TikTok Is Stunned By Walmart's Secret Grocery Barcodes

Walmart is the country's largest employee, so it should be no surprise that a recent TikTok video exposing one of its operating practices could generate significant traction (via USA Today). In what may appear to be sorcery, the workers in Walmart's online pick-up and delivery, OPD, only need to scan the picture of the Great Value brand packaging instead of a traditional barcode on the side of the package.

In 2019, Walmart partnered with a new company called Digimarc to incorporate its Digimarc barcode into its Great Value packages (via Labels and Labeling). In short, the Digimarc barcode applies a digital watermark to the entire package consumers do not detect. Instead, the barcode is detectable with smartphones, computers, and barcode scanners with Digimarc software or app. According to Walmart, their decision to implement the new technology was an effort to increase efficiency and reduce overall food waste. The unique barcode will allow consumers to complete checkout quicker due to diminishing the need to use altered or smudged traditional barcodes. When TikTok found out about it, users were stunned.

TikTok can't believe their eyes

A TikTok video showing Walmart's Digimarc barcode amassed almost 900k viewers. The video shows a user scanning package of Great Value products, but he isn't scanning a traditional barcode. Instead, he is scanning the front of the product label because it is printed using Digimarc barcodes (via Labels and Labeling). The responses on Tik Tok clearly showed how shocked they were to learn this.

A fellow Walmart worker discussed their surprise when it was implemented, saying, "I thought I was insane when I scanned the front of the box, and it worked." Another user echoed that feeling, "I've done this before with a few products. Was so confused so I kept going back to just randomly check it again and it worked." One user was so shocked he couldn't move, saying "Bro I scanned the wrong side of some chicken broth the other day and stood there confused at how it scanned without the barcode."

Many comments were from Walmart workers who were just as stunned to see TikToks about their job. One user hilariously stated, "Nah I'm getting TikToks about my job now. Good thing I put in my two weeks today." Whether a worker or consumer, it will be fascinating to see how widespread the technology becomes.