F*%k You Friday! QR Codes

QR CodesIf you read last week’s F*%k You Friday, you may have gotten a taste about how much I hate QR codes.

I’ve yet to see a use of QR codes that isn’t forced and is actually helpful to the user.

QR codes drive me nuts because they take me out of my current experience. QR codes make it easy to avoid creating a unique and creative experience using the materials the code is printed on.

When I see a QR code, this is what happens. I have to whip out my smart phone, download a QR code reader (because I don’t have one built in), and then scan the code. At this point, I’m more likely to be playing Angry Birds on my phone because I’m easily distracted by shiny things and I’ve forgotten the reason I started downloading this QR app in the first place.

So, are QR codes a fad on their way out? How much longer will I have to put up with these ugly little squares? Has anyone made them pretty, or useful?

Maybe one day, I can wake up in a world without ugly, square barcodes that serve no useful purpose. I call that day 1999.

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33 Responses to “F*%k You Friday! QR Codes”

  1. Conor Higgins May 13, 2011 at 9:48 am #

    Or else I can just whip out my smart phone and use the barcode scanner that I downloaded months ago and get a quick link to that company’s website, or access to a deal on the go which saves me the hassle of having to write it down or having to remember the link and enter it into my mobile browser. Quick, easy, and simple.

    However, I do agree that they have not been utilised in any meaningful or innovative waym that I know of yet anyway. Although I do feel that they have good potential.

    Interesting post Jay. Keep up the good work.

    • Jay May 14, 2011 at 7:25 pm #

      I see no potential. I see failings in making your regular marketing materials contain useful and relevant information to make me want to buy something.

  2. Kelsey May 13, 2011 at 10:32 am #

    OMG! I just wrote a post about how I hate how QR codes are used too! ugh!!! http://thesocialrobot.com/2011/03/why-qr-codes-arent-being-used-correctly/

    • Jay May 14, 2011 at 7:26 pm #

      OMG! We’re like twins! LOLz!

  3. Cole Watts May 13, 2011 at 1:49 pm #

    Jay, It all depends on the purpose of the QR code. If the QR code is not adding something relevant or useful to the consumer it’s pointless.
    Are there too many of them? Probably so, but some of them have added some meaningful content.
    When I was helping my Dad shop for a computer, last December, in a local BestBuy, each computer’s price tag had a QR code that led to the product listing on their website, which I used to view the various reviews each model had.
    Is it a pain in the ass to have to pull out your phone, scan something, and wait for the page to load? Yes, but if we are given relevant content to something that’s very important to us we will scan it.

    • Aldo Gnocchi May 14, 2011 at 3:34 pm #

      Very nice example! Thx for sharing!

    • Jay May 14, 2011 at 7:26 pm #

      My ass has enough pain. Does it really need more?

      Also, I just buy the computer for my parents. They’re just happy to have Facebook and AOL.

  4. Rob May 13, 2011 at 2:01 pm #

    Two things:
    1. You are in trouble, because the USPS has an incentive in the works that encourages mailers to use QR codes either on their envelope or on the contents inside. It is planned for this summer, just hasn’t been approved yet. You may actually see an EXPLOSION of QR codes popping up if this goes through. You may need to take a trip to DC and rally your cause up and down L’Enfant Plaza to make them feel your opposition.

    2. We have found that you can create a QR code and play with it a bit in a photo editing program. We erased just enough of the center and placed our company logo in the center of it, making it personal yet still functional. There are also programs/websites that allow you to put little pictures in your QR code (such as cute little kitty faces OMG!) to make them more fun and appealing. However, most people will probably opt for the boring old dots.

    This website has some cool little pictures in the QR codes:

    • Aldo Gnocchi May 14, 2011 at 3:35 pm #

      Nice, thx!

    • Jay May 14, 2011 at 7:27 pm #

      1. Oh hell no.

      2. I’m too lazy for that. But it at least reminds me of a bad Atari game.

  5. Claire Wagner May 13, 2011 at 6:02 pm #

    Hate them. Leave them to the robots. I can, and do, actually speak and read.

    • Jay May 14, 2011 at 6:41 pm #

      Fine. QR codes for robots. English and other languages for humans.

  6. DuNo Tran May 13, 2011 at 8:46 pm #

    You guys should watch this:

    It’s an interactive music video with QR Barcodes.
    Spread the word about it

    • Jay May 14, 2011 at 7:24 pm #

      I know hate QR codes and music. Thanks for ruining one good thing.

  7. Michael LaRocca May 13, 2011 at 10:49 pm #

    Every time you scan a QR code, a kitten dies.

    • Jay May 14, 2011 at 7:23 pm #


  8. Mike May 14, 2011 at 2:22 pm #

    The one point missed is that there are some people who like it. Use it for those people. Some people hate Twitter or Facebook but we still use those tools. Use the tools that reach people. I haerd of a home inspector who had 300 scans of a QR Code in a week. those are opportunities.

    • Jay May 14, 2011 at 7:28 pm #

      There are also people who like Rebecca Black. Doesn’t mean they’re right (or that I am). I just hate them.

  9. Aldo Gnocchi May 14, 2011 at 2:42 pm #

    I love QR Codes!

    The nice thing about them is that they still open up a lot of opportunities to smart marketers.

    You’re absolutely right: At the moment the network effect is not yet reached. A QR code reader must be on every mobilephone as a default device.

    Then one could use QR codes for example on billboards to invite you directly to an interesting online contest or similar marketing ideas.

    You would no longer need to tip in a URL on your smartphone keyboard. Wouldn’t this be nice? With the growing smartphone penetration, the potential for QR code possibilities rise as well.

    Maybe we just have to get used to them.

    Regards from Switzerland,


    • Jay May 14, 2011 at 7:22 pm #

      See, I get the practicality about a URL, but that’s about it. And I’ve yet to be in a situation where I’d do that yet.

      Maybe one day.

  10. Gini Dietrich May 14, 2011 at 6:31 pm #

    I love QR codes because they allow me to screw with PR people and their stats. I’ve been known to make everyone at my table scan the QR code on the menu, just to make the restaurant’s PR person freak out at how many visitors they had that night. I suppose this is the reason I’m never asked to participate in surveys anymore.

    • Jay May 14, 2011 at 7:17 pm #

      I’ve never seen a QR code on a menu. Nor do I want to.

      Seriously, what is the value there for the customer? Do you get a discount?

      But power to you for messing with other PR people.You’re like The Anti-QR Code person. Use their own power against them!

  11. Ariel May 14, 2011 at 6:38 pm #

    Another blog post on QR codes http://www.247social.co.uk/baby-qr-so-fit/

    • Jay May 14, 2011 at 7:16 pm #

      Another comment with a random link and no insight. http://theantisocialmedia.com

      • Ariel May 15, 2011 at 4:37 am #

        interesting, if you read the link it said the exact same thing your entry said. so i guess no one’s gotten anywhere from that.

  12. Jenn Whinnem May 14, 2011 at 7:02 pm #

    Hi Jay! I’m new to your blog so I have to ask…does the F U Friday theme come from this? http://achewood.com/index.php?date=01072005

    Otherwise - I cannot be bothered to use a QR code, myself.

    • Jay May 14, 2011 at 7:15 pm #

      No, F&%k You Friday comes from my friend Laurie Ruettimann, who has a F*&k It Friday theme.

      • Jenn Whinnem May 14, 2011 at 7:26 pm #

        Cool! thanks. Will def. check you both out more in the future.

  13. Mary Lynn Halland May 16, 2011 at 10:49 am #

    I think the main problem is that you’re easily distracted by shiny things. Not much hope for you, I’m afraid. LOL

    • Jay May 16, 2011 at 10:52 am #

      So true.

  14. Jim May 16, 2011 at 12:11 pm #

    I always thought that a good use for them would be on a wine bottle label.

    The Winery (vinyard) could put ‘better’ info about the wine on the QR thingy. Your scanner could then save this info if your wanted to or you could use it to bullsh1t your guests with, if entertaining !

    • Jay May 16, 2011 at 12:14 pm #

      Sounds good, but do you really want to ruin that cute wine bottle label with an ugly QR code?