non-organic corporations such as ConAgra, of which there are quite a few. I would not be surprised to hear they are cutting corners as you are both suggesting.

  9. Phil McKinney says:

    Great for produce sold by quantity. Stupid for produce sold by weight.

    • bombhand says:

      @Phil McKinney: Why? I have never worked as a grocery checkout person, so can you explain why it would be any different than existing practices? Wouldn’t it be a simple matter of scanning one sticker, placing all identical produce on the scale, and ringing it in? I mean, the article itself specifically says that the new code is ideal for things sold by weight, where the previous/existing bar code system is not.

      • Kickstartheart says:

        @bombhand: It involves more steps and is therefore more time consuming. It sounds easy in theory, but in practice, it’s pathetic.

        One reason being that scales tend to be very finicky about movement, for obvious reasons relating to accuracy. If the scale has movement when you input the PLU and hit enter, you will get an error message. The less you have to handle that bag of produce, the less chances of this.

        Put bag on scale, enter PLU, hit enter.

        As opposed to:

        Take apple out of bag, scan apple, place apple back in bag and then the bag of apples on scale, hit enter.

        If you can’t remember your produce PLUs, you shouldn’t be checking.

        • bonzombiekitty says:

          @Kickstartheart: It’s good for produce that isn’t bought very often. I was a cashier almost ten years ago and there’s codes I still remember – bananas in particular will be permanently etched in my brain. But occasionally someone would buy something weird like organic star fruit, when you only run into that product once in a while, you’re not going to memorize the code for it. In the cases you do not know the code, the bar code would be faster than looking up the code.

          What would be best is support for both the bar code and the PLU (which I’d assume it’d do). However, new cashiers will rely on the bar codes and not spend as much time memorizing the PLUs

          • Kickstartheart says:

            @bonzombiekitty: For the rarer stuff, there’s code books. Everything is sorted alphabetically by category. Looking items up is easy. And you can always ask others.

            Star fruit is 4256, by the way. ;)

  10. wcnghj says:

    I’ve seen them around for a few months now.

    I haven’t seen one scanned yet.

  11. Justin Larson says:

    Carey has the hots for bar codes?

  12. CompyPaq says:

    I have seen them on all (most) of my fruit for a while now. The supermarket just ignores it and enters the code anyway.

    • MooseOfReason says:

      @computerwiz3491: Some of the produce at my store has barcodes on it. They scan accidentally sometimes when I’m trying to weigh them. The register beeps, meaning it doesn’t know what it is.

    • jacobgermain says:

      @computerwiz3491: honestly? it’s because working at a supermarket, checkers know the codes better than reflexively scanning. I think the problems of organic and inorganic (space fruit!) code distinctions is being vastly exaggerated. Literally, you add a 9 in front of the regular code to do organics, and they always have some sort of identifier. and beyond that you can look at the customer and see whether the produce is likely to be organic. a 40 year old woman with three reusable bags in hand is more likely to be buying organic than a little Mexican lady with three kids. Plenty of cues.

      • bonzombiekitty says:

        @jacobgermain: You don’t always just add a 9. When I was a cashier (granted, this was around ten years ago) – our system only supported a 4 digit PLU. There were separate 4 digit PLUs for organic stuff even though the codes on the sticker for organic stuff was just 9+

  13. henwy says:


    You seem to have gone past judgmental and are a couple furlongs into twatwaffle territory.

  14. tom2133 says:

    I cashier at Walmart, so here is how they work:

    What the register does in most cases is recognize that it’s a fruit/veggie when scanned. It will either say PLACE ITEM ON SCALE, PRESS ENTER or ENTER QUANTITY, PRESS ENTER. If it’s a weighed item, it will take the scale weight.

    That being said, these tags are dumb. If you’re like any grocery cashier, you know the majority of your PLU codes, so these stickers are just worthless. I’m not going to sit there trying to scan a banana when I can just type in “4011.” At the same token, it’s kind of hard to put these on broccoli, lettuces, etc.

  15. norndag says:

    One of the reasons for the bar code is product traceability….back to the grower/packer source.

    Also think about the future when you can just push the cart through the checklane and some fricken lasers scan everything all at once. Remember that ATT commercial?

    • salvatorecondegni says:

      @norndag: Read an article about that in USA today a few months ago and norndag nailed it.

      I work at a grocery store and have been seeing these for a few months now. They don’t scan with our current hardware/software setup.

    • unpolloloco says:

      @norndag: It’s going to be RFID scanning everything at once. I long for the day when I dont have to stand in line after the person with the 12 cartfulls of groceries.

  16. henwy says:


    No, douchey. Fraud _is_ theft by deception.

    • TheSpatulaOfLove says:


      Geez! Lighten up people! I interpreted xrmb’s post as a JOKE, as indicated by the emoticon smiley.

      Now ‘Twatwaffle’ – I have to add that one to my repertoire!

  17. Kamidari says:

    The King Sooper’s (Kroger) by my house has had these on quite a few items for at least several months now. I usually go through the self checkout, so they’re handy since I don’t have to look up all the PLUs. Seems like Bananas (4011) are the only things I buy regularly enough to remember. ;)

  18. wjmorris3 says:

    It would also help if the registers would be able to read the barcodes – my store’s registers jam on those barcodes.

  19. FrugalFreak says:

    “bites into our profit margins”

    Boo Hoo, .40 extra cents for HYPE.

  20. WillG says:

    Looks like we have some organic industry people here on the comments.

    I have one for ya organics producers, you sell a tomato that tastes as good as the ones I grow in my garden and I’ll gladly pay you extra for that.

    Heck pretty much any homegrown veggie beats what you can buy in the flavor department.
    Fix on that and you’ll own the marketplace.

  21. WillG says:

    Looking at that it kind of feels like I’m being snarky with the “organic industry” phrasing. That’s not what I meant, I just meant to include everyone from growers to sellers.


  22. mbz32190 says:

    These things are a PITA at my supermarket (summer job…i’m a college student). Whenever they roll onto the scanner the registers omit a horrible single “beep’ noise and usually freeze up the register for 20 seconds. I wish they used these though…we sell every kind of produce you can imagine and 1/2 the time, the customers don’t even know what they picked up.

  23. Brian Aubry says:

    I work at a grocery store here in Kansas. I’ve only seen these on our cantaloupes and I can’t even use them. First time I saw it, I got excited and scanned it. It rang up more than the cantaloupe was supposed to cost.
    I guess my memorization of the numbers is really all that helps me.

  24. Phil Hendry says:

    I’ve seen them, but our store doesn’t use them for checkout.

  25. khendros says:

    As someone who works in IT for a privately owned grocery chain, I found these new bar codes to be kind of annoying. When you scan these new bar codes at our self check out lanes, they will either close the point of sale software down or cause the entire lane to reboot. We also still weigh these items at both normal and self check out lanes.

  26. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    It also prevents another checkout problem: cashiers mistaking organic vegetables for less expensive, conventionally grown ones, and ringing them up for the lower price.

    I always worry about the opposite happening.

  27. synergy says:

    Damn! I relied on cashiers occasionally getting it wrong so I paid less for organic stuff! :-p

  28. LVP says:

    Saw one on the apple I got from Panere Bread this afternoon.

    • MooseOfReason says:

      @LVP: That’s a restaurant. They probably have fixed prices for side-dishes. It’s different in a supermarket, where the prices are different per apple because they have different weights.

  29. geoffhazel says:

    We’ve had them in our Safeway in Bellevue WA for a few months now. They seem to scan fine, from what I’ve seen.

  30. dryfire says:

    Meijer in KY is already using them.