Cash Drawers for Consignment Stores
A 'cash drawer' is different from a 'cash register' (till). A register has a cash drawer but a cash drawer doesn't calculate sales transactions and print receipts, or provide the means to balance at the end of the day. A 'drawer' is just a place to store valuables.
A cash drawer will not prevent all forms of theft. It is possible, for example, for a store clerk or employee to process a sale, pocket the money and void the sale after the transaction has been recorded. Good consignment software programs (like BCSS) allow the store owner to prevent anyone from voiding a sale without authorization. BCSS also allows store owners to deny access to software functions, and it provides for real-time audit of the till by employee.
A drawer commonly does not connect to the computer but connects to a receipt printer which connects to the computer. When the POS software sends a command to print a receipt, the receipt printer sends a command to the drawer to open.
Many consignment stores don't need to print receipts because receipts have no purpose if there is a no-return policy in place. More advanced consignment software like BCSS allows the drawer to be connected directly to the computer so the drawer can be opened by pressing a key on the keyboard. Such a program also provides an alternative to printing a receipt for those times when a receipt in requested.
Drawers with Key Locks
For peace of mind and to avoid tempting sticky fingers, it's common practice for consignment stores to utilize cash drawers with locks for safe keeping of money. It makes good business sense to keep all forms of money under lock and key to avoid theft.
A drawer with a lock is not necessary, but the mechanism of unlocking the drawer with a key is a good backup to opening the drawer with a 'no-sale key' or depending upon software to always send the signal to the receipt printer to print a receipt and open the cash drawer, and for the printer to perform as expected. Mechanical unlocking protects against a number of possible problems, including power outage.
Cash Drawer War Stories
"My cash drawer was solen." All the more reason NOT to leave any money in the drawer after closing up.
"We lost the keys!" The manufacturer can usually replace keys if the serial number (found on the bottom of the drawer) is known.
"The drawer won't open." It is a piece of hardware and does need some minimal maintenance (and proper use) to avoid jams.