View Full Version : IBM registers, what the hell

03-25-2011, 07:28 AM
Admittedly, my cashier job at the Whole was cushy - nice, fast menu driven NCR registers. Not touch screen, but they did have menus and were generally really easy to use. I had a VGA LCD display on my side, plus a VGA display for the customer.

Now that I'm at the store of flatpacks (ikea), I'm getting a reality check. Seems a lot of companies invested a lot of money in IBM point of sale equipment, and damnit, they want to get every last penny out of it. Same registers that Kroger and Tom Thumb/Randall's use, anyway, but without the big LCD for the customer. The cashier "interface" is a tiny little 2x30 LCD built into the keyboard. I'm used to menus and stuff, not having to memorize key sequences.

I'm going to start training on the registers tomorrow. I did self checkout today - actually wasn't that bad, just had to memorize my 8 digit ID really quick since there's always somebody needing an override for something, and I didn't yet have a barcode on my badge.

Any tips/tricks on these IBM relics? I realize that the IBM backend for the registers is insanely powerful and can do all kinds of crazy stuff (which is probably why I see more IBM registers than any others), but holy crap do they have a steep learning curve. I'm not used to having to use a clear button for anything other than, well, clearing stuff - but I'm finding I'm having to hit it to say yes to some prompts.

03-26-2011, 06:55 PM
There was a time when a cash register was nothing more than a mechanical adding machine (in base 48, no less - that is, 12 pence in the shilling and quarter-pennies allowed) with a drawer attached.

For a long time after that, the display for both cashier and customer would be a simple numerical readout of pounds and pence, or perhaps a small text display to confirm the name of a scanned item. That's still the norm in Finland, although quite often the casher gets more information than the customer now.

I would recommend memorising the most common command sequences, and keeping a cheat-sheet on hand for the rarer cases.