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Everlasting Slip Bobber

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

On this page, I'll do my best to answer the many questions I receive. Unlike the home page, this one is very long. You can either slog through the whole thing or use the convenient links below to jump to a specific section.

 

ABOUT ME AND I WANT MY BARCODE

BUSINESS PRACTICES

ABOUT UPC'S, EAN'S, & BAR CODES

ABOUT ME AND I WANT MY BARCODE

Q: So which is it, Steve or Leroy?

A: Either. Most people that know me call me Leroy, even my wife. Steve is my legal name. Whichever you choose, rest assured I've been called worse.

Q: Well, Leroy, your website is kind of crude. Don't you think you ought to spruce it up a bit?

A: The website reflects my own business preference. When I'm looking for something I need for my business, I want the people trying to sell it to me to give me the pros and cons right up front. I don't need Flash shows. I don't need to drill endlessly through a site. This is a business to business site, impulse buying is not a factor. Hopefully, I get this message across.

Another message that I hope it conveys is that I'm real, and I'm probably a lot like you, business wise. I'm not hiding from anyone – if you click the “Everlasting Slip Bobber” button and go to the pictures pages (caution: dead fish), that's really me. Those are really my kids, too. The information on the contact page is my real address, and if you call you're really going to talk to me, at least when I get home from my full time job. I return ALL calls, but you may have to wait a few hours. I answer all emails, on the same keyboard I'm typing this page. My family gets very upset with me when I refer to them as “staff”, so I have to be true – my staff is me.

Q: How and when did you get into this?

A: Whoa, now you did it. Better grab a beverage and settle in.

In 1997, I made a discovery while fishing which led to my creation of The Everlasting Slip Bobber. This is a piece of fishing tackle that solves a big problem so well and so simply that I just had to try and market it, or I would forever wonder “what if”. Being a working man and raising a family doesn't leave a lot of cash laying around, so I had to do as much as I could myself.

I started my first company, HL Outdoors, in 1998, with 4000.00 borrowed from my 401K. I researched and wrote my own patent application. I found and tested materials and components. I made personal sales calls all over Michigan, establishing my product in over 100 retail locations in one summer. I realized the tremendous marketing potential of the Internet, so I learned how to create and manage websites. My HL Outdoors website is now the #1 slip bobber fishing site on the web and has been for years, despite the efforts of much larger companies to dislodge me.

I had a crummy, unreliable computer and I couldn't afford any downtime, so I learned to fix it myself. This led to my second business repairing and selling computers, Blue Collar Computers.

In 1999, I was moving to the next retail level, trying to get The Everlasting Slip Bobber into a couple of the biggest sporting goods stores in Northern Michigan. The first thing they said, when I finally got an appointment, was “got a barcode”? I said “Uh, no”. They said “come back when you have a barcode”. So, I jumped on the ol' computer and found out you had to get barcodes from an outfit called the Uniform Code Council (UCC, now GS1US). The information on their site said I would have a life membership and a valuable company asset for a one time fee. There was no contract to sign, nothing I had to agree to, no lawyers involved. Sounds good so far. Wait a minute, they want $500.00 for some numbers! That's 12.5% of a startup budget that's almost gone, and, with the exception of 1 component, the biggest single payment I made starting my company. A very unpleasant surprise. For that fee, I get 100,000 numbers. There's no way I need anything even close to that many numbers, so I call them and say “couldn't I get a lot fewer numbers for a lot less money”? The answer was, that's the deal, take it or leave it. No UPC's, no major retailers, so I bit the bullet and ponied up the money.

In 2002, my little businesses were doing OK, and I get a letter from the UCC that says, basically, “we changed our mind. Unless you sign our new licensing agreement and start paying us 150.00 a year, we're going to take your barcodes away”. I swear, I got so mad I thought I was going to have a stroke. When I calmed down a few days later, I made a business decision. That decision was “Screw 'em. They sold me a lifetime membership for a one time fee. If they give me a problem, I'll see 'em in court”.

About a year later, after several more threatening letters from the UCC, I get another letter from some lawyers that says the UCC has lost a class action brought by existing members, and that I DO have the life membership for no additional fees that I paid for in the first place. You can read this decision at George Laurer's site. My barcodes are mine and safe.

In late 2006, I finally lost my long (8 year) battle with the Patent Office. I wasn't going to get a patent for my Everlasting Slip Bobber. So, in early 2007 I was considering selling my company. As I searched around trying to get a good idea of the true worth of my business, I discovered that several other companies were actually selling their bar codes. Not only that, but they were getting as much as $100.00 each for them. This, as you might imagine, blew me away!

My first effort was to contact the other resellers list on Mr. Laurer's site to see if they had any interest in buying my company. None of them did, so I decided to jump in the game and I Want My Barcode was born. I went online in March, 2007.

Q: You got lucky, didn't you?

A: Yes, I certainly did.

 

BUSINESS PRACTICES – this section is about how I do business, what you can expect from I Want My Barcode, and general advice.

Q: Your legal agreement says there are 2 retailers that won't accept your codes. Who are they?

A: This, of course, is one of the main questions I get. I'm wary of naming other companies without their permission on a site designed to bring me profit – they're giants, I'm just a little guy. I will give you a couple strong clues, however. This may be interpreted as somewhat infantile, but I don't need any legal problems.

One is the World's Largest Retailer, their name begins with a W.

The other is a large grocery chain, their name begins with a K.

I recently had a customer tell me that he had a problem with another retailer. This one is much like the World's Largest Retailer, but considered more upscale. Their name begins with a T. I can't confirm this, and other customers have told me they had no problems with T.

In the email I send you with your purchase, I DO name these 2 retailers. If there is a problem, let me know (within 15 days) and I refund your money.

Q: Why won't they accept your codes?

A: Because they're both board members of GS1US. In fact, the World's Largest Retailer dominates GS1US and, like their other dealings, they call the shots. Every single shot.

Most retailers don't care where you get your codes (why should they?), only that you can guarantee that they're unique. This is why I provide a digital copy of my UCC (GS1) certificate with every sale, along with a copy of the legal agreement detailing the numbers you have purchased.

Q: Are they accepted at Am.... er, the Very Large Online Retailer that requires them?

A: Yes, they are. There are literally thousands of products for sale there now, using codes purchased from me.

Q: Will you sell me 10 codes at a 10% discount etc., etc., etc.

A: No. Don't even ask. I consider it dishonest and a disservice to people who have already paid my advertised price. Folks needing more than 100 should call me.

Q: But there are other resellers cheaper than you, why should I buy from you?

A: Perhaps, they're not really offering you full value. My competitors all have very professional websites and employ “staff”. I do this all on my own, so my services can be highly customized.

I offer ALL of this for just the prices you see advertised here. I never charge additional fees. When you choose me, you're dealing with a person, not a java applet. To my knowledge, nobody else offers the range of service and added value that I do.

There is at least one site out there that says they "will take care of the annual fees". I advise caution - to my knowledge, if a company is required to pay annual fees, they have also signed the GS1US licensing agreement. If so, they are prohibited by that agreement from selling their UPC codes. There are also sites that offer NO warranty - if something goes wrong, you're stuck. There is even a site that says you have to enter into an "agreement" with them, but they won't tell you what the agreement is - at least, I couldn't find it. There are also companies that license upc codes. Again, use caution, they are after annual fees. Really, shop carefully, read what you're getting - or, not getting.

At a minimum, you should expect the following from any company to which you give your hard earned money:

1) A full warranty with a reasonable time limit

2) Documentation that their codes are authentic. This can be in the form of either a copy of a UCC/GS1US certificate or a copy of a GS1US authorization letter. Be wary of companies that issue their own "certificates". Anyone could do this, it doesn't prove that their numbers are in the GS1US database.

3) Clear documentation of the numbers you have purchased.

4) A guarantee that they maintain a database to prevent duplication.

5) Some sort of reasonable assurance that they are going to be around tomorrow. A company that is actually selling products with it's UPC's is usually a safe bet.

My company, of course, meets all of these requirements and, in fact, codifies them in the legal agreement.

Q: What's the “60 day upgrade program”?

A: As long as you are within 60 days of your most recent purchase, you can upgrade to the next pricing level by paying the difference. Say you buy 4 initially and within 60 days sales are going great and you want to expand. You need more bar codes. With me, you can get 6 more barcodes by paying the difference between the cost of 4 and the cost of 10. Your total per code cost will be at the lower rates offered at the higher volume. It's a great way to try them out and not have to pay higher per code rates. As far as I know, I am the only reseller to offer this feature.

Q: You sell packages of 4 and 10, but I want 6. What will they cost?

A: You would pay the per code rate of the lower volume package. Contact me and I will send you an invoice.

Q: But you said yourself that you got lucky, and they're just numbers. Why don't you give them away or sell them cheaper?

A: It may, eventually, come close to that. For now, I am a businessman. I have a valuable commodity and I will sell it for what the market will bear.

Q: How can you guarantee that your UPC numbers are unique?

A: Because my company prefix is registered to me in the GS1US database and, by court settlement, it cannot be removed. Therefor, any bar code numbers derived from it are unique. This is what gives my bar code numbers, or those of any bar code seller, their value.

Q: So if I use your codes, won't your company name come up when my product is scanned?

A: SEE THE MOBILE FAQ & REVIEW PAGE.

Only the first 6 digits represent my company prefix. The rest are not registered anywhere - there is no vast database of all things manufactured and their corresponding UPC codes. Another way to explain this is that I can't enter the codes I use for my own products (currently, 24) anywhere and find out what the products are, except in the systems of the retailers to whom I sell. My product descriptions and their corresponding UPC codes exist only on those retailer's systems, and my own.

GS1US does maintain a database (called GEPIR) of company prefixes. If you enter the first 6 digits of my codes into GEPIR, the return will be HL Outdoors, my company. Our legal agreement and my company certificate are provided to you so that you can prove the code you bought was genuine and you purchased it fair and square.

Q: But your certificate says you can't resell them. How can you do this?

A: That's true, it does. As I said, I didn't agree to this in any contract, document,or online click through. Think of it this way. Say you go to my bobber site, read how wonderful the Everlasting Slip Bobber is (and, it is), and order some. When they show up, you see they are stamped “may not be used in Lake Michigan”. Would you be legally bound to honor that restriction? Only if I had made acceptance of that restriction a requirement prior to the sale. More (much more) on this in the barcode section.

Q: You must have to maintain a database for this. How do you safeguard it?

A: Yes, my database is the actual lifeblood of I Want My Barcode. It's backed up locally after every sale, and continually through an online backup service.

Q: Where is your testimonial or links page?

A: My prime concern has always been my customer's confidentiality. I don't identify my customers because I don't want to expose them to possible negative propaganda from GS1US.

In fact, I just created a links page - if any of my former or future customers in good standing would like a link to their site, say the word and I'll have it up in a jiffy. Just so long as you know that this will compromise your confidentiality. A reciprocal link would be appreciated but is not required.

The same goes for testimonials. Moreover, I'm never sure whether to believe them when I read them on other sites. But I'll betcha' I could write some great ones, if I were so inclined.

Q: So, are you running out? Should I order quick before they're all gone?

A: Much as I would like to say “Yes, order now, supplies are limited!”, I can't and remain honest. I have more than enough left. It is to your advantage to wait as long as you can, because prices will only go lower. Don't buy them until you really need them.

Q: How many refunds have you issued?

A: To date, 17. My warranty is unconditional – you can get a full refund for any reason (or, no reason) any time within the 15 day warranty period. I may ask you a question or two to try and improve my business practice, but I'll still refund whether you answer or not.

Q: Why do you even have a legal agreement?

A: Several reasons. The main one is that I don't want people buying in quantity from me and then selling individual bar codes below market rates. It also ties both of us to specific performances with regard to the transaction. These are just as binding on me as they are on you. It's so we both have a clear understanding.

Q: Will you sell me barcodes without the legal agreement?

A: NO. You must submit the legal agreement or I will not sell.

Q: If I order from you, how quick can I get my UPC's?

A: My site says I will deliver within 2 business days, but that's just to give me some wiggle room in the event of a computer disaster or some other crisis. The vast majority of the time, you will have them the same day you pay for your order, sometimes within minutes.

The exception to this occurs for a specific form of PayPal payment. If you use your PayPal account to pay, and don't have sufficient funds in the account itself, PayPal issues an “echeck” while they draw on your backup funding source. I can't deliver until this “echeck” clears or PayPal gives me no seller protection.

Q: So I have to have a PayPal account to buy from you?

A: No, you can pay with any major credit card even if you have a PayPal account. For Paypal account holders, they make this difficult – the link for credit card payment is usually in fine print on the bottom left. If you log into your account, you will lose the option of paying with a credit card.

You can also pay with a check or money order by pre-arrangement.

Q: If PayPal is a pain, why do you use it?

A: The main reason is security – yours. Let me be very clear about this: I never see your credit card information, I don't want to see your credit card information.

PayPal also gives me a great deal of flexibility in site management. If need be, I can change all of my prices in about 15 minutes.

PayPal usually works very well. In the cases where it doesn't, I'll contact you to try different payment methods.

Q: How do I get my order?

A: I deliver via email attachment, to the email address you provide on the legal agreement. This is very important – you must provide an accurate email address, and check that account. I don't, as a general rule, deliver to the PayPal email address.

Q: But I'm afraid I'm going to get spammed to death if I give you my real email address.

A: I NEVER sell or give away data on my customers to ANYONE. I also never send unsolicited emails.

Q: Hey, I ordered x days ago and I don't have my order, where is it?

A: Don't wait! If you don't have your order within 48 hours, something has gone wrong because I've sent it. Check that account you supplied on the legal agreement. Check your spam filters and attachment filters. Email is a good delivery system but stuff happens – get in touch with me right away.

Q: What will I get?

A: You will get an email with 4 attachments: 1) a .pdf copy of the HL Outdoors UCC certificate; 2) a .pdf copy of the legal agreement; 3) a .zip file containing bar code images created from the numbers you have purchased; and 4) a text list containing the full number strings of your UPC's or EAN's.

The text list is created with Am..... - uh, the Very Large Online Retailer in mind. The Very Large Online Retailer does not care about barcodes themselves, only the numbers that make them up. With this list, all you have to do is copy and paste when listing your products. It's also in tab delimited format, so you can paste it directly into a spreadsheet.

More on UPC's and EAN's in the barcode section.

Q: I want the barcodes assigned to my company – how do I do this?

A: Just enter your company name in the name field on the legal agreement.

Q: What image formats do you supply?

A: My standard is TIFF at 1200 dpi. TIFF is a pretty universal format, can be imported into virtually anything. I can supply images in nearly any format you desire, but TIFF is the only one that I can set for that high a print resolution. By the way, due to the high resolution these images will look very large on your computer display. Their actual physical size is 1.7 x .9 inches.

Q: That's too big – can't I get them smaller?

A: The standard is supposed to be no less than 80% of original. In reality, the height of the code can be reduced quite a bit – to ½ inch or less – but the horizontal aspect must remain fairly constant.

Q: How do I use the images?

A: You can import them directly into labels or a packaging layout. I strongly recommend printing with a laser or thermal printer, but folks can achieve good results with a good quality inkjet. If you use a third party packaging company, they may want the code numbers on the legal agreement, because they usually have their own barcoding software and prefer to use it when designing your packaging.

Q: Do you offer support?

A: Yes I do, and most people are quite happy with it. I don't have all the answers, but I am determined in trying to find them if I don't. You don't even have to be a customer, I do lots of it free.

Q: I'm not very computer savvy. Can I still use your bar codes?

A: Yes, you can, and I will help you all that I can. I have to be honest, though, and I hope you don't take offense. You have 2 choices in today's business world – 1) acquire computer skills or 2) hire someone who has them. The competitive disadvantage is simply too great otherwise.

Q: What happens if you die? Are my barcodes still good?

A: Yes, I do get asked this. My family is well versed in the requirements and are prepared to inherit HL Outdoors in the event of my untimely demise.

Q: So the barcodes are mine forever, in nearly any image or code format I desire, and you have free support. What's the catch? There must be hidden or annual fees or something.

A: No, there are not. The prices advertised on my site are what you pay, one time, that's it. Other sites have “setup fees” and similar nonsense. This is ridiculous – basic due diligence requires that I set you up in my database, that's part of selling bar codes. As I said, I'm a businessman so I sell my products at what the market will bear. I'm not into exploitation of small entrepreneurs who are much like myself.

Q: With the state of the economy, would you still recommend starting a business?

A: Yes, emphatically, I would. We the people have a unique opportunity at this point in time, one that may not last and certainly will not come again if it goes away. Computers and the Internet allow you to be a global concern from your kitchen table. There are a whole bunch of people (of the type that populate the GS1US board and technology companies) who are really disgusted at this situation and are working to take it away, or at least limit it.

Q: Would you be interested in selling your company?

A: Sure. About 750,000 should get my attention.

 

ABOUT UPC'S, EAN'S AND BAR CODES

Q: What are the common types of barcodes and what's the difference between them?

A: UPC stands for Universal Product Code. It's a 12 digit bar code that is commonly used in the Western Hemisphere, the US in particular.

EAN stands for European Article Number. It's a 13 digit barcode used in most of the rest of the world outside the US.

The US is moving toward acceptance of the EAN standard. Most newer US point of sale systems will scan EAN codes. If, however, your primary market is the US you should use UPC's for the highest compatibility.

The difference between them? Not much, just the way they look. As far as US code numbers go, both formats encode exactly the same number. EAN's begin with a digit designated as a “country code”. The US country code is 0, so all of the EAN's I create begin with 0.

Both formats are also sometimes referred to as GTIN, Global Trade Identification Number.

Q: You said “code number” as if it were different from a bar code. Is it?

A: Yes, it is. This is a little difficult to explain, so hang in there. A 12 digit UPC code is created from an 11 digit code number. An EAN 13 code can be created from the same 11 digit code number by adding a zero as the first digit. The 12th digit in a UPC or the 13th digit in an EAN are check digits.

When you purchase from me, or any other reseller, or GS1US, it is these code numbers that you are actually buying. Or licensing, depending on the source.

Q: What is a check digit?

A: The check digit is the last digit in a UPC or EAN barcode. It is derived from a rather complicated formula based on the sequence of the first 11 (or 12) digits. The check digit determines the validity of the bar code. If it's wrong, the barcode will not work. Therefor, it cannot be changed. The check digit is calculated automatically by barcoding software, by the way, so you don't have to worry about it.

Q: What product information do you need from me to create my bar codes?

A: None.

Q: Wait a minute! If you don't have any product information, how are my codes going to scan at the register?

A: The only thing encoded in a UPC or EAN bar code is the numbers you see beneath them. That's it – there is no other information in them. What happens is you assign a code to a product and give the product information and code to a retailer when you sell to them. The retailer enters the code and product information assigned to it in their point of sale software. This information typically includes manufacturer, product description, wholesale price, retail price, and quantity purchased. When the item is scanned at the register, the software brings up retail price and deducts from inventory. Most retailers set a re-order trigger on their proven sellers.

Q: What about the bar code labels I see with product descriptions on them?

A: I can do that, too, if you wish, up to about 20 characters. Again, no extra charge. Contact me and we can discuss it. But that's just a text description, it's not actually encoded in the bar code.

Q: So there really is no vast database.....

A: No, there isn't. When you think about it, this is very logical. Barcodes began in the 1970's, before computer systems were commonplace. There are certainly millions, perhaps billions, of barcoded products. The task of trying to get all of this information in a central database now would require the powers of a deity.

It's not like people aren't trying, though. There are several Internet sites attempting it, such as UPC Database. These sites rely on voluntary submissions, however, so I don't know if they can ever become truly comprehensive.

This is purely conjecture on my part, but I believe that Am..... uh, the Very Large Online Retailer may be attempting it. If you want to be incredibly wealthy, give it a shot. If a person or company accomplishes the feat, they will be the Master of Retail and even the World's Largest Retailer will bow and scrape before them.

Q: I am located in (name your country). Will your bar codes work here?

A: They should, but I can't say for sure. GS1 has an office in most countries. It depends on whether your particular GS1 has influenced your government to pass laws in their favor. I can tell you that I've made sales to Canada, Britain, France, Serbia, Africa, Australia, South America, Ireland, Sweden, Mongolia, and the Caribbean with no complaints so far.

Here in the US, there are no federal, state, or local laws governing bar codes.

Q: What do you mean there are no laws in the US? You mean no one is watching over this vital part of the entire retail economy?

A: That's right, there is no government oversight. The entire system is voluntary. The only laws about bar codes concern a form of shoplifting called barcode fraud, whereby the shoplifter substitutes the barcode of a cheaper item for a more expensive one.

Q: Voluntary??? How did all this get started?

A: Here comes another really long answer, with some intuitive leaps on my part. Better grab another beverage.

Bar codes started in the 1970's as a system to track food from producer to consumer. The UPC was invented by George Laurer, an IBM engineer. The system was so wildly successful for grocers that soon it expanded to nearly every part of the retail sector. Companies realized immediate, enormous cost benefits in inventory management, sales tracking, re-ordering, and checkout speed and accuracy.

Through the 1980's, computers and software were extremely expensive. This meant that only the largest companies could afford barcoding systems. They were quite satisfied with this arrangement, too – it increased their already tremendous competitive advantage over smaller concerns and kept the riffraff out, dontcha' know. Since the system is dependent on unique numbers, they formed a club called the Uniform Code Council (UCC) to protect this cash cow by doling out numbers and maintaining a database of them. Everybody involved agreed to abide by the rules they set up.

A funny thing happened in the 1990's, though. The price of computers and software plummeted. Suddenly, nearly every retailer could afford point of sale systems. As a consequence, even small retailers began demanding barcodes from their vendors. Producers who had no intention or production capacity to supply the big box stores were now forced to go to to the UCC for numbers just to sell to the little stores. At the same time, the computer revolution also created a boom in small producers; anyone could now start a company and advertise globally.

The UCC, made up as it was of some of the largest corporations on the planet, responded to the computer revolution in the fashion typical of entrenched business models – they regarded it as an amusement that could never really compete with them. They didn't care that rules that were fine for huge corporations didn't work very well for small ones, and they failed to see that what had once been a luxury was now a necessity. They kept selling huge blocks of numbers for (then) lots of money, and assumed that everyone would play along because they were too big to fight. They did not even make anyone sign an agreement or contract.

They were right, too. I know I wouldn't be selling barcodes if they hadn't made a killer mistake. They realized, in about 2002, that barcodes themselves were a valuable commodity, so they sought to protect their monopoly by licensing code numbers. Prior to 2002, they had sold them saying they were company assets. They would have gotten away with the licensing scheme, too, but the killer mistake was they tried to make it retro-active and force it on existing prefix owners at exorbitant rates. This was too much – a class action suit was filed against them and they settled because they knew they couldn't win. This settlement established the very ownership of barcode numbers.

Q: GS1US now sells even individual numbers. What about that?

A: Yes, they do. You can thank us resellers for that. They are finally starting to respond to market forces in an effort to maintain their monopoly. Their prices are still too high and you still have to pay an annual fee.

Q: But GS1US says they are the only authorized source of barcode numbers. What about that?

A: Authorized?? By who?? By the World's Largest Retailer??

Q: GS1US says that theirs are the only codes that are authentic and are accepted by every retailer. How do you respond?

A: The retailer part is true. But, it's useful to remember that the only retailers who won't accept reseller codes are board members of GS1US. In my estimation, the volume of the reseller market is now starting to effect the major retailers. Retail is simple, you make money by selling stuff. If someone has a hot, salable item and your policy is you won't accept their barcode, it seems to me that you have made yourself a problem.

As far as authentic, my codes are just as authentic as theirs are. I got my codes from them. I would also match the integrity of my database with anyone's, even GS1US.

Q: You're just taking advantage of GS1US with a loophole, aren't you?

A: Unless I'm very mistaken, that's exactly how the World's Largest Software Company got to be the World's Largest Software Company.

Q: What about UPC-E (compressed) bar codes? Can you make those?

A: No, I can't. To create UPC-E's, there must be a number of zero's in the company prefix. Only very large companies have zero's in their company prefix.

Q: I'm publishing a periodical magazine. Do I need a unique UPC for each issue, or can I get by with just one?

A: Despite literally days spent researching this issue, I don't have a good answer. Yes, I believe there is a way to use just one, probably involving 2 or 5 digit extensions, but I don't know what it is.

Q: I'm in the food industry and I sell products to supermarkets. Can I use your codes to make discount coupons?

A: Yes, you can, but only if you buy at least 100 codes. The 7th, 8th, and 9th digits of a coupon code identify the product family. For any given 7th, 8th, and 9th digit combination, there are 100 possible UPC codes, so you have to buy them all or you may create a coupon that conflicts with someone else's products. If you do buy 100 codes, you will have to issue coupons for all of your products - if you want to differentiate, you'll have to buy more than 100. If you would like more information about this, email or call me.

Q: I would like my barcodes in both UPC and EAN formats. Will you do this, and how much extra will it cost?

A: Yes, I will supply both formats if you desire. There is no extra charge.

Q: I sell the same widget in 4 different colors. Can I use one barcode for all of them?

A: The truth is that if your retailer's allow it, you can. But you shouldn't, and here's why. Say you sell red, blue, yellow, and brown widgets. Say it happens that red outsells brown by a ratio of 4 to 1. You sell 120 assorted widgets, 30 each color, to a retailer. If you have only 1 code, the retailer will sell out of red long before the others, but he'll still have plenty of widgets in his system so he won't order more. If each color has it's own code, his system will tell him he's out of red widgets and he'll re-order red widgets. Both he and you maximize sales and you maximize production efficiency. This is why barcoding systems exist.

Q: I have a retail store and want to barcode some products that don't have them. Will your barcodes work for that?

A: You don't need to buy bar codes from me or anyone else. You can create your own for internal use. The only time you need to buy them is if you are selling to retailers with point of sale systems and they require them.

Q: Who is George Laurer and what is your relationship to him?

A: Mr. Laurer is the inventor of the UPC code and a pretty neat fellow as well. I have no relationship with him, other than he has checked out my credentials for selling bar codes to his satisfaction and has granted me a link from his site. His conditions for this link are rather stringent – he has verified anybody you see listed on his site. His site is also full of lots of info about bar codes.

Q: Why should I care about this?

A: Because, although I haven't seen it happen yet, if Mr. Laurer got a significant amount of complaints about a seller I'm sure he would remove them from his site.

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