THE JOB CASHIERS handle cash and credit payments, make change, give receipts, account for all payments, and perform related clerical duties in many kinds of businesses. CASHIER-WRAPPERS operate cash registers to compute and record sales and wrap merchandise for customers. A Cashier's job duties and title depend upon the employer's type of business and the Cashier's work station. Office Cashiers usually work in department stores, specialty shops, hotels, mortgage and loan companies, hospitals, insurance companies, and government agencies that collect fees or make payments. This job requires more clerical skill and more knowledge of business procedures than the other Cashier occupations. Office Cashiers take cash, checks and other forms of payment from customers, meet the public and explain charges or billing policies, and answer routine questions and complaints. In a hotel or hospital, additional duties are: posting charges against guests' or patients' accounts, taking payments at check-out time, and preparing insurance forms. In government agencies, office Cashiers receive and account for money from the public in payment of bills for services, taxes, deposits, and licenses. A restaurant Cashier, who may also be a Cashier-Hostess, takes the food check from the customer or waiter/waitress, double-checks the figures, rings up the amount on the cash register, and makes change. In some restaurants, the Cashier welcomes the customers, seats them at tables or in a lounge, gives them their menus, and makes sure they get fast service. Cashier-Wrappers work in a booth or behind a counter in department stores, variety stores, or specialty stores. They take payments; they enter the amount of the sale on the cash register; they make change, and they bag what the customer bought. They inspect the sales items; they match sales slips with the prices on the merchandise and get credit authorization on charges. These workers may gift wrap merchandise and prepare packages for shipment. Many grocery and super stores (combined food, drug, and hardware) have computer systems that make checkout easier. Information on products is stored in the computer memory and called up by entering a special code. Most packaged merchandise has a standard Universal Product Code (UPC) printed on the label. Cashiers slide the package over a scanner in the counter (or use a hand-held scanner), and the price, the tax, and other information is registered automatically. For fruit and vegetables and other things not marked with a UPC, Cashiers enter the product's code number with the computer keyboard. WORKING CONDITIONS Because most of the business owners that Cashiers work for want their customers to be comfortable and happy, their work places are usually well lighted, cooled and heated. Cashiers and Cashier-Wrappers work around other employees all the time and deal with the public directly. Cashiers have to be alert and courteous all the time. They have to be on their feet all day, and they often have to bend, stoop, reach for and sometimes lift things. In some stores, they may be required to wear smocks or uniforms provided by the employer. In many areas, Cashiers and Cashier-Wrappers may belong to union locals of the Retail Clerks International Association, AFL-CIO. Cashiers in some restaurants and bars or hotels may be members of the Culinary and Hotel Services Employees Union. EMPLOYMENT OUTLOOK The California Projections of Employment, published by the Labor Market Information Division of the Employment Development Department, estimates that the number of Cashiers in California will reach 308,180 by 2005, an increase in new jobs of 75,030 over the number there were in 1993. There will also be an estimated 123,710 job openings due to people retiring or leaving the occupation. Added to the 75,030 new jobs expected, this makes for an estimated total of 198,740 job opportunities through 2005. (These figures do not include self-employment nor openings due to turnover.) This occupation will rank fifth among all occupations in terms of actual new growth through 2005. WAGES, HOURS, AND FRINGE BENEFITS There can be big differences in wages, depending upon amount of experience, job duties, and skills required; type and location of the business; and union membership. For inexperienced Cashiers, the salary ranges from minimum wage to $8.25 per hour. Experienced Cashiers earn from minimum wage to $15.50 per hour, and journey-level workers earn in the range of the minimum wage to $17.00 or higher per hour. Benefits available to many Cashiers and Cashier-Wrappers include paid holidays, vacation, life and health insurance, sick leave, and pension plans. Many places employing Cashiers and Cashier-Wrappers are often open late, seven days a week. However, Cashiers in these places usually only work 40 hours per week. Stores handle this in several ways. Some use an early and late shift of full-time employees, while others use one full-time shift and one of part-time employees to work evenings and weekends. A third method is to use a rotating shift and give employees compensating time off during the middle of the week for weekend and holiday work. Office Cashiers usually work a five-day, 40-hour week. ENTRANCE REQUIREMENTS AND TRAINING People in these jobs represent their employers when dealing with the public. Because of this, poise, alertness, and tact along with a neat, well-groomed appearance, and a nice personality are essential. Good communication skills, accurate arithmetic, and honesty are also a must. Most employers do not require job applicants to have Cashier or sales experience, but after school, summer or other temporary selling or public contact work is considered valuable because it shows a certain level of confidence and responsibility. Some employers want job applicants who have experience with computer scanning cash registers. When hiring an Office Cashier, employers look for an applicant with a general background of clerical skills, knowledge of bookkeeping basics, and the ability to operate office machines. Most employers have on-the-job training programs in which Cashiers and Cashier- Wrappers learn all about their work. The best way to prepare for these programs is to graduate from high school with classes in arithmetic, public speaking, and English. Applicants also need easy-to-read handwriting. Those who want to be Cashiers should also take courses in typing, office machines, and bookkeeping. Grocery Cashiers usually start as courtesy clerks or clerk's helpers who bag, clean-up and stock shelves. When Cashier openings occur, courtesy clerks/clerk's helpers are given first consideration. ADVANCEMENT Since this job is found in a lot of industries, there are many kinds of promotional opportunities. A Cashier in private industry may promote to senior Cashier, office Cashier, or supervisor. Sometimes an experienced Cashier with more education can become a bookkeeping or credit clerk. In State government, promotion may be from Cashier Clerk through several levels to supervising Cashier Clerk II. In most grocery chains, opportunities for promotion are good. Cashiers interested in working toward full-time careers may be able to advance to department head clerk and eventually to store manager. FINDING THE JOB People interested in getting work as Cashiers and Cashier-Wrappers should contact employers directly, or they can file an application with the California Employment Development Department, Job Service Program. They should also contact the local unions and read the newspaper ads. RELATED OCCUPATIONAL GUIDES Receptionists and Information Clerks No. 21 Tellers No. 109 Counter and Rental Clerks No. 511 Retail Salespersons No. 536 OCCUPATIONAL CODE REFERENCES DOT (Dictionary of Occupational Titles, 4th ed., Rev. 1) Cashier I 211.362-010 Cashier II 211.462-010 Cashier-Checker 211.462-014 Cashier-Wrapper 211.462-018 OES (Occupational Employment Statistics) System Cashiers 490230 Source: State of California, Employment Development Department, Labor Market Information Division, Information Services Group, (916) 262-2162.