Job as a checkout operator

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Pauline Thomas works as a checkout operator at a busy store. She sees more than 200 customers and their goods through her station each day as well as providing help to customers looking for specific products on the shelves.

How would you outline your role as a checkout operator?

I am responsible for managing a checkout point so that customers can pay for and purchase the items they want. As well as making sure that I charge the correct amount for items and receive the right payments, I also provide customer care and help to people visiting the store.

What are your main tasks at work each day?

My key activity is operating an electronic cash till and taking payments, so that customers can buy items. As well as working with touch screen tills, I also operate a scanner to electronically read the prices of products. My job also involves using other equipment to take credit card and debit payments. I have to be able to use all this equipment quickly and efficiently whilst the customer is waiting.

Do you work in other areas of the store?

Yes. In quiet periods, I also help out with stock filling. This involves refilling the shelves with products as they become empty. I also help customers with any enquiries they have, for example if they are looking for a particular part of the store or have questions about our special offers.

What are your hours like?

Most operators work about 36 to 37 hours a week and can vary their start and finishing times and what days of the week they work. The store stays open late one evening a week and, of course, is open on Saturdays as well.

What type of training have you had?

As well as the training on how to use the store tills when I first started, there is regular training and support on the job. We have updates on new transactions such as the introduction of Chip and Pin, the latest loyalty card offers and updates on the special offers we are running.

What do you enjoy most about your checkout job?

I really like the fact that I get to interact with so many different types of people. I enjoy getting to know the customers that shop in the store on a regular basis. It's good to work as part of a team and have such a positive team spirit around the whole time.

What skills do you need to become a checkout operator

You need to have a positive, happy outlook. It's also important to have good communication skills and a lot of patience!

How would you like your career to develop in the future?

I would like to gain experience in different areas of the store, for example, as a specialist consultant on the beauty counter. After that I would like to move to a supervisory role in which I'd be responsible for all areas of the store.

Pauline's route to her checkout job

  • GCSEs.
  • Foundation course in Health and Social Care.
  • Experience as a retail sales assistant.

Pauline's tips

  • If you can, try and get a job in a bigger company which can provide training and the opportunity to progress.
  • This type of role is great for people who enjoy working as part of a team and helping people.

Checkout operator related jobs

  • Customer services assistant/manager
  • Forecourt assistant
  • Sales assistant

Salary of a checkout operator

  • Salary levels vary according to employer and location.
  • Starting salaries begin at around £9,500.
  • With experience it is possible to earn around £11,000.
  • At supervisory level you could earn up to £15,000.

Becoming a checkout operator

  • No formal qualifications are required for this job, though a good level of numeracy and literacy is helpful.
  • The ability to operate an electronic or manual cash till is essential.
  • It is also important to be able to work accurately when keying in information for credit cards or product discounts.
  • Employers usually provide training whilst working, often with the support of a more experienced colleague. Training will cover areas such as how to work with the till, taking cash, debit and credit card payments and customer service.
  • Other relevant qualifications include NVQ/SVQ Retail Operations at Levels 2 to 3 and NVQ/SVQ Customer Service Levels 2 to 3.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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