Why are cashiers required to stand?

@dragon54u (27584)
United States
August 1, 2008 12:09pm CST
I would love to be a cashier but because of my feet and back I can't stand for more than a few minutes without pain. I've rarely seen a cashier sitting. It seems to me that it would be more comfortable and prevent a lot of health issues.
8 people like this
21 responses
@bamakelly (5194)
• United States
1 Aug 08
I agree about the life of a cashier. I use to be one some years ago. I always stood as long as I can remember and tried to take brief respites here and there when I was pretty far along in my last pregnancy. I have seen some handicapped people sitting down while cashiering. Standing up for long periods of time can cause back aches and not to mention your feet hurting. You are right. Sitting could probably prove more helpful health wise to the cashier these days.
@dragon54u (27584)
• United States
1 Aug 08
The way most registers are set up, particularly Walmart, a cashier can bag while they sit. I would think this would be more humane and save a lot of doctor bills!
2 people like this
• United States
2 Aug 08
Yeah, I wonder that, too. I work in a library and we stand all day, too. But, most of the libraries have chairs to sit on (some don't) when you can. But, we are moving around all over the place, so a lot of the time it's not good to sit. But, I don't know why someone who has to stand in one place doesn't have a stool. It was like that when my grandfather used to work for the automakers in Detroit in the 20s and 30s, too. His bosses thought sitting equated to laziness.
@schulzie (4071)
• United States
8 Aug 08
I used to work for a library too years ago. When I worked the circulation desk that sucked because I had to stand and check books in and out. When someone would come to apply for a library card was wonderful because then I could just sit there at the terminal and sign them up. It was a nice rest for my back and feet. Also, I had to do special billing and that was where I could go downstairs to the basement to my desk and sit down to bill patrons, etc. I think it is much easier to stand for long periods if you have maybe an hour in between a 4 hour time frame where you can sit down. For me I worked an 8 hour day and I had the first 3 hours were standing at the Circulation desk, then lunch, then 1 hour at my desk, then 2 hours on the Circulation desk again followed by an hour shelving books - standing and finally the last hour doing miscellaneous clerical stuff as needed, might be sitting, might be standing. I just don't see why most cashiers could not have a swivel stool with casters on the bottom. I think that would save a lot of people going home or quitting because it is just too tiring to be standing that long. [b][i] Have a great day and happy myLotting!![/i][/b]
@dragon54u (27584)
• United States
2 Aug 08
Maybe that's why, because of that old attitude. I feel so sorry for those cashiers, though, especially the old ones.
2 people like this
@EZhang (165)
• Singapore
1 Aug 08
The standing policy is driven by cultural expectations that customers, or consumers, don't really believe that someone is working if they're sitting down, with the exception of office workers. But from a cashier's point-of-view, stools at the cash register area typically get in the way , and besides, it's actually more tiring if you were to alternate between sit and stand all day. Imagine this scenario: You work at the local supermarket and cashiers are entitled to sit down at their stools if there are no customers queuing up at the counter or cashier check-out point. When there are customers, or consumers, queuing up to pay for their purchases, you get up from the stool to serve them. Once you clear the queue, you sit down again. And this cycle will keep repeating itself throughout your entire shift until you knock off from work and go home. By depending on the stools too much, you'll actually get more restless and unable to be alert in your own job scope. How do I know? That's because I am a cashier too. Imagine I am louging on the stool and I have to stand the moment a customer comes up to my counter to pay. If I totally forgot that there is a stool behind me and I just simply turn around and proceed to walk away from my counter, I would definitely trip and fall. And if that happens, who's at fault now? The company who decides to give me a stool for my sore tired legs and butt, or my own carelessness that caused me to trip and fall? So all in all, I would definitely not recommend a stool at the cashier register area. Work hazard, I'd say. Moreover, I am not willing to risk my two front teeth just to sit at the cash register area. I would gladly stand, that is unless I am pregnant and need to rest my legs all the time to alleviate the veins that are threatening to protude out of my skin surface. Hope my answer can help you out.
@dragon54u (27584)
• United States
1 Aug 08
It helped a lot, thank you! I really appreciate your taking the time to make a detailed explanation that was clear and easy to understand.
1 person likes this
@chiyosan (29405)
• Philippines
2 Sep 12
wow this is quite informative. i have once wondered why they are not even allowed to sit.. of course my initial thoughts is that they would tire and with the heels they are required to wear even more. but then your explanation quite gave the answer. =) it sure is very good analogy of why they are not to sit because it keeps them mobile and ready to assist... it all matters to the kind of task they have and its been quite a good one! =)
@EZhang (165)
• Singapore
1 Aug 08
you're most welcome.
@twallace (2676)
• United States
1 Aug 08
That is a really good question, I have been a cashier before and standing was part of the job. Nothing to sit on and when I think about it. I have not ever see a cashier sit while working unless it was their own business. Other than that if your working for someone you have to stand from beginning to end of your shift.
@dragon54u (27584)
• United States
1 Aug 08
I always feel so sorry for cashiers, their feet must hurt after awhile. Even the young ones tell me they are so tired after a few hours!
1 person likes this
@twallace (2676)
• United States
2 Aug 08
I know that I have worn comfortable shoes with support in them and it works for me. My feet hurt some but not that bad. Have a good one.
1 person likes this
@nylnemnad (166)
• Philippines
1 Aug 08
i think it has something to do with customer satisfaction or services. management of every supermarket wanted to proclaim to the buyers or customers that they are accomodating. and also standing has a more efficient work output than sitting because you can easily go through any corner of the store if needed like those working in some foodchain. its really tiring though but maybe youll get use to it.
2 people like this
• Philippines
1 Aug 08
yes its really hard. first you need to wear those high heels and second together with the high heels and standing rules, you also need to wear those ridiculous smiles.. hehehe..
2 people like this
@dragon54u (27584)
• United States
1 Aug 08
I tried it once and it was agony for me. I don't know how people do it! Customers don't realize how much they are catered to.
1 person likes this
@lilybug (21185)
• United States
1 Aug 08
The only store I have ever seen the cashiers allowed to sit down is at Aldi's. The cashiers there have stools to sit on while they ring you up. I hear they pay pretty good to for a cashier job.
2 people like this
@dragon54u (27584)
• United States
1 Aug 08
We have an Aldi's here but they didn't need any help, unfortunately. I'd like to have a job like that!
1 person likes this
@foxyfire33 (10021)
• United States
1 Aug 08
I have seen stores in which the cashiers are seated in stools. The one that does it all the time is one where you bag your own so the cashier is just there to swipe your items and take your money. There was also one that actually had dedicated bagers at the end of the counter to bag items for the customers. I think it's a good idea depending on the type of store and how busy it is. A place like a 24 hour Super Walmart rarely has a "slow" time so their cashiers are pretty much busy all the time. The Kmart wwe have near by...should not have stools! The cashiers hardly do any work as it is so they don't need any extra excuse to just sit around...and they would do just that in between customers. I wonder though if providing a stool for wrkers could be a requirement though. They can't deny a person a job because of a disability so if a stool was needed for you to work I think they would have to allow that or risk being sued...of course they'd probably feel it would be easier to not hire you at all or fire you as long as they can come up with a different excuse.
2 people like this
@dragon54u (27584)
• United States
1 Aug 08
Our Kmart is like that too, not busy at all. I recently started patronizing them again after several years of refusing to darken their doors. Maybe it was the state I was in, in the Southwest--an employee actually ran from me when I asked for help! Here, they are very helpful if I need them but leave me alone if I don't. They also have different clothing than Walmart and the prices are sometimes lower! But I rarely see many people in the store.
1 person likes this
@leateagee (3667)
• China
1 Aug 08
Yeah. I wanna know too why do cashiers have to be standing. LOL. I did not pay attention to do. That is really difficult. Standing for a long time will give me a serious health problems.
2 people like this
@dragon54u (27584)
• United States
1 Aug 08
It's not good for your back or your feet. They claim that the special mats they let you stand on are comfortable but that's a lie after a few minutes of standing!
1 person likes this
@sudalunts (5528)
• United States
1 Aug 08
I've often wondered about that. That is my main reason why I would never be a cashier. I had a spinal years ago when I was in the hopital and standing for any length of time starts my back to hurt. I worked one year at the Mall where my husband was the manager, and he would not allow me to sit. I had to stand over 10 hours with back pain and cramps, I only lasted there one week
2 people like this
@dragon54u (27584)
• United States
1 Aug 08
I have a spinal curvature, arthritis in my hip and flat feet. It's agony for me to stand very long but I would certainly love to have such a job because it pays well.
1 person likes this
@TheCatLady (4697)
• Israel
16 Jul 12
It's an American thing. Faster, faster, faster....You can't work as fast when you are sitting. In Israel all supermarket cashiers have nice comfortable office type chairs. They can sit while they are ringing the groceries up. Matter of fact if they were to stand, everything would be to low. I've traveled a lot and most of the world allows and expects the supermarket cashiers to sit while they are working.
1 person likes this
@dragon54u (27584)
• United States
16 Jul 12
It's also an American thing to do everything possible to prevent injury--I've known cashiers and others in occupations where they have to stand that develop back trouble and joint trouble. Think how much money and resources we could save by allowing people to sit, at least some of the time they're at the register! I hate that hurry up attitude. No wonder we are all so stressed!
• Israel
16 Jul 12
They only want to prevent injury because it costs money. Companies don't give a hoot about the workers. Workman's comp is expensive, but not as expensive as thousands of slower workers. In the end it boils down to what is the most cost effective. They don't mind paying for an injury if the flip side is more profit. The hurry up attitude is horrid. I remember when I first left the States, I was doing everything at my normal city speed. In San Francisco, I was so busy and overworked that I had 7 free hours a day and I had to sleep during most of that time. Not exactly free time. So anyway, after my move I was told to slow down so many times it was annoying. My attitude was, Faster faster. If I do "this" 2 minutes faster I have 2 minutes to do something else. I can shove something else into the day. I learned to slow down. It's so much more relaxing when 2 minutes here and there don't make a dent in a day. Even an extra 30 minutes here and there is no big deal.
1 person likes this
@suspenseful (40331)
• Canada
3 Aug 08
It is easier to see the product that the customers is putting on the counter if you are standing and also to see what they have in the cart. You can also check on the other cashiers and see if the manager wants you for something. Not only that it is easier to see how long the line is. If you were sitting even for a moment, a customer can have a bag of potatoes on the bottom of the cart and sneak past without you knowing it.
@dragon54u (27584)
• United States
4 Aug 08
That's true but could easily be solved by using a strategically placed mirror. Places with bagging people have them check the bottom. Cashiers sure have it tough!
1 person likes this
@suspenseful (40331)
• Canada
4 Aug 08
That would mean more people checking. Usually when I go to a store, only a few of the checkouts are open. Also it would require more expense to put in the mirrors and guess what the cashiers would get less pay. And besides people would not believe them to be working if they sat down. Look when I was a steno, and was at the typewriter people thought I was sitting down doing nothing.
• India
2 Sep 12
In India cashier working being seated in high chairs or stools. Earlier the cashier in the super markets used to work while standing the whole day almost. But now even they are provided with stools or chairs to sit and work comfortably.
1 person likes this
@dragon54u (27584)
• United States
2 Sep 12
Good for India! It's inhumane to expect someone to stand for so long and bad for the bones and general health, too. I am generally against labor unions but this is one case where these poor people need someone to fight on their behalf. Many cashiers end up with varicose veins, back injuries, spinal compression and other painful and disabling conditions and the employers don't care.
@MsTickle (23666)
• Australia
28 Jul 12
It's a way of keeping them in their place. Cashiers are generally considered on the lowest rung of the pole by both customers and management. Standing on one's feet for hours on end and having to be nice to all and sundry is difficult, well, it was for me anyway. I'm so glad not to be working any longer.
@dragon54u (27584)
• United States
28 Jul 12
myLot ate my response! This place is really trying my patience recently! Cashiers are very important to stores and worthy of respect. There are many jobs that people look down on but what would they do without them? Every person doing an honest job deserves to be treated well.
@wolfie34 (26868)
• United Kingdom
22 Jul 12
When I used to work for a supermarket, they actually provided free chiropody for their staff, however you had to a foot complaint, you couldn't just go there of your own free will, your manager had to refer you there! Always a catch. When I go to the supermarket I do see staff sit down and all cashiers have chairs, so I guess it depends on the policy of the supermarket or shop. When they have to pack the shopping I guess it's easier to stand up rather than twisting their body round which can cause wear and tear. I would hate it myself, my feet get really hot at the best of times and standing on them all day, I'd want danger money.
1 person likes this
@dragon54u (27584)
• United States
22 Jul 12
Because of my spinal curvature I would not last 10 minutes on a job where I had to stand up. Many cashiers belong to unions and I don't understand why the unions aren't more proactive toward their members' health and comfort. I guess they just want the dues without having to advocate for their members.
• United States
2 Jun 12
I think from my experience it's so you can reach the register, bags, and supplies. The only times I've seen cashiers sitting is: When they are disabled (a man at our local wal-mart is allowed to sit on a stool), recovering from surgery (have a co-worker who had knee surgery and was trying to keep weight off it but needed to work), and another whom was pregnant. I know as a teller we too were required to stand til we got spoiled with high office chairs, only they had 2 of them for 4 people so it was always a battle of if you got off your chair if someone else would of swiped it. The worst was being 8-9mo's pregnant and everytime I walked away this witch who just started took the chair.
@dragon54u (27584)
• United States
2 Jun 12
That's probably why most of those places don't offer health insurance, because of the back, leg and foot problems their ridiculous requirements cause. At all the Walmarts I've seen the station is so compact that someone seated on a swivel stool can easily scan, bag and operate the register. I would be more than happy to have a cashier job if I could be off my feet because of my back pain.
@KrauseHome (28097)
• United States
21 Sep 11
Personally it would be nice if you could be a Cashier and sit. I miss being a Cashier and being able to interact with people all the time, but due to the situation with my leg and such there is No Way that I can do it again. Some of the greatest satisfaction though has come in my life when I was able to work retail and wait on customers.
1 person likes this
@dragon54u (27584)
• United States
21 Sep 11
I like working with the public, too. You can make someone's day with a smile or just listening for a couple of minutes as they vent. Since I can't, I try to be really nice to cashiers and make them laugh. There's always something we can do to spread a little sunshine.
@GreenMoo (11842)
18 Aug 08
I'm no expert on the way the body works, but I imagine that standing is actually easier on the back if you are working as a cashier somewhere where there is a lot of passing items from one side to another like a supermarket. Otherwise, I guess that you would hurt your upper back and neck with that repeated movement. Where there's a low volume of items passing through though, I imagine that cashiers are only required to stand because it's thought to look better!
1 person likes this
@dragon54u (27584)
• United States
18 Aug 08
I agree it's probably because it looks better. Every cashier I've talked with would prefer to be able to sit at least half the time, with the exception of one person who replied here in this discussion. It's no wonder the local Aldi's isn't hiring--they have dozens of cashiers from Walmart and other stores that are on the waiting list for jobs!
• United States
8 Aug 08
I used to work for a small retail store and I had a stool to sit on. But I found it rather annoying. I usually had to get off my stool serveral times for one customer. Twisting and turing to handle the money then bag the stuff. Or maybe you need another size or whatever. Its more of just a hassle than anything else. Unless you worked at like a gas station or something. I also worked in a hambgurger joint and I wouldn't sit down my entire sift. So I don't think standing would be a health issue.
@dragon54u (27584)
• United States
8 Aug 08
It is for me, due to my flat feet and curved spine. At 54 with no formal profession, it's hard for me to find a job and there are a lot of non-skilled jobs such as store clerk open that I can't work because of having to stand all day.
@Thoroughrob (11772)
• United States
7 Aug 08
Aldi's cashiers get to sit down. I don't know why others don't follow. It does look like it would be more comfortable.
1 person likes this
@dragon54u (27584)
• United States
8 Aug 08
It would save a lot of healthcare bills, too! Think of the aching backs and feet that would be relieved! I'm going to apply at Aldi's this winter, probably. They don't need anyone right now but that would be a good job for me!
• Canada
3 Aug 08
I completly agree with yoU! When i was in CPH, Denmark i was like omg this is so unfair! I seen the grocery store cashiers sitting on comfortable looking computer chairs and all they did was sit and scan the items. The chairs were slanted at a weird angle though, i guess to make it a little uncomfortable lol.. But whatever when i was working as a cashier here in Canada, something like that would have been nice! Standing on hard concrete all day is hard no the back!
1 person likes this
@dragon54u (27584)
• United States
4 Aug 08
Hard on the back and hard on the feet! Seems other countries treat their workers much better.