When I think of all the players in the NBA with tattoos, Chris “The Birdman” Anderson is the first one that comes to mind. Probably because of his giant Free Bird tattoo that gives him an alternative high-collared look. Or maybe it’s the bird wings he tattooed on the inside of his arms after being nicknamed “The Birdman” for his leaping abilities.

Aside from Chris Anderson, there’s plenty of other NBA players who are well known for their flashy tattoos. But when I discovered Nugget’s Center, Javale McGee, had a tattoo of a barcode on his back I was bit surprised. Of all the possible tattoos, why would he want one of a barcode? I understand his finger mustache tattoo, of course, but the barcode…?


What started out as a simple solution to automate supermarket checkout systems, the barcode now has many different uses, the perfect tattoo design apparently being one of them.

After a little research, I realized there are thousands of people out there with these same tattoos. Well, almost the same… While every barcode has a similar design, they all have different number sets, linking them to different products. So if a barcode is a unique set of numbers corresponding to a specific product, then what do the numbers of all these people’s “unique” barcode tattoos correspond to? Maybe, the numbers don’t mean anything and people just like the irony of having a barcode on their body?

But the real question here is whether these tattoos actually scan.

While I’m no tattoo expert, I happen to know a thing or two about how barcodes work. In order to scan a barcode, the white spaces between each black line must be an exact distance apart from each other. For a tattoo artist, I imagine this type of precision is not easy to accomplish.

Apparently the skills are out there though. Check out this tattoo artist in this video who proves it’s actually possible to make a scannable tattoo.

Pretty impressive, right!? So this kid must love RedBull… But what if, in an effort to use up all his RedBull induced energy, he starts hitting the gym? Would the barcode still scan after the lines have been stretched over his impressive new guns?



In spirit of those who have barcode tattoos, Rapid Inventory will be running a special promotion over the next 6 months just for you. All you have to do is post a picture of your barcode tattoo (or QR code tattoo) to our Facebook page with the message “#Tatted4Rapid”. Tell us, does your tattoo actually scan? What pops up when your barcode tattoo is scanned?  One lucky winner will receive a year subscription to Rapid Inventory for free! That’s a $720 value! (Limited to one user per account).

If you don’t need our inventory management solution for QuickBooks, but you still have a barcode tattoo, send us a picture anyways and we will put it up on our website. We’re very curious about this new trend in body art. Our goal is to have the worlds largest picture collection of barcode tattoos on our website so we will definitely be needing your help!

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