Tips for Cashiers: What Retail Cashiers Should Know About the Job

Getting a job as a retail cashier is not too difficult. As long as you have basic knowledge of math, have good observation skills, good communication skills, and enough patience to deal with grumpy customers while having to stand most of the time (depending on where you work), you’re good to go. Although most employers would prefer at least a few months to a year of experience with cash handling, you can find cashier entry-level jobs as long as you have at least a High School Diploma because many companies offer training. This is a perfect job for college students who need extra money, or have extra time on their hands. Although this is not a job you want to be doing for a long time.

If you’re planning to get a part-time job as a retail cashier, be ready. It really isn’t as easy as it looks. Handling money is no joke. If you give the wrong change, or if at the end of the day your drawer lacks a few dollars, it’s taken out of your paycheck. 

Here are some tips to remember if you want to get into being a retail cashier:

1. Be kind and courteous to all your customers. 

Smile and greet each and every one of them, even if they look snobbish and unfriendly. You don’t have to make small-talk, but giving them a genuine smile makes all the difference.

2. Wear comfortable shoes! 

Most cashiers work in booths and usually stand behind the counter, and you wouldn’t want to be taking off your shoes in the middle of the day where customers may see them. Don’t wear slippers or flip-flops. A good pair of sneakers are a better choice.

3. As a retail cashier, you will be doing repetitive work. 

Scan items, receive money (or credit cards/ checks/ gift cards, depending on where you work), count money, give change, bag items, make sure receipts are signed, and the process starts again and again. Be sure you have good manual dexterity, and don’t come to work sleepy or hungry. You do not want to be messing up your transactions.

4. Be sure you know how to identify fake bills. 

This is very important. Many retail cashiers just accept $100 bills and not even check if they are authentic. You have to be sure all the money in your cash register is authentic, or you’ll be in big trouble.

5. When you don’t have any customers on your counter and don’t want it that way, you shouldn’t look away or talk with other retail cashiers. 

If you just stare at the window or do whatever on your counter, customers would feel very hesitant to go to your counter. Keep your eyes on prospective customers and keep a smile on your face.

6. If you work in a supermarket, be sure you pack different types of items in different bags. 

You wouldn’t want customers complaining afterward. Bag meat and poultry together. Put eggs in separate bags and be sure you don’t put heavy items on top of it and other fragile items. Keep toiletries, dry goods, and other things of the same kind in separate bags, away from food items. If you are unsure how to bag items properly, never hesitate to ask your boss.

7. Don’t let customers get to you. 

Many of them could be in a bad mood and scream at you or insult you for whatever reasons. Be sure you stay calm and patient. If they have a problem with prices of the items and argue with you about them, just call your manager. Don’t bother trying to tell them they are wrong or you might make a bigger fuss out of it.

8. Don’t hurry when you count your money, even if there are ten other people waiting in line behind your current customer. 

Always take your time when you count change, and don’t hesitate to recount if you aren’t sure. It’s better to be sure you aren’t going to get short when your shift ends than be fast and have as many customers as you can.

9. Avoid talking to other retail cashiers or coworkers when you have a customer unless you have to ask an important question. 

Some customers find it rude, and although some don’t mind, you should make all your customers feel they are special and not ignored.

Don’t feel bad if you’re just a cashier. Keep in mind all managers and other sales associates have to be trained at the register, so this could be a stepping stone to a position of greater responsibility. Good luck!

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