In 2016, the average American household visited a grocery store about 83 times each year. While some of the United States’ leading grocery chains have self-checkout stations, every single grocer features checkout lanes manned by real, live human beings – hard to believe, for some, at least, in today’s “exponential age,” in which technology advances exponentially on a regular basis. It’s safe to say that grocery clerks will be a staple in the worldwide job market for decades, if not centuries, to come. By extension, thousands of United States citizens will be employed as grocery clerks in years to come. Let’s look more deeply into the grocery clerk job description, including its basic duties, career advancement opportunities, average pay, and more.
Common duties of grocery clerks
Every grocer is different, meaning grocery clerks – more commonly referred to as cashiers – will have varying duties in their particular lines of work. Here are some of the most popular duties incurred in this ever-common position.
Frequent interaction with customers is an inherent obligation of grocery clerks. Those holding this position commonly conduct price checks to ascertain the price of goods to customers. They must be familiar with coupons, including which publishers’ vouchers are accepted. As some shoppers tend to combine coupons to lower the price of food, drink, and other household goods, grocery clerks should be able to quickly determine whether given combinations of vouchers are accepted by their particular employer.
Grocery clerks are trusted with petty cash – small amounts of cash held within registers’ drawers – and held accountable for any missing amounts. As such, those serving grocers in a clerk’s capacity must make sure sufficient dollar values are received in payment for items purchased. Similarly, clerks must also make sure change remitted to customers is accurate.
When grocery clerks don’t currently have customers to ring up, they often tidy up shelves and clean areas immediately surrounding registers. They may also stock shelves and rotate stock to maintain freshness.
Career advancement opportunities
The position of grocery clerk is considered entry-level in most grocers’ hierarchical employment structures. As such, clerks have nowhere to go but up, in respect to promotions.
Cashiers in grocery settings are most commonly promoted to managerial staff, although they could be advanced to positions securing products for resale, promoted to higher-level sales, or directors of customer service.
Wage ranges and averages
As salaried positions in grocery stores are generally reserved for those belonging to management, grocery clerks are almost always considered hourly employees, receiving wages – fixed hourly rates – for time worked.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2016, the average hourly wage of grocery clerks – by the BLS’s terminology, cashiers – in the United States of America was $10.43. Further, the mean annual wage for grocery clerks was $21,680, calculated by working 40 hours per week for 52 weeks per year.
The median pay, or that of the 50th percentile of all grocery clerks in America, was $9.70 in May 2016. Wages ranged from $8.24 to $13.83 at the 10th and 90th percentiles, respectively.