How going cashless challenges young shop assistants to work out change

bank notes

When out shopping and if I decide to use cash, I try my hardest to have the correct change, especially if there is a young person on the till as basically they can’t work out how much change I should get, espeically when the cash register doesn’t tell them!!!!!

As we increasingly shifts towards cashless transactions, it’s fascinating and a little annoying to observe the effects this change has on different age groups, especially in retail environments. One of the most frustrating impacts is on teenage and young adult shop assistants who are finding themselves less familiar with handling cash and calculating change. It’s essential to recognise that cash remains a vital payment method for certain segments of our population, including the elderly, those without access to digital banking, others in abusive and controlling relationships who prefer the anonymity that cash provides. Also we should have choice to pay however we want.

The generational skill gap

Training young shop assistants to handle cash is not just about preserving a skill but about ensuring inclusivity and choice. By addressing the educational and training gaps associated with cash transactions, retailers can help young workers to serve all customers effectively. Maintaining this balance (cash vs cashless) is crucial so that we do not alienate or disadvantage any group within our society. Young people not trained to do this will undoubtedley face these issues:

  1. Slower transaction times: Without regular practice, calculating change can become a slower, more error-prone process.
  2. Increased anxiety: Handling cash can cause anxiety for those not accustomed to it, leading to mistakes and decreased confidence.
  3. Dependency on digital tools: Reliance on digital registers to calculate change can leave young workers at a disadvantage if they need to rely on mental math or when technology fails.

This cashless shift also poses questions about the role of education in preparing young people for the workforce. As digital transactions become the standard, should educational systems adapt to strengthen foundational skills like mental arithmetic? Moreover, how can educators ensure that students are ready for a variety of transaction environments? The young lad who served me today in a butchers could not work out the change from £20 for a £17.82 transaction. I said I have the 82p to speed things up but he ran off to find some change. He had just finished his A level maths and physics! This was a bright boy but wasn’t willing to do some simple maths, and by taking the 82p, he could have stayed at the till and easily given me the change.

To address these challenges, several approaches can be considered:

  1. Better training: Retailers can develop comprehensive training programs that include both digital and cash transaction handling to ensure well-rounded skill development.
  2. School curriculums: Schools could emphasise practical math skills as part of their curriculums to help students prepare better for real-world financial interactions.
  3. Simulated experiences: Virtual simulations and games that involve currency handling could be an engaging way to teach young people about money management.

As we continue to advance towards digital payment solutions, it’s imperative that we don’t lose sight of the importance of cash transactions. By committing to retail training programs that include cash handling, we safeguard the choice and accessibility that cash offers to certain members of our society. Ensuring that young retail workers are equipped with dual capabilities in handling both cash and digital payments will be essential for the inclusive and adaptive service that the future of retail demands. This approach ensures a retail landscape where no customer is left behind, and all can participate in the economy with their preferred method of payment.

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