Why Doesn’t Hobby Lobby Use Barcodes? Conspiracy Theories May Have the Answer!

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Nowadays it’s rare to find a large-scale retail company that doesn’t employ the use of barcodes. The ubiquitous barcode was first created in 1948 by Norman J. Woodland and Bernard Silver as a method of labeling products to make taking inventory and check-out easier for businesses. On modern barcodes, information is encoded and displayed in a series of black vertical lines that a machine can read. Most of us don’t think twice about barcodes, but they make the jobs of cashiers and retail workers a lot easier. They help accurately store data including pricing, discounts, and inventory. However, if you’ve ever been shopping at Hobby Lobby before, you’ll notice that the store doesn’t use barcodes.

There are at least 1,000 Hobby Lobby arts and craft stores scattered throughout the United States. Hobby Lobby was founded in 1972 by David Green and is a Christian-owned company. Hobby Lobby has been at the center of several controversies over the years, due to its public right-wing stances on topics like the Affordable Care Act and COVID-19, as well as its purchase of “artifacts” that were actually looted objects from Iraqi archeological sites. The fact that they don’t use barcodes is seemingly the least of their problems. Still, given the enormous size of these stores and the multitude of products they offer, the lack of barcodes does is curious.

The internet’s Hobby Lobby barcode theory

TikTok user magni.fy posted a TikTok on May 9, 2023, where he explained a theory that Hobby Lobby doesn’t use barcodes because its owners fear the codes are the “Mark of the Beast.” This is largely a fringe theory, but some Christian conspiracy theorists DO believe that barcodes are the Mark of the Beast. As magni.fy mentioned, the belief comes from the Book of Revelation in the Bible. Specifically, Revelation 13:16-17, “And he [the Beast] causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.”

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