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What are the Duties of a Supermarket Cashier?

The largest and most important responsibility of the cashier is letting the customer leave on a good note - whatever bad experience happened in the store, should be addressed by the cashier. If the customer's complaint can't be solved quickly, the cashier can always pass it on to the manager where it can be solved.

You would be surprised to learn just how many other tasks businesses hand their cashiers and expect them to take care of both the tasks and their customers alike. Not too many people can do the job of a cashier. Most of the time, you are multi-tasking with a list of things to get done for the day, coupled with having to know what the specials are, and how to fix any problem that exists at the registers.

It's a tough gig to do day in and day out, this hub will cover the following topics:

  • Supermarket Cashier
  • Cashier Job Duties
  • Workplace Safety Tips
  • How to Handle Upset Customers
  • How to Survive as a Cashier

Supermarket Cashier

The supermarket cashier is a very vital part of the retail industry. If the cashier is personable, the business will do well because people like to shop where they are known and where the workers are friendly. If a cashier uses the customer's name and remembers them, they will more than likely continue to do all their shopping there.

As a supermarket cashier, the job may differ slightly because of the type of products that they carry. Supermarket, lumber, delis and similar others have products that the cashier needs to know about in order for the cashier to charge them correctly. For Supermarket cashiers, they need to know the different types of produce because not all items have numbers or scan bars.

Supermarket cashiers also must deal with the different sales, coupon queens/kings, and alcohol and tobacco sales. This becomes very important and depending on the laws in your state, you could lose your job should you not properly check IDs for purchasers that look younger than 21. You can also lose your job, be fined, and receive jail time if you either sell alcohol and tobacco to a minor, or sell alcohol to someone that appears to already be intoxicated.

Cashiers work in many diferent types of environments.

Cashiers work in many diferent types of environments.

Cashier Job Duties

For the smaller supermarkets, cashiers have the responsibilities to close out their tills - or balance out their drawers. If they incur shortages or overages it usually results in reprimands unless the money discrepancies are over a certain limit, or happens often.

Larger supermarket chains will have bookkeepers that will keep the moneys in order, but you still need to be aware of your money handling skills. For most cashier positions, you won't have to fuss with giving out coins, most are now automated. You will still have to answer phones, speak with different departments for needed info, and communicate with other cashiers and baggers at the front end.

For a lot of the larger supermarkets, they have a secret shopper program to find out how the store is doing as far as customer service is concerned. All employees and cashiers especially are expected to have a service rating that is measured by the shops that you receive, and the service that you provide the secret shopper. For each secret shopper that you help, you will receive a score, if you have met the criteria of the shop, you will score a 100%. Registers can report how fast you are averaging, and these averages need to be kept up also.

For most grocery market chain stores, most of the cashiers have cameras on them, and a team of security that randomly look for any hanky-panky. With cameras, everyone knows that they are there, they just forget about it, or they don't even care about it. Cameras can be helpful devices too if identifying theft, aiding in roberies and keeping honest people honest.

Another day in the life as a cashier...

Another day in the life as a cashier...

Workplace Safety Tips

Being a cashier is a tough and demanding job that is not for everyone. There are a few injuries that occur and re-occur to cashiers, here is a small sample of the most common injuries:

Carpal Tunnel Injuries
Carpal Tunnel injuries occur because the cashier normally uses there hands - especially one of them, to ring up the groceries on a keyboard. The hand is held in a certain way that puts pressure on the wrist joint, and all of a sudden, the pain gets worse and worse.
Quick fix for Carpal is stretching your hands between customers, and doing exercises to keep your joints strong.

Back Injuries
Back injuries occur first after standing in the same place for long periods of time, and then from carrying customer's full bags of groceries, cases of water, and cat litter, you can imagine how this can easily happen.
Quick fix to prevent back injuries is to try to strengthen your core muscles, stand with your feet shoulder width apart, bend at the knees if you have to pick up or let down, and never twist your torso.

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And last but perhaps most important, you will come into contact with hundreds of people a day, always, always, always wash your hands. If you have hand purifiers at the register use them. Also, chicken, beef, and other raw meats pass over your register and conveyor belts, spray and wipe your belts down often so they won't spread germs to other foods and other people.

More than 10 items in the 10 or less items line?

How to Handle Upset Customers

This is always an issue when it comes to cashiers taking the brunt of customers that are upset. You have to remember, that it starts off having nothing to do with you - it may turn out that way depending on the way you handle it.

In my many years of retail/grocery experience as a manager, you as a cashier should never have to be the brunt of a customer's wrath. As soon as you see the situation getting ugly, say these words; "I'm sorry you're not finding things to your satisfaction today, let me get someone who can help while I finish checking and bagging your items for you." Say this with a tone of concern and a smile of confidence on your face.

Either the customer will decline the help, or they will accept it. Either way, you give the customer an outlet away from you, and you keep everyone in your line happy because the line is still moving.

Remember though, you shouldn't be passing every little complaint up to management, always try to handle the complaint if it's something that you know you can handle. Sometimes it's just a customer letting off steam from a bad day, as long as you keep your understanding tone, and your smiling confident face that promises a better day ahead, the customer will harmlessly fade away.

Just remember, you're not being paid to handle complaints from people that are hopping mad, or attack you personally. If someone is upset to the point of yelling and swearing at you, stop what you're doing, call the manager to the station and walk away. Tell the manager that the person is yelling and swearing at you, and that you're not going to help him/her.

Keep your cool, don't do anything to escalate the complaint further, and hopefully your manager is trained enough to handle the situation.

Be the Best at what You do!

How to Survive as a Cashier

The most important thing to have as a cashier, is a sheer willingness to help people, and a good sense of humor. If you like helping people, or you understand what service is all about you're in the right position. If you have a sense of humor, it's an added bonus, and you won't take yourself too seriously.

It really helps to have thick skin. What I mean is, that you can't feel hurt by every bad encounter from customers. I encounter customers that are not having a good day on a daily basis. I can turn the situation around, but it's because I know most of my clientele by name - once you know your customers, use their name. Once you develop a relationship with your customers - even though your encounters last no more than a few minutes - they tend not to be so hard on you.

Not everyone can handle this job, you face people that are demanding, and expect a level of service that you won't know until you get to know them. There are some people that absolutely cannot do this job, but fear shouldn't be a reason why you can't handle cashiering. I used to sweat profusely whenever I had to check - simply because I didn't know what I was doing at the register. It wasn't that I hated checking, it was that I would sweat and people would see me sweat - the more I felt that they could see me sweat, the more I sweat. I finally faced my fear by keeping at it, and I am glad that I stuck to it because I can continue to do what I enjoy doing - help people.

Quiz Your Cashier IQ

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. Once you find out what it is, you should always use this:
    • The phone system to announce your arrival and departures.
    • Your customer's name - formal first, informal if they insist.
  2. What should you do immediately when a customer is extremely upset?
    • Keep smiling and nod your head.
    • Stop everything, and get your manager involved.
  3. Should you be concerned about a teenager buying alcohol?
    • Yes, know what the expectations are when it comes to "carding" for alcohol purchases.
    • No, not if they have a note from their parents - and it's signed.

Answer Key

  1. Your customer's name - formal first, informal if they insist.
  2. Stop everything, and get your manager involved.
  3. Yes, know what the expectations are when it comes to "carding" for alcohol purchases.


Kawika Chann (author) from Northwest, Hawaii, Anykine place on September 12, 2017:


Daniel Happiness on September 11, 2017:


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