Updated date:

Training, Skills, and Duties of a Cashier

Author:

Peg owned an antique store and a hair salon and worked in a variety of retail settings before managing telecom projects across the US.

By Marlith (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Marlith (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

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.

shopping carts

shopping carts

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.

Checking out customers at the grand opening of my store

Checking out customers at the grand opening of my store

Basic Duties of a Cashier

According to Google, they receive over 62,300,000 global searches per month asking for the "duties of a cashier." Their front page listing shows these items.

  • Greet customers
  • Scan items and ensure pricing is correct.
  • Find out if they want paper or plastic bags.
  • Take customers' orders.
  • Deliver hot or cold food to customers.
  • Take coupons and scan them correctly.
  • Take payment in the form of cash, credit and debit cards, vouchers.
  • Issue receipts and dispense the correct change.
  • Make refunds or issue credits.
  • Count money in the cash drawers to ensure amounts are correct and there is adequate change.

The basic duties of a cashier are to greet customers, ring up merchandise, bag the items, take the customer's payment, and thank them for their business.

Getting the groceries home intact is important to many customers.

Getting the groceries home intact is important to many customers.

The Job Headquarters

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.

Proper Bagging Is a Learned Behavior

Years ago, grocery stores employed baggers whose main job 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're expected to bag the goods as well.

Not everyone is careful when loading their shopping cart nor do they care how it looks when they get it home. But for those who do care, getting home with eggs intact and unstained toilet paper is important.

What's the best way to bag groceries? There's a reason to separate the paper products and clothing from wet items like meat, dairy, and frozen food. To avoid cross-contamination, it's best to bag these items separately.

What Kind of Training Is Needed?

Many new cashiers have many questions and often not enough answers. Some skills are considered on the job learning experiences. Other skills need to be taught before an employee is expected to perform the job. A hands-on segment in actual customer service is useful to prepare new entry-level employees for the real-world experience of handling customers.

Ask relevant questions like the following while you are being trained.

  • What do I do if I scan something twice by accident?
  • What do I do if something scans with the wrong price?
  • Which button is for a gift card?
  • How do I handle an employee discount?
  • What if this item doesn't have a bar-code on it?
  • What happens if I enter the wrong amount of cash from the customer?
  • How do I make change?

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 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."

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 at entry-level 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.

Learning best practices on how to treat customers and customer service skills can open doors to better-paying jobs in the future.

References

  1. Cashier's Job Description from Cover Letter's Job and Resume Website
  2. The Job Headquarters
  3. NBC News Article, July 30, 2014, Allison Linn
  4. CNN Money, Walmart wages

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2015 Peg Cole

Comments

Peg Cole (author) from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on January 23, 2020:

Thanks for coming by to read this article, Devika. I appreciate your input.

Peg Cole (author) from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on January 07, 2016:

Hi Moonlake, I agree that a significant part of a cashier's job is in customer relations; serving the customer without becoming a nuisance. It's the same for a good waiter or waitress. They need to be able to make conversation and put you at ease without trying to join the party.

Sorry about the ham slice. I had that happen one time when I left a cold item in my car's trunk. Ewww.

Thanks for sharing your experience and for the great comment.

moonlake from America on January 07, 2016:

I like cashiers that talk and treat you like your a person but I hate cashiers that go on and on about themselves and it's hard to concentrate and then one of your bags is forgotten because she is so busy talking and not making sure everything has been taken.

I have a pantry so when I have can goods I will often just sit the bag in the pantry and wait till I have time to put things away and that is also when I straighten the shelves in the pantry. Just before Christmas, I bought a ham slice. The cashier put my ham slice under my can goods I didn't see it. I sit the bag in the pantry eight hours later when I got to the pantry I found the slice of ham and I had to throw it away.

Peg Cole (author) from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on January 07, 2016:

Hi Dana, I like your ambition and work ethic. It is hard to hold a job and attend school, as we both know. I think it makes the eventual job more appealing once the degree is finished. For me, having only one job felt like time off! Thanks for coming by and for sharing your experience.

Dana Tate from LOS ANGELES on January 06, 2016:

You were right on point when you said being a cashier will provide more opportunities. The hours in retail are irregular but if the managers like you and, you are reliable they will give you tons of hours. I worked at Macy's while putting myself through school and I loved it! The good thing about retail and cashiering experience is, they are plentiful and easy to find.

Peg Cole (author) from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on December 10, 2015:

Thank you for adding your important thoughts to the message, Breathing. I appreciate your visit and kind words.

TANJIM ARAFAT SAJIB from Bangladesh on December 09, 2015:

If anybody wants to build a good career as cashier and know the related duties, then this post can be one of the best guidance for you. Along with describing the different duties of a cashier, the author has also described some subordinate details that will be helpful for wannabe cashiers. As it is the profession of dealing with money, I think the most needed quality within a cashier is honesty and integrity. If these qualities are within a cashier, he/she will automatically do the job perfectly. Also the cashiers of different places have different roles due to the nature of the job. But everywhere honest y, integrity and clear understanding of the job is required for delivering.

Peg Cole (author) from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on November 08, 2015:

That surprises me, Teaches. I would imagine you to be an expert at counting. The customer service that goes with correct change is a true bonus. Thank you for adding your thoughts to this article.

Dianna Mendez on November 07, 2015:

Peg, I am no good at counting change so being a cashier is out of the question for me. I do appreciate those wonderful people who take the time to greet you and provide warm customer service. Those are the places I frequent most. Good writing on this topic!

Peg Cole (author) from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on November 05, 2015:

Thank you, Sandy.

Sandy Mertens from Frozen Tundra on November 04, 2015:

This is very handy for those in this business and a training tool.

Peg Cole (author) from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on October 19, 2015:

Aviannovice, Thanks for the visit and for your support of cashiers everywhere. They run the world of commerce.

Peg Cole (author) from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on October 19, 2015:

Hello Faith, You have to wonder about the training for cashiers and the qualifications needed. Do they take math tests upon application for a job? I know we did. They are probably allowed to use their phones for calculators.

I believe that scammer made the rounds at our grocery store, too. In fact, I was appalled that, when searching for videos, I saw one with instructions on how to scam the cashier.

Thank you so much for your visit and for sharing.

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on October 19, 2015:

Nice work, Peg! May the cashiers of America unite and be proud of themselves and the work that they do.

Faith Reaper from southern USA on October 18, 2015:

Hi Peg,

This is a wonderful hub to accompany your How to Count Back Change hub! As I commented on your other hub, my first job was cashier at the A & P Grocery store back in the day. I loved it and we were actually paid a decent salary for back then. We had to take a math test and I scored a 100. There were no "beep beeps" and we had to figure tax in our heads, as well as change too. Each key was manual. I remember being put to the test when a known (unknown to me) scammer guy came in and after I had counted back his correct change he tried to pull that switch of asking for change for a $20, which I placed on my register and not in the drawer. He kept going back and forth, and I knew, even at such a young age, he was not an honest man, so I called my manager, who praised me later and told me I did the right thing. Needless to say, the store was not ripped off because of my intuition.

A cashier makes or breaks a customer returning to a particular business, so it is a most important job.

Excellent hub once again.

Sharing everywhere.

Blessings always

Peg Cole (author) from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on October 17, 2015:

Hello Bravewarrior, That sounds about right for the hands-on training. When managers can't take the time to make sure the cashier is equipped with the proper solutions, they can expect failure. It's sad that some people pay such low wages to their front line representatives who handle cash. When I worked at Food Fair (in the dark ages) I was making $1.63 per hour. Times haven't changed much.

Glad that you reentered the workforce at a level that suits your experience. Great salary! The sort of job where you stand all day is a tough one.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on October 17, 2015:

Peg, a few months back I decided to get a part time job to supplement my freelance efforts. I was hired by our local Winn-Dixie (grocery store) as cashier. My first two days were spent training. The first was via computer (getting to know the store, how to run the register, etc.). When my manager saw me taking notes, he was flabbergasted. "You're taking notes?! No one ever does that!" I kindly responded that I always take notes when training for a job. Sheesh!

The second day, I was put on the training line where I ran through typical register scenarios, then went live later in the day. Naturally, every exception occurred when I was put alone on the line, all of which required manager intervention or a help key. The managers made it quite obvious they felt put-out when I needed help. Between their attitudes and the fact that I was on my feet for six hours a day with no floor mat to stand on, I quit after the first week. Oh, and the pay? $8.45/hour. Really?

I've since gone back to construction accounting making $50k to start. Night and day, huh?

Peg Cole (author) from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on October 14, 2015:

Thank you, Drbj. Your comment means a lot to me. Training is certainly the key to employee performance.

drbj and sherry from south Florida on October 14, 2015:

Another very specific and important hub with particular relevance for those who may be searching for their first job. And when it comes to preparing new hires to become cashiers, the person in charge of training is almost invariably the key. Another excellent primer, Peg.

Peg Cole (author) from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on October 12, 2015:

Thanks, Mary. I appreciate your input on the value of cashiers and the success story of your niece. That is inspiring!

Mary Craig from New York on October 12, 2015:

A great piece Peg. People often look down on cashiers, but they are the ones with the problem. You've outlined all the good qualities of a cashier. I had to smile because my niece started out as a cashier at Target and now is a managing supervisor traveling all over to help open and manage stores! Being a good cashier can lead to many good things in a career.

Love the picture of you in your business. I have a feeling you had lots of customers.

Peg Cole (author) from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on October 11, 2015:

Hi AliciaC, I agree that finding a cheerful and friendly cashier at a store is a real plus. There used to be one special cashier at a local grocery store that I would seek out and wait in her line. She was friendly and efficient and took care to bag things neatly. She was a real asset to the business. I admired the fact that she was attending college and also working. I hope that she moved on to a better paying job.

Peg Cole (author) from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on October 11, 2015:

Hello Mike, Thank you for stopping in and for the kind remarks about the store photo. I really loved working at the store, going to auctions to find the merchandise and setting things up for display. It was a shame that I couldn't quit my full-time job and give it a real chance for success. Some things are just not meant to be. I imagine that you miss your book store, too. Playing with the inventory is half the fun.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on October 11, 2015:

This is a very useful hub for anyone who wants to be a cashier. The details that you share are interesting, too. I really appreciate a cheerful and friendly cashier when I visit a store. As you say, he or she definitely represents the front line of the business!

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on October 11, 2015:

Hello Peg. Here again, you present a great article with some common sense information and even a view of a job opportunity, or entry level position. The photo of you in your store is a nice touch. I am sure you gave top notch customer service. Also I am sure you had a lot of fun with it. You have the entrepreneur gene in you.

Peg Cole (author) from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on October 11, 2015:

Hello Mar, Thanks for the return trip and for the uplifting comments about a tutorial series. Cool idea. I'm glad you watched the funny video montage with Jerry Seinfeld. He really knows how to deliver a punch line with flair. It was amazing to see that speedy cashier bag those groceries, too. She has perfected that to an art; an inspiration to cashiers everywhere. Thanks for watching and for taking time to come by a second time. Love.

Peg Cole (author) from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on October 11, 2015:

Hi Frank, I like your take on the message of this article. This is so true. Every job has its drawbacks and advantages. What we make of our time while we're here and of the hours we spend working is the key to our happiness.

Peg Cole (author) from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on October 11, 2015:

Flourish, I agree with your observation about self-serve checkout stations. The stores are trying to further reduce their overhead by making the customer do all the work themselves. What they don't realize is the importance and value of employee interaction and customer service that is key to business.

Peg Cole (author) from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on October 11, 2015:

Hi JackieL, I agree with you about the bread. It just isn't the same when it is pre-mashed. Bread is something that needs to be bagged by itself or on top of the eggs.

About the grumpy cashiers, it is understandable sometimes that their days are filled with thankless and complaining customers. Thankfully, some of them know how to overcome the negatives and spread a ray of sunshine along the way.

Peg Cole (author) from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on October 11, 2015:

Hi Jo Goldsmith, I was surprised to see that figure as an average amount earned as well. Perhaps the average wage reflects the higher income earned at some places like Costco and others.

The way your manager mentored you is the proper way to train a new cashier. The training can't possibly cover every scenario that arises until real examples come along.

Blessings to you this morning, Jo, and thanks so much for taking time to comment.

Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on October 11, 2015:

Hi Peg,

I came back to enjoy your videos - that young woman is speedy for sure- and I especially loved the Seinfeld snippets.

I wish this could be a tutorial series, along with your 'counting back change' for retail stores everywhere.

Working at Woolworth's, I learned a lesson I've taken into my life and career - "The customer is always right".

Have a peaceful Sunday. Love, Maria

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on October 11, 2015:

Pegcoe I take away from this hub that all jobs are important.. I agree with Flourish.. with the self check out.. they're trying to phase out the cashiers, but it won't work.. great hub my friend :)

FlourishAnyway from USA on October 10, 2015:

I'm noticing how more and more stores are trying to squeeze out the job of cashier by making the customer check themselves out at the register. I decline to do it. Someone has to be a cashier, and inevitably the self-service machine will break down and someone will need to help anyway. Too many jobs are being replaced by machines. We need smiling faces and people contact.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on October 10, 2015:

I think they (or 99%) missed the instructions on how to bag bread. I almost always have to get a bag for it to be by itself every time I buy it and the reason is all the loaves I have had to use all mashed up! Although most cashiers are friendly there are some you just cannot get a kind word from; if any word! It really is not that hard of a job for those wages and although I would prefer kind chat as long as they get it all right I can take the silence! lol

Peg Cole (author) from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on October 10, 2015:

Me, too, Pstraubie. In my current state of retirement, sometimes the only real person I talk to in a single day is the cashier at the grocery store. Their interaction with me can either lift my day or set it into the dumps. Some of the cashiers who work in high-risk jobs, like convenience stores, really do need the angels to watch over them. Thanks for taking time to read this and for the awesome comment. Hugs.

Peg Cole (author) from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on October 10, 2015:

Hello Billybuc, Thanks for being the first to comment on this article. I certainly agree that the cashier can bring down a business or build it up. I don't hesitate to go to management if I receive poor service or experience rude behavior. I've also been known to bring good service to the attention of managers and staff.

Jo_Goldsmith11 on October 10, 2015:

What a great read! The average is $14.00 an hour? where? I know back in the day when I was cashier, (2010-2013) the most I made was $9.50.

And I guess it depends on what part of the country you live in, to make at least the avg of 14.00 dollars.

A good point about sometimes it is on the job training. I know I was so appreciative to my manager who stood next to me the first couple days while I was on the register. If I had a question, it was a relief to know she was an elbow away for me to ask. Good people skills is a must, that is for sure. Shared this and I am sure it will be very helpful for others!

hugs & Blessings....((((((((( Peg ))))))))

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on October 10, 2015:

This is such an important hub for all of us to read. Cashiers really need to understand that they DO impact the overall economic wellness of a store. I have stopped shopping at stores where the cashiers were engaged with each other or a phone rather than focusing on taking care of my transaction.

The cashier leaves a lasting impression on those of us who pass by. It is most unpleasant to be greeted with a scowl and a 'I wish you weren't here' attitude.

On the flip side, we as customers can impact how cashiers feel. It is so wrong to see people be disrespectful and rude to those who are behind the counter acting as the cashier.

Thank you for taking the time to write about a topic that affects all of us.

Angels are on the way to you and to all cashiers who are on the front lines today. ps

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on October 10, 2015:

Where do we shop here in Olympia? The places that give the best customer service, and the face of the company is always the cashier and sales clerks...invaluable when they are good...crippling when they are bad.

Related Articles