|Handbook Contents...||UMSL Govt. Docs...||UMSL Libraries...||UMSL Home...|
Supermarkets, department stores, gasoline service stations, movie theaters, restaurants, and many other businesses employ cashiers to register the sale of their merchandise. Most cashiers total bills, receive money, make change, fill out charge forms, and give receipts. Bank tellers, who perform similar duties but work in financial institutions, are discussed elsewhere in the Handbook.
Although specific job duties vary by employer, cashiers are usually assigned to a register and given a drawer containing a "bank" of money at the beginning of their shifts. They must count their bank to ensure that it contains the correct amount of money and that there is an adequate supply of change. At the end of their shift, they once again count the drawers' contents and compare the totals with sales data. An occasional shortage of small amounts may be overlooked, but repeated shortages are grounds for dismissal in many establishments.
In addition to counting the contents of their drawer at the end of their shift, cashiers usually separate charge forms, return slips, coupons, and any other noncash items.
Cashiers also handle returns and exchanges. They must ensure that the merchandise is in good condition and determine where and when it was purchased and the type of payment used. Cashiers traditionally have rung up customers' purchases using a cash register-manually entering the price of each product the consumer was buying. However, most establishments are now using more sophisticated equipment, such as scanners and computers. In stores with scanners, the cashier passes the product's Universal Product Code over the scanning device, which transmits the code number to a computer. The computer identifies the item and its price. In other establishments, cashiers manually enter a code into a computer, and a description of the item and its price appear on the screen.
After entering all items and subtracting the value of any coupons or special discounts, cashiers total the bill and take payment. Depending on the type of establishment, payment may be by cash, check, charge, or increasingly, debit cards. Cashiers must know the store's policies and procedures for accepting each type of payment. For checks and charges, they may have to request additional identification from the customer or call in for an authorization. When the sale is complete, cashiers issue a receipt to the customer and return the appropriate change. They may also wrap or bag the purchase.
Depending on the type of establishment, cashiers may have other duties as well. In many supermarkets, for example, they weigh produce and bulk food as well as return unwanted items to the shelves. In convenience stores, cashiers may be required to know how to use a variety of machines other than cash registers, and how to furnish money orders. Operating ticket-dispensing machines and answering questions are common duties for cashiers who work at movie theaters and ticket agencies. Counter and rental clerks, who perform many similar duties, are discussed elsewhere in the Handbook.
More than one-half of all cashiers are on part-time schedules. Hours of work often vary depending on the needs of the employer. Generally, cashiers are expected to work weekends, evenings, and holidays to accommodate customers' needs. However, because of this, many employers offer flexible schedules. For example, full-time workers who work on weekends may receive time off during the week. Because the holiday season is the busiest time for most retailers, many employers restrict the use of vacation time from Thanksgiving through the beginning of January.
Most cashiers work indoors, usually standing in booths or behind counters. In addition, they are often unable to leave their workstations without supervisory approval since they are responsible for large sums of money. The work of cashiers can be very repetitious but improvements in machine design are being made to combat problems caused by repetitive motion.
Cashiers held about 3,005,000 jobs in 1994. Although employed in nearly every industry, more than one-third of all jobs were in supermarkets and other food stores. Department stores, gasoline service stations, drug stores, and other retail establishments also employed large numbers of these workers. Because cashiers are needed in businesses and organizations of all types and sizes, job opportunities are found throughout the country.
Cashier jobs tend to be entry level positions requiring little or no previous work experience. Although there are no specific educational requirements, employers filling full-time jobs often prefer applicants with a high school diploma.
Nearly all cashiers are trained on the job. In small firms, beginners are often trained by an experienced worker. The first day is usually spent observing the operation and becoming familiar with the store's equipment, policies, and procedures. After this, trainees are assigned to a register-frequently under the supervision of a more experienced worker. In larger firms, before being placed at a cash register, trainees first spend several days in classes. Topics typically covered include a description of the industry and the company, instruction on the store's policies, procedures, and equipment operation, and security.
Training for experienced workers is not common except when new equipment is introduced or when procedures change. In these cases, training is given on the job by the employer or a representative of the equipment manufacturer.
Persons who want to become cashiers should be able to do repetitious work accurately. They also need basic arithmetic skills, good manual dexterity and, because they deal constantly with the public, cashiers should be neat in appearance and be able to deal tactfully and pleasantly with customers. In addition, some firms seek persons who have operated specialized equipment or who have business experience, such as typing, selling, or handling money.
Advancement opportunities for cashiers vary. For those working part time, promotion may be to a full-time position. Others advance to head cashier or cash office clerk. In addition, the job offers a good opportunity to learn an employer's business and serves as a steppingstone to a more responsible position.
Employment of cashiers is expected to increase about as fast as the average for all occupations through the year 2005 due to expanding demand for goods and services by a growing population. Although growth will account for numerous openings, most jobs will result from the need to replace experienced workers who transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force. Workers under the age of 25 traditionally have filled many of the openings in this occupation. Recently, however, more openings are being filled by nontraditional workers, such as elderly and disabled persons. As in the past, replacement needs will create a significant number of job openings, for the occupation is large and turnover is much higher than average. Opportunities for part-time work are expected to continue to be excellent.
Cashiers have earnings ranging from the minimum wage to several times that amount. Wages tend to be higher in areas where there is intense competition for workers. In establishments covered by Federal law, those beginning at the minimum wage earned $4.25 an hour in 1994. In some States, the minimum wage in many establishments is governed by State law, and where State minimums are higher, the establishment must pay at least that amount.
In 1994, median weekly earnings for full-time cashiers were $228. The middle 50 percent earned between $188 and $303; 10 percent earned below $153; and 10 percent earned above $421.
Benefits for full-time cashiers tend to be better than for those working part time. Cashiers often receive health and life insurance and paid vacations. In addition, those working in retail establishments often receive discounts on purchases and those in restaurants may receive free or low-cost meals.
Cashiers receive payment for the purchase of goods and services. Other workers with similar duties include food counter clerks, bank tellers, counter and rental clerks, postal service clerks, and sales clerks.
For information about employment opportunities as a cashier, contact:
National Association of Convenience Stores, 1605 King St., Alexandria, VA 22314-2792.
Service Station Dealers of America, 9420 Annapolis Rd., Suite 307, Lanham, MD 20706.
United Food and Commercial Workers Union, 1775 K St. NW., Washington, DC 20006-1502.
|Handbook Contents...||UMSL Govt. Docs...||UMSL Libraries...||UMSL Home...|