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What are the Main Cashier Duties?

By D. Jeffress
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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The main cashier duties in most markets and retail stores involve pretty much everything about the final point of sale, including scanning a customer's items, collecting payment, making change, and printing receipts. This person may also be responsible for bagging or packaging purchases and handling a range of customer service-oriented requests. Processing returns and handling complaints are usually near the top of the list, but making price adjustments and routing special requests to the appropriate managers may also be part of the job.

Collecting Payment

Depending on the setting and the types of items being purchased, cashier duties can include scanning bar codes found on the items or manually entering prices into the register system. Most cashiers spend the majority of their time working cash registers or tills. Modern registers are usually capable of automatically computing the total cost of items and applying the appropriate sales tax, but being able to figure this out in case of power loss or technical failure is important. The cashier is also usually responsible for subtracting discounts from sales specials or coupons and informing the customer of the total.

A lot depends on the individual store and its policies, but in many places sales can happen via cash, credit cards, debit cards, or checks. The cashier needs to be able to process and account for transactions that happen in all of these mediums, and must be able to accurately document the sale, whether in the register or in a separate sales ledger. He or she generally makes change when necessary and gives the customer a receipt documenting the purchase.

Packaging Purchases

Particularly in small shops, the person running the cash register is typically responsible for all aspects of the sale, including bagging and packaging goods. Sometimes this is as simple as placing a single item in a paper or plastic bag, but it can be more complex, particularly where breakable or perishable things are concerned. Grocery and supermarket checkers, for instance, frequently receive training on how to efficiently pack a grocery bag so that heavy items are on the bottom, delicate items like eggs and bread stay near the top, and weight is more or less evenly distributed. Large stores often employ separate baggers to do this work, but not always, Even if he or she isn’t required to do it regularly, a cashier usually understands the logistics of packaging before beginning work.

Counting and Handling Cash

A cashier is usually required to count his or her cash drawer before and after a shift to make sure that it contains the right amount of money when compared with daily sales records. Some cashiers perform hundreds of transactions in a single day, and all money must be accounted for at the end of the shift. The last person on duty is often responsible for “closing out” the register when the shop closes, a process that involves counting the cash and checks, making a note of the totals in the official ledger or accounting system, and depositing the day’s earnings in the bank. Most organizations elect only very well trusted employees to this position.

Customer Service

Providing expert customer service is also an essential part of the job in most places. Employees in customer-facing roles usually need to be knowledgeable about company policies and the different types of products or services offered, and this is particularly true at the point of sale. Stores often depend on cashiers to provide shoppers with helpful, accurate information. Common duties in this category include answering questions about different items, directing people to certain areas of a store, and providing refunds for unwanted purchases or defective merchandise.

Pushing Promotions and Providing Information

Another important duty concerns providing information about store-specific discounts, deals, and incentives. In many stores cashiers are required to ask customers if they’d like to open a store-sponsored credit account, for instance, or whether they wish to become members of certain brand loyalty programs. They usually need to be able to inform shoppers about promotions or special deals linked to particular products, and typically also need to be up to speed when it comes to current coupons and Internet deals.

Advancement Potential

Experienced, productive workers are often rewarded with additional duties and possibilities to advance within a company. A cashier who has several years of experience and consistently performs well may have the opportunity to become a supervisor, for instance; supervisors are in charge of all workers during a given shift, and generally have a lot of managerial duties. They may also relieve cashiers when they go on breaks and help them count drawers before and after shifts. Many supervisors are given administrative duties such as ordering new products, setting prices, and making hiring decisions.

Essential Skills and Training

Cashiers are typically considered to be “entry-level” workers, which means that no specialized skills are required in most cases. Just the same, most employers want candidates to have a high school diploma or equivalent, and some experience handling or being responsible for cash is also important. Applicants with criminal records or histories of financial trouble aren’t always well regarded, but a lot of this depends on the specific store or employer at issue. In most cases, a general sense of trustworthiness, a knack for interacting with people, and a desire to learn are the main requirements.

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Discussion Comments
By anon359604 — On Dec 19, 2013

I have a shop with two cashiers working simultaneously on shift. My challenge is that, for example; there are 100 toilet rolls in a shop, and at the end of their shift we find that only 46 were sold on both POS terminals but only 51 remain. How can I see what happened to the missing three? I can make them pay for them on a 50/50 but it is unfair for one of them. Please help.

By clintflint — On Dec 16, 2012

@Mor - The problem is that there are always so many applications for a job, if you want something to stand out you have to put it there. Don't put ridiculous job titles like "cash handling specialist" because they will see right through that.

If, however, you were basically working as a librarian then by all means use that as your title. As long as it matches your actual duties no one will check.

By Mor — On Dec 16, 2012

@indigomoth - I kind of hope that most employers who know what they're doing will see through job titles and look at what the person did in each place. I mean, to me even being a cashier in a convenience store is quite impressive, depending on how you handled it.

That's an incredible boring and yet challenging job. Dealing with a wide range of the public. You need to know how to handle yourself. Not to mention you're often working solo, so you demonstrate responsibility.

If you list your cashier duties on your resume, it can only come out as looking good for you, presuming that you did well in that job of course!

By indigomoth — On Dec 15, 2012

I was always a bit cautious about putting "cashier" on my resume. Because, it doesn't sound very professional, or like I've moved up in the world, even though I went from being a cashier in a convenience store to being a cashier in a government library.

In the library I had a lot of duties associated with being a librarian, like restocking shelves and interacting with people, but only the people with degrees were supposed to be called librarians. So, while my job title was officially "cashier" sometimes I would call myself "assistant librarian" as well.

By suntan12 — On Nov 09, 2010

Crispety-A cashier resume is usually not necessary, but most store managers want to know how much cash handling experience the cashier has.

Sometimes a store may run a credit check on the potential cashier in order to consider a candidate for the job.

Restaurant cashier duties usually have to process customer transactions with credit cards and cash. They have to be extremely accurate with their transactions and can be terminated if they make a mistake and their till does not balance.

They also have to greet the customer and offer a friendly parting greeting. Cashiers are graded on all of these aspects of their interaction, so it is essential that they follow through.

They also have to have a good working knowledge of the store’s policies in case a customer was to ask.

By Crispety — On Nov 09, 2010

GreenWeaver-I know that a cashier job description also has to include offering friendly customer service.

Descriptions of cashier duties include offering a friendly greeting by maintaining eye contact and positive facial expressions.

In addition, offering a friendly tone of voice and a pleasant demeanor are necessary for the customer to feel comfortable with the transaction.

The cashier is generally the last employee that a customer comes in contact with so the exchange between the cashier and the customer is crucial.

In order to check up on the cashiers and ensuring that the cashier job duties are followed correctly, many stores are a part of a mystery shopping program.

Often mystery shoppers are dispatched at random in order to interact as a typical customer. These mystery shoppers then report their findings in a report that is then shared with the management of the store. The stores then have a meeting in order to discuss the findings of these reports and discuss the successes as well as the areas with the most opportunities.

By GreenWeaver — On Nov 09, 2010

SauteePan-I just wanted to say that Pet Supermarket offers a free bag of dog food after the 10th bag is purchased. This is known as the V. I. P. card and the job duties for cashiers at Pet Supermarket require that they ask customers for this card.

If the customer does not have one of these cards they are required to explain the program and sign the customer up.

Sometimes cashiers are required to ask for the customer’s demographic information such as their address, email, phone number, and zip code. This gives the store an idea of what part of town their customers are coming from.

There is usually a prompt at the register in which the cashier has to follow in order to get this information.

Usually customers are offered coupons and promotional information in the mail in exchange for the information.

By SauteePan — On Nov 09, 2010

The cashier job duties involve ringing up customers and processing their transactions. In addition, a good cashier is very accurate with all cash handling aspects of the job.

A retail cashier duties include asking customers if they found everything they needed and asking if they would like to purchase additional impulse items.

Sometimes a cashier may be required to mention a reward or frequent buyer program to the customer. Staples offers its Staples Rewards card that rewards customers by offering 10% back on all purchases of ink and toner and paper.

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