Retail Store Clerks and Cashiers
When the common person thinks of retail jobs, what usually comes to mind is working as a store clerk or cashier. These sales jobs are fairly common, easy to get no matter what your age or experience level and relatively simple to do. The pay is pretty low in most cases, but working as a retail sales clerk or cashier is a good way to start off a career in the industry. If nothing else, the world of retail rewards hard workers with promotions as deserved.
In some retail environments, sales clerks serve as cashiers and vice versa. Other times, the jobs are strictly defined separately. In any case, the focus is the same – be as pleasant as possible to the customer so that he or she makes a purchase and returns again for future purposes.
As far as scheduling goes, clerks and cashiers rarely work a typical 40-hour workweek, at least not during 9-to-5 hours. Shifts instead start when the store opens and may run four to ten hours, it just depends on the store’s needs. Your schedule may, in fact, change every week. You’ll also be given the chance to work overtime during certain times of the year when your store is running sales or when shopping is especially popular (such as around the holidays). JobMonkey Editor’s Note – With a little experience under your belt it may be possible to find cruise ship employment. Cruise ships and concessionaires that staff many cruise line gift shops have a need for retail shop workers.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are several million retail positions in the USA. That means that your chances of finding a job in your community are fairly good! Even if you don’t have a degree (or even a high school diploma yet), you can get a job as a store clerk or cashier.
As a store clerk, your main responsibility will be in helping customers make choices and find products. The level of knowledge you need depends greatly on what you’re selling. For example, if you’re selling computers, it is important to understand how to answer questions for customers who may not know as much about technology. They’ll rely on your expertise and recommendations. However, if you’re selling clothing, you’ll need to know less about the product itself and more about store policies, like if you accept returns.
Store clerks may also help to “clean up.” As customers browse through items, they often change their minds, leaving random products scattered throughout the store. It is your responsibility to keep the store neat and attractive to customers. This may include doing some merchandising if your store does not employ a merchandiser to create displays.
As a cashier, on the other hand, you’re involved less with convincing the customer to purchase a product and more involved with simply making sure that he or she pays correctly. Cashiers ring up and bag items, as well as help customers who are returning or exchanging items.
Working in sales, you won’t become a millionaire. The average clerk makes around $10.00 per hour. It takes a thick skin to work in retail sales, so be prepared for that. You’ll meet a lot of customers who are unhappy and want to take it out on you. The good news is that an entry-level position can lead to supervising positions and beyond.