How do those UPC labels work?

Simply- the width of those lines and the spaces between them tell the scanner what all the numbers are at the bottom. There is usually a single digit followed by 2 groups of 5 digits followed by another single digit at the end. The first digit is almost always zero, on shelf food items and always 2 on weighed in store items from the Meat and Deli departments. If the first number is not a zero, then it must be punched in with the rest of the UPC in order for it to work. The first group of 5 numbers is the manufacturers code. Each manufacturer applies for a code when they start, so everything from Kraft starts with 56000, and everything No Name, Presidents Choice or Sunspun starts with 60383. That’s handy to know because our eggs also start with 60383 so when they don’t scan, you can have half the code punched in by the time you have it turned around to read it. The last 5 digits are the product number as selected by the manufacturer.
On those meat and deli packages, the number that follows the 2 is almost always an 8 and then there is a 4 digit number that is the exact number that you would punch in on the scale to call up the correct label. That’s handy to know too.
The last 4 digits on the label are the price. There may also be another digit before the price, but if it is not a zero, you can replace it with a zero and it will still work. At least it does at my store. This is handy for cashiers too. If your stuck with a label that is mangled, you can punch in the whole upc if you can just make out the 4 digit code and the price 28XXXX0$$$$ is how to punch it in. Xs are the code and $s are the price. Try to keep that in mind. It will save you a lot of time and running around.

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