Friday, February 18, 2005

Googling by the (UPC) numbers

A wheel broke on our second-hand patio lounge chair. Rubber tread, plastic hub (shattered) to find another one? Dreading a Saturday spent schlepping from Fred Meyer to Home Depot to Lowe's to True Value with no real hope of success, I picked up the broken wheel to put it in my car as a sample. There, attached to the side of the wheel, was a barcode sticker. I thought, wouldn't it be great if you could just enter the barcode into Google search and find the item online? At least I'd know the name and manufacturer of what I was looking for.

I Google searched first for web pages about barcode searching and found (though not very easily) an excellent page on using Google and Yahoo searching for arcane purposes. And discovered to my amazement that all you need to do is type the barcode number into the regular Google search box and click. (Other numbers, such as patents, need keywords as well.)

So I typed in the barcode number and, like magic, Google yielded two sites that sell what was revealed to be the "6-inch by 1.5-inch plastic 50# Diamond Tread wheel by Arnold." Two wheels (for the day when the other wheel falls off the lounge chair) plus shipping totaled $14 at, and I could pay using my PayPal account. Adios, Home Depot! My Saturday is free.

1 comment:

  1. This also works quite well with part numbers if you're searching for a part (say, a replacement power supply for a computer, or a 5 disc caddy for a broken dvd player).