a till and a cash desk

ladybugEnglishFan

Senior Member
Polish
Hi, what's the difference between those 2? Is till only in supermarkets, and cash desk in smaller shops?
I don't know if I understand it well, I'm confused about the till- is it a machine (a cash register) or is it a place in the shop where you pay?
 
  • looking-at-the-stars

    Senior Member
    American English
    No, a till can be anywhere. I can't say for cash desk because I haven't heard it used very often, but a till refers to any sort of cash register.
    I'm assuming that it is the same for the term cash desk.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Strictly speaking, the till is just the drawer that contains the money. The entire cash register is often called a till by extension when it is an inseparable part of the cash register, but that usage can be very confusing in some situations (a supermarket) where each employee has their own till that they take with them to shared cash registers,
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    We say till in NW England.

    "Are you ready to go to the till?"
    "Yeah, I'll grab the milk and meet you at the till."

    Doesn't anybody else? ('check-out' is also used)
    It just occurred to me that my supermarket experience is perhaps a little atypical - my daughter worked in one for a while and she may have converted me to the insiders' term.
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    Supermarkets don't have tills or cash desks any more :)
    They have "check-outs".
    Speaking for the US:

    Yes, supermarkets have tills (cash drawers in their computerized registers); some people still pay in cash rather than using credit or debit cards.

    The checkout is the station where you take your items to be checked out (rung up and bagged) and where you pay.

    I have never heard the term "cash desk"; what does it mean?
     

    ladybugEnglishFan

    Senior Member
    Polish
    So the safest way to call the place when you pay at the shop is checkout?(or check-out?). I found "cash desk" in the Oxford English-Polish dictionary as a desk where you pay for your shopping.I also saw it many times at the airport (e.g. duty free shop).
     

    Seelix

    Member
    English (Canadian)
    I've seen "cash desk" used to refer to the area of a store where the cash registers are located. In fact, when I worked at a bookstore (Indigo in Canada, similar to Barnes & Noble), we referred to the area where the registers are located as the "cash desk". In our case, the registers were all behind one long counter, or desk, as opposed to having many separate registers as in a supermarket.

    I would use "checkout" in a general sense. I agree with your idea that it's the "safest" term.
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    So the safest way to call the place when you pay at the shop is checkout?(or check-out?). I found "cash desk" in the Oxford English-Polish dictionary as a desk where you pay for your shopping.I also saw it many times at the airport (e.g. duty free shop).
    Yes, most stores here—supermarkets, drugstores, clothing stores, housewares stores, etc.—have checkouts.

    They're not called "cash desks" here. As I said, I'm unfamiliar with that term.
     

    Rival

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    I've heard 'cash desk' used in the context of restaurants, where they have a little counter or station where the cashier works, keeping the diner's bills updated and accepting payments.

    To talk about the check-out (or checkout?) of an elegant restaurant would jar badly on my ears.
    .
     

    danielfigfoz

    Member
    English - British
    I've never heard the term "cash-desk" and I say "till". I've heard the term "checkout", but only by the supermarkets themselves, not in general conversation.
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    In the U.S. you can also say "take it to the register" in pretty much any setting to mean "take it to the place where they will ring up your purchase".

    Like the other AE speakers, the "till" to me is simply the drawer that holds the cash and coins below the cash register. I wouldn't immediately know what to do if someone told me to "take it to the till". I might after I thought about it a little. I've never heard "cash desk" before.
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    I've heard 'cash desk' used in the context of restaurants, where they have a little counter or station where the cashier works, keeping the diner's bills updated and accepting payments.

    To talk about the check-out (or checkout?) of an elegant restaurant would jar badly on my ears.
    .
    Checkout applies only to stores where one chooses items from the shelves or racks and then takes them, in one's hands or in a basket or shopping cart provided by the store, to that place where the purchases are rung up and bagged and payment is made.

    Elegant restaurants have no such thing. The server brings the bill to your table, where you pay with cash or present your credit card.
     

    Rival

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    Checkout applies only to stores where ... ... ... place where the purchases are rung up and bagged and payment is made.

    Elegant restaurants have no such thing.
    R-i-i-i-ght. That's why I said it would jar on my ears.

    But even elegant restaurants generally have 'somebody' whose job it is to make sure that everything eaten is charged for, and that bills are correctly prepared.

    In the restaurants I had to do with, that 'someone' was sometimes called the cashier, and his/her little counter/desk/station was called the cash desk.

    That is what I was getting at in my previous post.
    .
     
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