Where is the strangest place you've seen a QR code?Evan Selleck - Contributing Editor
QR codes. They've been around for a long while now, but I can honestly say that I wasn't expecting them to become so common place. I see them everywhere now. Even just last year, I would have said that QR codes are similar to augmented reality. It exists, but that's about it. I can't really tell if that's the case, though. Yes, QR codes are common place, to the point where seeing one is almost just second nature now, but I can't help but wonder about their placement and usefulness.
I've traveled a lot lately, a lot of driving, and QR codes were actually all over the place. A lot more common than I thought they would ever be, in fact.
What's really strange to me is that I barely notice them. You know what I mean? You look at, say, a poster, and there it is on the bottom of it. Just a square with some smaller squares in it. If you have no idea what a QR code is, you may not even notice it there. Or, maybe you do, and you just don't pay any attention it. After all, it's just a marketing ploy, right? A small square on a large poster, what impact does it have at all?
We all know that a QR code leads to more information, though. Or special deals, or pictures, or whatever else the developers and marketers want it to lead to. If you're interested in something, like a movie or a product in general, a QR code can indeed lead to some useful information. Or just bonus extras.
For general marketing purposes, a QR code makes perfect sense. It's there, on a poster, easily accessible. It takes a few moments to get access to the materials beyond the QR code. You need to launch an application, steady the code into the image, and then take it. After that, it's smooth sailing. But putting QR codes in random places doesn't make much sense to me.
Which is why I want to know where some of the strangest places you've seen a QR code have been.
Before I took this last road trip, I was playing a game called Borderlands 2 from Gearbox Studios. In it, in one section of the game, there's a pizza box sitting on a table. I have no idea why I decided to look at it, but I did. And there, clear as day, is a QR code. I didn't scan it or anything, mostly because I've never put a QR scanner on my phone, but I've heard it works. (I'm not going to ruin what it unveils. Play the game and scan the code!) This isn't the first time a QR code has been used in a game, and it probably won't be the last. I just thought it was interesting that it was on a pizza box in the game.
However, the worst place I've ever seen a QR code? On the back of a semi trailer. It actually took me a moment to realize that's what I was looking at, because there was a part of my brain that wouldn't rationalize someone deciding to put a code there. Yeah, it's not a big deal for a multi-person trip, where the passenger can take a photo of the code, but for a situation where there's only one person in the car, does the marketing team for that particular freight line really think it's a good idea?
So tell me, Dear Reader, where's the strangest --or worst-- place you've seen a QR code? And, have you used QR codes in the past? Do you use them regularly? What draws you to them, if you do? Let me know!