Mark of the beast Ecommerce bar code tattoo.jpgBlip. Boop. Beep. The sounds of shopping today aren’t quite what the used to be — the cha-ching in Pink Floyd’s Money, for example, is barely recognizable to today’s tech-savvy e-merchants — but the modern automated scanning equipment seen at cashier’s registers at 7/11s and Safeways nationwide now make one noise for the city and county of San Francisco: whatever noise that’s made when the city imposes and then collects a fee.

Merchants using automated scanning equipment — anything that reads a barcode on an item in order to determine its price at the register, i.e. any chain store — will have to pay a fee for the right to use that equipment, under legislation passed by the Board of Supervisors today.

The purpose for this legislation, introduced by Mayor Gavin Newsom, is to ensure that folks aren’t scammed by scanners: city employees will inspect automated point-of-sale scanning systems to ensure they’re working properly and not fleecing consumers. The fees — up to $773 per merchant using scanners — will offset the cost of sending out city workers to make sure scanners are shipshape.

Merchants using a scanner not registered with the city would face a fine in the hundreds of dollars. Registrations would need to be renewed on a yearly basis.

Is this anti-business or pro-consumer? The Appeal cannot say, except to consider a new career as a scanner inspector. Blip boop bop: we just can’t stop.

Not sure what this site is about, but they provided our lead image, so, thanks!

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