The membership-only warehouse club Costco is known for having a wide selection of buy-in-bulk merchandise, including food, clothes, toiletries and electronics. What is perhaps not as widely know, however, is that Costco is just as employee-friendly as it is customer-friendly. The starting pay for employees is $11.50 per hour, well above the federal minimum wage of $7.25, and the average employee wage is $21 per hour, according to a November 2013 article on the Huffington Post. Costco offers a number of different positions at various levels, but most employees begin their careers as purchase or refund cashiers. Costco cashier duties include processing purchases and returns, managing a register, and offering friendly customer service.
Processing Purchases or Returns
A purchase cashier’s main responsibility is to efficiently and accurately carry out members’ purchases. As with any cashier position, this includes scanning the merchandise, collecting payment for all the scanned items, processing checks and making change. Costco cashiers have the additional task of processing membership cards at the start of each purchase and answering any potential customer questions about memberships. Refund cashiers, on the other hand, are responsible for processing members’ returns for cash or credit. Their duties include researching past prices and warranty information, processing price adjustments, recording register information, correcting ring-up errors, issuing refunds and assisting customers with membership applications and renewals. Both purchase and refund cashiers are responsible for their register from the start of their shift until the end. They are required to count the register when they sign on and make sure that it is clean throughout the shift.
Costco cashiers spend the majority of each shift interacting with customers, and are therefore required to maintain a friendly, positive attitude. Maintaining customer satisfaction is especially important for Costco cashiers because customers pay for annual membership, and dissatisfaction may cause the store to lose renewals and therefore lose business. Cashiers should be both prompt and polite, and should work to ensure that each customer leaves happy. In addition to carrying out customers’ financial transactions, cashiers must be willing and able to greet customers, answer questions, relay information on special promotions, determine member packing preferences and thank customers for their business. All of these interactions should be carried out in a professional, yet welcoming manner.
Opening and Closing Duties
Apart from working the register, cashiers must also help with warehouse opening and closing duties. This includes moving returned or misplaced products back to the shelves, stocking the registers, cleaning the checkout area, collecting shopping carts, and collecting register paperwork. Opening and closing duties may depend on the time of day that the cashier works and the issues that arise at the individual warehouse. Cashiers should perform these and all of their other duties keeping in mind Costco’s productivity guidelines and safety procedures. All Costco employees must complete two levels of food safety education and training programs, according to a November 2012 article in Food Safety Magazine. This training instills proper procedures for food temperatures, food storage, warehouse cleanliness, hazardous materials handling, and foodborne illnesses, according to the Costco Food Safety Handbook. Productivity guidelines detail how to most efficiently process debit, check and cash payments, gather membership information and stock customer's carts, according to a Costco productivity training video produced by Godfather Films.
Costco cashiers are required to have a high school diploma or GED, and to pass a 10-key and basic math skills test. They must have excellent communication skills, and should be willing and able to listen to both their managers and the customers. Cashiers should be self-motivated and able to work with minimal supervision, but also able to work as part of a team. Professionalism and friendliness are extremely valuable, as is flexibility and willingness to take on a variety of tasks. Those interested in becoming Costco cashiers can apply online via the company’s website.