Bar code rape is a slang term for a practice in which trade show exhibitors scan an attendee’s nametag bar code before telling them anything about the product or service being promoted. The correct procedure is for the exhibitor to explain the product or service and then only scan the attendee’s bar code if he or she wants more information. Exhibitors who commit bar code rape are often hired representatives who are paid a commission for every bar code they collect.
Many technology trade shows use a nametag or wrist tag system on which an attendee’s information, including the company he or she represents and contact details, can be attained by scanning the bar code printed on the tag.
Because the majority of the attendees at many technology trade shows tend to be male, exhibitors often hire attractive women – sometimes called booth bunnies – to collect attendees’ information. These women sometimes commit bar code rape to maximize the number of leads they can collect. Most bar code rape goes unreported, so accurate statistics are hard to come by.