You’ve seen them, haven’t you? Every time you go to the grocery store or the gas station you see a cash drawer.
Even those little hot-dog carts sometimes have them.
Cash drawers: they are arguably the most important feature on a cash register. Almost every business out there has at least one, no matter how big or small the business is.
What do they do?
Well for one, they hold cash. This is the most obvious feature. 😉
But they do so much more!
Most businesses run their cash counter the same way…
The customer comes in looking for something they want or need. Once they have decided on their items they bring them to the clerk at the cash counter.
The clerk scans each item and then they tell the customer what their total is.
The customer then hands the clerk cash and the clerk hits a few strokes on his register. There is a little “ring” or a bell sound and out slides the cash drawer from the bottom of the register!
The clerk puts the cash in the proper slots in the drawer and gets the customer their change. He then pushes the drawer closed.
Once the transaction is complete, he repeats it with every other cash paying customer who comes through the door.
Cash drawers are systems made of heavy-duty steel and a deadbolt lock. They are spring loaded for swift opening and most have full suspension and easy glide features.
What some people don’t realize is they do more than just hold cash. They also hold checks and credit card slips underneath the drawer.
So for example, if a customer pays with a check, first they fill out the check and then they hand it to the clerk. The clerk then runs the check through the register’s verification system, if any. Once he has verified the check, he slides the check into the drawer.
The difference here is the drawer never opens, at least with most cash registers. Most cash drawers have a slot on the front of the drawer where the clerk inserts the the check into. This lets them continue to the next customer without having to open the drawer.
Depending on the store or business, they will do this with credit card slips too.
So, are cash drawers important? Why not just keep the cash in a different drawer?
The answer is, Yes, they are important!
And… unless the “other” drawer has a deadbolt on it too, I would stick with the cash drawer! They are much easier to use and they keep cash and other important paperwork secure.
Cash drawers have a lock mechanism on them only the operator can unlock. The operator (or clerk in this case) has the code and knows how to enter it into the register to open the drawer.
The only other way to open the drawer is with a key. Depending on the store or business, most of the time only a supervisor or manager holds a key. This is to discourage theft.
Most registers keep a digital record of when and how a cash drawer opens.
If a clerk holds a key and tries to steal by opening the drawer with it, a manager could see it on the computer later. They can check to see if there were any unauthorized manual openings of the drawer during the day.
The best way to discourage this type of theft is for one person (a manager) to hold the key.
In cases of external theft, there are some definite safeguards in place. One of them is by using the check slot we mentioned earlier. For businesses like gas stations, their cash drawer is opening constantly.
The ability to not have to open the drawer to secure checks is excellent for deterring theft. It is one less time a thief could be tempted.
Maybe the business receives a lot of credit card transactions. They can avoid having to open the cash drawer because they also have a credit receipt slot on the front of the drawer.
These features help protect cash and other important paperwork in the register from would-be thieves. The less a thief is tempted by the sight of cash right in front of them, the less likely he is to try to rob a business.