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Word Count: 258
In the early 70s supermarket profits were at an all-time low Because markup on food is not high supermarkets have only just so many ways of increasing prophets cutting labor cost is one of them This drive to cut the cost of retailers people who sell in small quantities directly to the consumer helped lead to an important invention the uniform product code UPC The UPC is also known as the bar code Among other things this symbol has brought about bigger stores and larger inventions In an article entitled Bar Codes Reading Between the Lines in the Smithsonian author Ed Leibowitz traces the short and important history of this invention Of its beginnings Leibowitz writes How strange that the checkout line this unhappy place this technological backwater should have pioneered a symbol that has transformed not just the supermarket but also mass retail worldwide Leibowitz also notes that in the twenty-five years or so of its existance the bar code has blossomed by the thousands in every American household Although theres now widespread use and acceptance of the bar code that wasnt always the case Many 1970s consumers were angry anout bar codes after all the price tag was now gone from many items When Stephen Brown wrote his insiders account of the UOC Revolution at the Checkout Counter he made it clear that consumers needs did not lead to the creation of the code Instead he said those who created the code focused on improving business effitioncies explaining that any consumer benefit was a fortuitious by-product
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