What is a Retail Cashier?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 11 October 2019
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A place that sells goods is called a retail store and in any of these places there must be a means of taking in money and giving out change. Most of these stores have cash registers and other means of accepting payment. A person operating one of these registers is called a retail cashier.

Sometimes a person is hired at a retail establishment to only be a retail cashier. This would mean the job would consist of helping customers at point of sale, when they want to pay for their merchandise and exit the store. In this position, cashiers would need to know several things.

Basic knowledge a retail cashier must acquire includes knowing how to accept cash and give the appropriate change. Some cash registers list amount of change that needs to be given and others depend on the cashier to count out from the total received. Since there are varied means of payment, the retail cashier will also probably need to know protocol for accepting checks, how to run ATM/credit machines, and how to properly ring up each sale. This last could be a simple matter of using a device attached to the register that records price, or it may mean inputting price of device manually. Each cash register may be different too, and the cashier will need training on operating details of the specific register.


The retail cashier could additionally be responsible for removing cash drawers from registers at set periods. They may have to get more change or take the cash drawer to a manager to be counted. Registers may require closing and opening procedures too, which cashiers will need to know so they can safely leave their station and not leave money exposed.

One thing some cashiers know how to do is to take returns. In certain stores, only employees of a specific level are authorized to do this, which can cut down on a few forms of employee theft. Other stores allow all cashiers to handle a return, as long as instructions are followed. Where this isn’t allowed, either a supervisor must perform the return, usually with a special key in procedure, or observe the return while it is in process.

Many people who have a retail cashier position also work on the floor. This is especially true in places like clothing stores. The person will only cashier when making a sale or if the store becomes suddenly busy. When all employees must perform this task, management needs to train them, and given a larger number of cashiers, more concern about employee theft may arise. Key in procedures are frequently used for returns to reduce certain types of employee access.

While the dual function of salesperson/cashier can be a more entertaining job, it can also be slightly to the disadvantage of the employee. If people have sales quotas to meet and routinely get stuck behind a register, they may fail to meet their quotas, and might be considered disappointing employees by a company. Should this scenario regularly occur, logging cashier hours is a good way to show the company how often a person could not act in a sales capacity, though people presenting this information should do so in a respectful way.


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