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General Cashier Duties and Responsibilities

General cashiers work in many industries, so their responsibilities can vary widely. However, nearly all cashiers share these common duties:

Provide Assistance to Customers In addition to greeting customers, general cashiers use their knowledge of the businesses' inventory and services to make recommendations and help customers find merchandise that fits both their budget and their needs. Cashiers also offer to help customers carry out their items once their transaction is complete.

Complete Sales and Returns Once customers are ready to check out, cashiers tally up the total cost of goods and services using calculators, cash registers, or optical price scanners. They take payment and give change if appropriate. If customers need to return items, cashiers follow company policy to process and record returns and exchanges.

Answer Phones Cashiers manage incoming phone calls, answering customer questions, forwarding calls to the right departments, and taking detailed messages when necessary.

Record Transactions At the beginning of their shifts, cashiers count the money in their cash drawer to ensure they have enough change to record what they started with. They enter each transaction into the payment system so that it is recorded accurately. At the end of each shift, they reconcile total payments with total sales to balance their cash drawers.

Maintain a Clean Work Station It's the cashier's job to keep checkout areas neat and well stocked. This can involve sorting, counting, and wrapping currency and coins to keep cash drawers balanced. They also straighten and arrange merchandise and perform other cleaning duties, such as sweeping, mopping, and emptying trash.


General Cashier Skills and Qualifications

General cashiers should enjoy working with people since dealing with customers is the core responsibility of their job. This is an entry-level position with few educational requirements. Employers often accept applicants with no experience as long as they are willing and quick to learn. The qualities employers look for in cashiers include:
  • Physical strength and stamina -general cashiers spend most of the day standing, and many employers require cashiers who can lift and move objects weighing up to 25 pounds or more
  • Math skills - even when cashiers have access to POS (point of sale) systems that perform automatic calculations, these systems sometimes fail. It's essential general cashiers be able to do basic arithmetic to calculate discounts and totals
  • Attention to detail - since cashiers perform repetitive tasks in fast-paced environments, they must be able to do so with great focus and accuracy
  • Communication skills - cashiers are often the face of a business, so it's important they're good communicators who can maintain a positive attitude even through uncomfortable interactions
  • Time management - cashiers are proactive about making the most of downtime and maximizing their productivity and efficiency

General Cashier Education and Training

Very little previous experience is required to become a cashier. Most cashiers receive training on the job from a more senior employee or manager. Generally, there are no educational prerequisites for becoming a cashier, though some positions require a high school diploma or GED. Most cashiers take anywhere from a few days to a few months to fully master their roles.

General Cashier Salary and Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), median hourly pay for cashiers is $9.70, and salaried cashiers make a median yearly income of $20,180. The lowest-paid cashiers earn less than $8.24 hourly, while those in the 90th percentile earn more than $13.83 an hour. Many beginning cashiers start by earning minimum wage (the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour as of July 24, 2009, but some state minimum wages are higher). Many cashiers work part-time hours during evenings and on weekends. Employers frequently require cashiers to work holidays and may restrict time off requests from November through early January, as the holiday season is usually retail's busiest period. Through 2026, employment for general cashiers is projected to shrink by 1 percent. The BLS predicts little growth in this sector due to advances in technology, such as self-service checkout stands and online retail.

Helpful Resources

If you're looking for more information on how to enter this field or perfect your skills as a general cashier, here are a few resources to check out:

National Customer Service Association - the NCSA's programming includes training programs for employees who serve customers, including general cashiers. It also publishes a magazine entirely devoted to excellence in customer service

The Customer Rules: The 39 Essential Rules for Delivering Sensational Service - Disney is renowned for its approach to customer service, and this book by former Walt Disney World Executive Vice President of Operations Lee Cockerell shares insight from an industry leader

Customer Service Professionals - this informal networking group on LinkedIn is a good source of advice or support for customer service professionals

Perfect Phrases for Customer Service - learn hundreds of ready-made phrases and other language for handling complaints, defusing intense situations, satisfying customers, and increasing sales

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