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Ode to a Code


A celebration in verse of the 25th anniversary of the Universal Product Code

There's codes of ethics, codes of Morse,
Codes that hackers crack by force,
Codes genetic, codes of blue,
But none can hold a candle to
The code that tells the checkout folk
How much you owe for Diet Coke
Or any item on the shelf
(At Toys 'R' Us you swipe yourself).
In Troy, Ohio, was its start
When in a modest supermart
A stick of Wrigley's led the pack
By donning bars of brilliant black.
Then how it spread! So goes the tale,
Soon bar codes graced the U.S. mail,
At airports luggage gets the scan,
Cool kids tattoo them in Japan.
They've saved our nation's grocers much
While making Bush look out of touch,
Five billion swipes worldwide each day!
Enough to take your breath away!
So let's salute this great endeavor,
I give you: Bars and Stripes Forever!

Last updated: Nov 15, 1999

LEIGH BUCHANAN | Staff Writer | Editor-at-large, Inc. Magazine

Leigh Buchanan is an editor-at-large for Inc. magazine. A former editor at Harvard Business Review and founding editor of WebMaster magazine, she writes regular columns on leadership and workplace culture.

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