15 Pros and Cons of Being a Cashier

Cashier

Cashier positions give many teens their earliest paid work experience, other than babysitting, lawn mowing, or leaf-raking.

In contrast, casino cashiers must be 21 or older to work the change booth or any casino floor position in most states.

Whether you work in a concession stand, ticket booth, grocery store, or the change booth at a casino, cashiers provide the last impression customers receive before they leave your business.

Job Description

Cashiers handle money, make the change, take payments, reconcile tills at the beginning and end of their shift, and provide customers with receipts or other proofs of purchase.

Most also ring up purchases, pack them into bags or boxes, and assist with taking everything to the customer’s vehicle.

Some may also dispense money orders, sell and activate gift cards, convince patrons to apply for store credit cards, and even sell stamps from their registers.

Education Requirements

Cashiers need decent math skills, but nothing requiring the use of formulas.

Students learn most of the necessary math skills — skip counting, addition, subtraction, and coin recognition — no later than the end of second grade.

Contrarily, however, the job does require training on how to operate the cash register, take credit and debit card payments, and handle WIC coupons.

Cashiers also need training on the various point-of-sale technologies such as Square, Apple Pay, QR code readers, bar code readers, and product scanners.

Additional training in packing items to prevent breakage may take a day.

Experience Requirements and Salary Expectations

Except for casinos or businesses that handle large amounts of money, most cashier positions do not require previous experience.

Festivals and fairs, ticket booths, and concession stands accept cashiers as young as 14, but these teens can only work eight hours on non-school days or three hours when school is in session.

Breakdown of the Largest Categories of Cashier Employers

The grocery and beverage industry employs 843,270 of the 3,318,020 cashiers in the U. S., while 611,070 work in gas stations and 579,070 work in general merchandising.

In addition, restaurants and other eateries engage the services of 353,800 cashiers, while another 199,650 work in health and personal care.

The 17,150 Gambling Change Persons and Booth Cashiers fit into a separate Bureau of Labor Statistics category. 

Salary Ranges

At a $14 per hour average, Casino Gambling Change Persons and Booth Cashiers make the most money, followed by workers at health and personal care stores at $13.72 per hour.

The worst-paid cashiers work in restaurants where, even with tips, the average wage stands at $11.82 per hour.

Consequently, full-time cashier wages leave a family of four in most cities living well below the federal poverty level of $27,750.

Pros of Being a Cashier

1. No Education or Licensing Requirements

Besides the basic math skills taught in elementary school, landing a cashier job requires a few hours to a few weeks of training to use the various point-of-sale systems, learn how to protect customer credit information, and familiarize yourself with policies and procedures.

Some states require restaurant workers to obtain a food handler’s card. 

Typically, this requires a test and a nominal fee.

2. Obtain On-the-job Experience as a Teen, as Young as 14.

By the time they reach the age of 18, teens can gain as many as four years of experience as cashiers.

This experience qualifies these workers for management positions.

For example, McDonald’s, Burger King, and Subway, among others, will move workers into management in as few as six months on the job.

3. No Need for Student Loans

You cannot underestimate the financial boost of not being weighed down by student loan debt.

Instead of working long hours to pay off debt, your income can go directly toward buying a home, investing in a business, or both.

4. Most Cashier Positions Do Not Require Experience

Instead, cashiers learn on the job, and their training comes from fellow employees rather than in onboarding programs led exclusively by management.

Cracker Barrel, for example, has a zero to four-star training system in place. 

5. Employee Discounts

Most employers provide a 10 to 20-percent discount on all purchases made by employees.

Some employers also offer friends and family discounts on specific days each year.

For example, Big Lots usually offers a 20-percent discount to friends and family four times a year in January, April, July, and October.

6. Rapid, Early Advancement

Cashiers become eligible for management positions as young as 18.

With the recent health-related shutdowns, some companies have promoted workers as young as 16 to shift leaders or crew trainers.

7. Variety

Cashiers work mostly indoors but may work outside in garden centers, fireworks sale tents, Christmas tree booths, beach and park concession stands, food trucks, and festivals.

The more willing you are to work in the tent sales and seasonal departments, the more enjoyable your job will feel.

Cons of Being a Cashier

1. Low Job Security

Because they require little education and training, employers treat cashiers as highly replaceable.

Active listeners who use suggestive selling and empathy hold more value to employers than impulsive employees with low emotional intelligence skills.

2. Poverty-Level Wages

With a mean annual salary of $1000 below the federal poverty level for a family of four, working as a cashier demands holding a second job even though cashier schedules typically make it nearly impossible. 

3. Irregular Schedules

Many employers schedule the minimum number of hours for as few employees as possible to cover each shift.

Some businesses expect their cashiers to remain on call, leaving them unable to commit to another job so that they can afford food, housing, and transportation costs.

4. Self-Checkouts and Other Automated Technology

The rise in self-checkouts and online shopping has cut into the number of available cashier positions.

In fact, the job outlook through 2030 will result in at least a 10-percent decline in the field.

The practice of showrooming, or coming into retail businesses after shopping online to try on clothing or preview household goods and furniture, has helped maintain the need for cashiers for the moment.

5. Boredom

Many cashiers spend a lot of time standing, waiting for customers.

Performing the same tasks repeatedly, asking the same questions of each customer, and having few breaks, if any, makes the day drag along.

Seeking new ways to occupy yourself without losing focus can become a challenge.

Companies that require cashiers to stock shelves when not busy help stave off boredom, but the extra lifting can tire you faster.

6. No Remote Work

Cashier positions require direct customer contact.

During the pandemic, when other workers could continue their work from home, cashiers had to continue working face to face, putting them at risk of catching communicable diseases.

In addition, cashiers faced harassment and abuse at the hands of customers who chose to act badly.

7. Low Social Standing

Due to their youth and inexperience and partly due to their lack of higher education and licensing requirements, cashiers do not command respect.

Couple the lack of social standing with low pay and high stress, and many cashiers change careers after just a few years, leading to high turnover rates.

8. Workplace Violence and Crime

Homicides while on the job result in one of the most unfortunate statistics.

More food service, bar and restaurant workers get killed on the job than in law enforcement, justice, and public order positions.

Although 43 percent of workplace homicides were committed by strangers, almost 26 percent were coworkers and more than nine percent were spouses or relatives of their victims. 

Legal Considerations of Working as a Cashier

All cashiers must adhere to the Payment Card Industry’s data security standards.

These include not storing any cardholder data, not writing down card numbers or repeating them out loud, continuously checking card readers for tampering, and visually inspecting the signature and CVV on cards before allowing a credit or debit card transaction to occur in your establishment.

Your company may be subject to fines for failure to protect customer data. 

Moreover, you and your employer may even face jail time for data breaches, fraudulent transactions, and unauthorized charges.

The various card companies in the Payment Card industry impose fines.

Visa, for example, charges noncompliant businesses up to $500,000 per incident for failure to protect customers from fraud.

Pros and Cons of Being a Cashier – Summary Table

Pros of Being a CashierCons of Being a Cashier
1. No Education or Licensing Requirements1. Low Job Security
2. Obtain On-the-job Experience as a Teen, as Young as 14.2. Poverty-Level Wages
3. No Need for Student Loans3. Irregular Schedules
4. Most Cashier Positions Do Not Require Experience4. Self-Checkouts and Other Automated Technology
5. Employee Discounts5. Boredom
6. Rapid, Early Advancement6. No Remote Work
7. Variety7. Low Social Standing
8. Workplace Violence and Crime

Should You Become a Cashier?

If you enjoy working face to face with the public, have excellent math skills, and have a second income stream, working as a cashier may provide you with a decent living.

However, if you are the only wage earner in your family, you will need some form of public assistance to afford food, housing, medication, and transportation.

Cashiers in casinos receive the best pay and work under the safest conditions.

Casino security monitors the floor constantly and does not permit guests to threaten casino staff if they wish to continue to enjoy the amenities.

Sources

Jamie Willis