UPC bar code fans rejoice

barcodeWe get lots and lots of press releases in our inbox here at Business Casual Central. And frankly, a lot of them are junk. They come from this organization or that PR person based somewhere on a coast and have absolutely no relevance to Wichita, to Kansas, or to just about anything.

Normally, they are met with a quick press of the handy-dandy delete key, never to be seen again. But I got one this morning that caught my eye for some reason. Maybe I’m a little loopy after a restless night, but I found it interesting nonetheless: the 35th anniversary of the Universal Product Code will be celebrated on Wednesday.

How do you celebrate such an event? With a giant UPC-adorned birthday cake, of course.

From the release:

One of the world’s best-known symbols, the U.P.C. comprises a row of 59 machine-readable black and white bars and 12 human-readable digits. Both the bars and the digits convey the same information: the identity of a specific product and its manufacturer.

Originally developed to help supermarkets speed up the checkout process, the first live use of a U.P.C. took place in a Marsh Supermarkets store in Troy, Ohio, on June 26, 1974, when a cashier scanned a package of Wrigley’s gum. It ushered in extraordinary economic and productivity gains for shoppers, retailers and manufacturers alike, with estimated annual cost savings of $17 billion in the grocery sector alone, according to one study.

So when you go to Wal-Mart or Target or wherever on Wednesday, be sure to wish the bar codes a happy birthday.