TikTok Is Debating The Real Reason Hobby Lobby Doesn't Use Barcodes On Their Products
And there are some *wild* theories.
There’s no debate about the controversial policies that Hobby Lobby holds for their employees and company practices. Hobby Lobby is owned by far-right Evangelical Christians and incorporates “American conservative values” and Christian rhetoric into their products, employee policies, and brand messaging.
That could be all well and fine in theory, since everyone certainly has an individual right to worship, but the business and its founder — David Green — have been the subject of several controversies and scandals including accusations of antisemitism, homophobia, LGBTQ discrimination, attempts to evangelize public schools, “efforts to deny access to contraceptives for employees,” “discrimination and illegally smuggled artifacts to endangering employees during the coronavirus pandemic.”
And while all of those things are awful and archaic and possibly illegal, there is one weird thing about Hobby Lobby that has people talking the most — the strange lack of barcodes on their products.
That’s right, unlike pretty much every other chain store in existence, Hobby Lobby does not have any barcodes on their products. When a customer heads up to the register to pay for their items, the cashiers manually enter in codes instead of scanning anything. If you’ve ever been to a Hobby Lobby, you know exactly what I’m talking about. And it’s always struck me as odd.
Apparently, I’m not the only one because TikTok is having a major debate right now over why Hobby Lobby doesn’t scan barcodes, and there are some wild theories.
TikTok user @magnify went viral after theorizing that the popular home good store does not use barcodes of any kind because it is the “mark of the beast.” The main passage in the Bible that mentions the “mark of the beast” is Revelation 13:15-18.
According to the last book in the Bible, 666 is the number, or name, of the wild beast with seven heads and ten horns that comes out of the sea. This beast is a symbol of the worldwide political system, which rules over “every tribe and people and tongue and nation.” The name 666 identifies the political system as a gross failure in God’s sight.
The OP claims that the figure of the mark of the beast was “going to to control commerce and so for a hot minute in the 80s there they really thought it was going to be barcodes.”
Since Hobby Lobby is a widely-known conservative Christian company, this doesn’t seem all that far fetched. However, former Hobby Lobby employees have worked to debunk this rumor.
TikTok user and former Hobby Lobby employee, Seth (@arenclelle) says Hobby Lobby’s CEO David Green “just really believes in the power of humans over computers.”
“People will say it’s because barcodes are the mark of the beast, and Hobby Lobby is crazy but they’re not that crazy,” Seth says in the video. “He just believes that humans can do work better and more efficiently than computers.”
The TikToker explains Hobby Lobby sells a mix of products — some are Hobby Lobby brand and some are from other vendors. Products that are its own brand have their price printed on the packaging. But for products that come from other vendors, Hobby Lobby puts a sticker with the price on it, Seth says.
He claims that Hobby Lobby workers have to remember all the sales from each week so they can input them into the company’s system, which seems ineffective or at least difficult compared to a barcode system.
“Fr literally so hard to check people out at that store,” Seth added in his video’s caption.
Another TikTok user and Hobby Lobby customer joked about how hard it must be on the employees to remember all that information. “What are we doing Hobby Lobby?” she asks. “[The employees have to type everything in ... What are you doing to your people? It is not quick. If you have to run a quick errand, it’s not going to be at Hobby Lobby.”
Another former Hobby Lobby employee, Holly, chimed in, agreeing that the store’s lack of barcodes was hindering productive sales and a total waste of time.
“They didn't tell me it was the mark of the beast [as to] why they don't use barcodes because they didn't want to look crazy, I'm assuming, even though it still looked crazy. They were like, it makes it more personal between the cashier and the customer. That's what they told me, that's literally what they told me,” she said.
Holly then revealed a questionable process the store went through with employees who were not pulling their weight. “The real, real crazy thing is they would have someone audit the receipts. So they would go through every single transaction,” she said.
“They would read through transactions and look for discrepancies. So if you f*cked up, they would see and they would print it out, and they would highlight the mistake and then they would make you sign it and say, ‘I'm gonna make sure this doesn't happen again.’ They would do this like sometimes multiple times a week to every single cashier.”
She continued, “Like this would not be a problem if you just used f*cking barcodes.”