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40 Years on, the Barcode Has Turned Everything Into Information

On June 26, 1974, at 8:01 a.m., Sharon Buchanan used a barcode to ring up a 10-pack of Juicy Fruit at the Marsh Supermarket in Troy, Ohio. A tectonic shift in the underlying economics of trade in tangible, physical goods of all kinds soon followed. Today, we celebrate the fortieth anniversary of this decisive moment — a moment whose universal impact can be seen in just how banal scanning a barcode has become.

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