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Can Barcodes Work in Different Stores

In this day and age, barcodes are everywhere. Every product that is developed contains one form of a barcode or another. Likewise, most stores (large or small) make use of barcodes for sales and inventory management of their stock. People that purchase items in shops always have to scan the barcode of products before payment. The scanning is usually carried out through self-checkout machines or through a sales rep. Regardless of the process, barcodes are always involved. As a result, many people wonder, for example, if a toothpaste of a particular brand can be scanned in two different shops that are not related. Before this question is answered, it is essential to understand what a barcode is and how it works.

What is a Barcode and How it Works

A barcode can be described as vertical black and white bars of equal length. Within this pattern, information is stored, which can be retrieved via scanning with a barcode scanner. A handful of varying barcodes are developed. Each barcode type can store the varying size of data within a specific pattern. For user products, each item from a particular manufacturer is assigned a particular barcode identifier, which distinguishes it from other products by other producers. Barcodes store data, which can be read as information using barcode scanners. There are several types of scanners in use. The most common are infrared scanners. The black and white lines, which are of different widths, are read using these scanners via infrared.

How Barcode Work in Stores

Since the barcode on a specific item that is produced by a manufacturer is the same throughout the world, it is expected that the item can be scanned within the point of sale (POS station) of any store. However, this is not always the case. A barcode of a product can only operate on the POS station of a store if it has been programmed into the database of the store's inventory. Therefore, considering the toothpaste from the earlier example, it can be scanned on the POS station of one convenience store but become unrecognizable on another. Furthermore, some stores generate their own branded barcodes. These barcodes are printed and placed on the cover of products. In this case, it is difficult for such barcodes to be read by the scanning devices of other businesses. To read these barcodes, a user must have access to the database that was used to create them. Many retail stores prefer to create their custom barcodes. Packaging and shipping companies and online stores also make and use custom barcodes for their packages. People that attempt to read such barcodes will most likely read off gibberish.

Codes Below Barcodes

Additionally, almost all barcodes are accompanied by corresponding codes below the pattern. These codes store the exact same information as the barcodes. The codes can be used to access the data within any barcode when the black and white pattern fails to read. Therefore, just like the barcode, the code behaves precisely like the barcode.

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