Training, Skills, and Duties of a Cashier
Cash Registers at Target
How Important is a Cashier to a Business?
Many people start their careers in an entry level position as a cashier. One thing in common with every purchase is that there is some type of cashier involved, whether automated or in person. This job requires a certain level of math ability and more importantly, people skills. The way people are treated when handing over their hard-earned cash for purchases makes a huge difference in their level of customer satisfaction.
Cashiers represent the front line when it comes to the success of a business. If the experience when paying for merchandise is tainted with an unpleasant encounter, people will likely tell others about it. If the experience is pleasant, people are likely to return to that store to do business again.
Similar to any first contact position like receptionist, greeter, hostess or flight attendant, a poor experience can be detrimental to future business growth and success.
Working at the Grocery Store
Enhancing Your Resume
Working as a cashier can actually help open doors for future employment opportunities. Your resume describing your experience as a cashier will boast of your people skills, bubbly personality, effective organizational skills, and math abilities. The experience of balancing a cash drawer properly and proven expertise in resolving customer issues can lead to positions of higher authority and better income if done well.
Advertisements for cashier job openings often list these traits as necessary:
- Bubbly personality
- Organizational skills
- Ability to resolve customer issues
- Quick learner in a fast-paced environment
- Strong mathematical aptitude
- Flexible work schedule
Working at this type of job allows a worker the flexibility of schedule and may provide the opportunity to continue one's education. As Placement Director for a Dallas Business School, it was my job to assist student graduates in moving from retail jobs into administrative careers. Many students started out working as fast food employees, clerks, cashiers or in the hospitality industry. Adding some skills in word processing, accounting and typing often made the transition easier.
Working as a Cashier in a Store
Basic Duties of a Cashier
According to Google, they receive over fifteen million (15,000,000) global searches per month seeking a description of the duties of a cashier. Their front page listing shows these items.
- Scan items and ensure pricing is correct.
- Greet customers and ask if they want paper or plastic.
- Take customers' orders.
- Deliver hot or cold food to customers.
- Take coupons and scan correctly.
- Dispense correct change.
- Take payment in the form of cash, credit card or check.
Making Sure That Groceries Arrive Home Intact
Entry-level cashier jobs usually require a high-school diploma or a general equivalency diploma (GED). Some employers require applicants pass a math skills test to make certain that they can handle money accurately.
Pleasing the Customer
What pleases a customer, for example, at a grocery store? The cashier leaves an impression with the customer whether good or bad. From personal experience, I'm pleased if a cashier greets me promptly and takes care of ringing up my sale without distractions like talking on the phone or turning their back as I approach or chatting with a coworker.
The next criteria is that the cashier properly returns the correct change from my transaction with as few small bills (when paying in cash) as possible without drawing attention to the fact that my cash is burdensome and making change is difficult.
Bagging the merchandise is the next hurdle to overcome in pleasing the customer. Dissatisfaction grows when the customer arrives home with broken items that were not properly wrapped and bagged. For example, tomatoes should not be the first items placed in the grocery bag.
How to be a Good Cashier
Proper Bagging Technique is a Learned Behavior
Observing some grocery carts that are filled with goods, it seems that not all people care about the condition of their food when they get it home. For the majority of customers, getting home with eggs intact and toilet paper free from food stains is important. There's a reason to separate the paper products and clothing from the meat items or frozen food.
In the past, there were baggers whose main function when not stocking the shelves was to bag the groceries while the cashier rang them up. This is not the case in today's streamlined grocery stores. The cashier is not only responsible for ringing up merchandise and accepting payment, they are expected to package up the goods as well.
How does one bag items properly? This video shows one cashier who won competitions for her speedy and efficient use of a well-developed bagging technique.
This Cashier Won Awards for being a Speedy Bagger
What Kind of Training is Needed?
One teenage cashier who works at a well known grocery store wrote this when put on the register after their training. "What button do I press if I scanned something twice by accident? Which button is for a gift card? Employee discount card? What if something scans and it's the wrong price? What if this doesn't even have a barcode on it? I had way too many questions and not enough answers."
Some skills are considered on the job learning experiences. Others need to be covered before an employee is expected to perform the job. Perhaps a hands-on segment in actual customer service is needed to prepare new entry level employees for the real world experience of handling customers.
According to the US Department of Labor Statistics, over 3 million retail cashier positions exist throughout the nation, and another 250,000 are expected to be added by the year 2020.— US Department of Labor
What Do Cashiers Earn?
NBC News reports that "retail workers who don't have a supervisory role earned an average of $14.02 an hour in 2013, according to calculations of government wage data compiled for NBC News by the Economic Policy Institute. There were 12.9 million such workers in the U.S. in 2013, according to the Economic Policy Institute, accounting for nearly eighty-six percent (86%) of all retail workers."
Many who work in retail complain that the irregular work hours make it difficult to find a permanent placement and to make ends meet. One said her "schedule changed dramatically week to week and with little notice, making it difficult to find a full-time position."3 She was ultimately able to take her retail experience and find a job in the administrative field that included benefits and long term security.
Finding the right retail job can mean starting off somewhere and learning the skills required for advancement. Zeynep Ton’s book, Good Jobs Strategy, focuses on a small set of companies like Costco, Trader Joe’s and QuikTrip, who pay workers above-average wages and offer better training, higher wages and other perks.
Hungarian Antique Cash Register
Funny Clips on What Not To Do as a Cashier
Thoughts on Minimum Wage
Jim Rohn, America's foremost business philosopher, said that "entry level positions are a ladder, not than a bed." They're the first step into the working world; not a final resting place.
It's not about our value as a human being, but our skills and abilities that determine our earning power. "The value we bring to the workplace is the value we can expect to earn in terms of wages."
Questions & Answers
© 2015 Peg Cole