On the Job
Stock clerks receive, unpack, check, store, and track merchandise or materials.
In the late 1990s, the talk show host Rosie O'Donnell showed her new favorite toy - the "Tickle Me Elmo." As a result, shoppers flocked to toy stores searching for the plush toy, who giggled when you "tickled" his belly. The shelves were soon emptied, creating an even bigger frenzy for the toy. The arms of stock clerks were no doubt sore from continually replacing the Elmo toys that vanished from the shelves as soon as they were put there.Stock clerks work for companies that sell merchandise or materials. They work in retail stores, warehouses, and factories. They keep track of items that will be sold.
Stock clerks keep records of all items entering or leaving the stock room. They inspect goods to be sure they are not damaged or spoiled. They sort and organize products for sale, and mark them with prices or identifying codes. For example, clerks may mark items with stock or inventory control codes, so that items can be located quickly and easily.
In large companies, stock clerks may be responsible for only one task. They are often called by the task they perform, such as inventory clerk. In smaller firms, stock clerks may also perform tasks usually done by shipping and receiving clerks. For example, they may pack and ship merchandise and prepare invoices. They may unpack and verify incoming merchandise against the original order.
In many firms, stock clerks use hand-held scanners to keep inventories up to date. The scanners are connected to computers that track the inventory. In retail stores, stock clerks bring merchandise to the sales floor and stock shelves and racks. Some stock clerks help customers on the sales floor. They may find or cut materials, ring up sales, or answer questions. In stock rooms and warehouses, clerks store materials in bins, on floors, or on shelves. They may also be required to lift heavy cartons of various sizes.
The following list of occupational tasks is specific to this career.
- Keep records of items entering or leaving stock rooms.
- Inspect damaged or spoiled goods.
- Sort, organize, and mark items with identifying codes, such as prices or inventory control codes.
- May pack and ship outgoing merchandise, and unpack and verify incoming merchandise.
- Use hand-held scanners connected to computers to keep inventories up to date.
- Bring merchandise to the sales floor and stock shelves and racks.
- May interact with customers to find merchandise, ring up sales, or answer questions.
- Store materials in bins, on floors, or on shelves. Lift cartons of various sizes.
- Keep items organized.
- Complete order receipts.
People in this career perform the following list of tasks, but the tasks are common to many occupations.
- Handle and move objects.
- Communicate with supervisors, peers, or subordinates.
- Establish and maintain relationships.
- Perform activities that use the whole body.
- Get information needed to do the job.
- Identify objects, actions, and events.
- Work with the public.
- Process information.
- Assist others.
- Update and use job-related knowledge.
- Make decisions and solve problems.
In a typical work setting, people in this career:
- Have a medium to high level of job-required social contact. They interact with coworkers, but also spend time working alone.
- Communicate on a daily basis by face-to-face discussions and over the telephone.
- Usually work as part of a team.
- Are somewhat responsible for the health and safety of customers. They must stock things correctly so they don't fall.
- May on occasion be placed in conflict situations in which customers may be rude or angry when something isn't available.
- Are somewhat responsible for the work done by other stock clerks.
- Usually work indoors, but may on occasion work outdoors.
- Are on occasion exposed to sounds and noise levels that are loud or distracting.
- May occasionally be exposed to contaminants.
- Often share work space with other clerks and customers.
- Must be very exact in their work and be sure that all details are done. Errors could cost the company money.
- Repeat the same physical activities, especially when marking stock.
- Sometimes make decisions that affect coworkers, customers, and their employer's reputation. Depending on the situation, they may make decisions independently.
- Set many of their daily tasks and goals without seeking input from a supervisor first.
- Must meet daily and weekly deadlines first.
- Usually work a regular 40-hour week.
- May work evening and weekends, especially stock clerks who work in retail trade.
Physical Work Conditions
In a typical work setting, people in this career:
- Use hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools, or controls.
- Stand for long periods of time.
- Repeat movements over and over.
- Walk or run on sales floors or in warehouses.
- Bend or twist their body.
- Speak clearly so listeners can understand.
- See details of objects that are less than a few feet away.
- Understand the speech of another person.
- Use fingers or hands to grasp, move, or assemble objects.
- Use stomach and lower back muscles to support the body for long periods without getting tired.
- Use muscles to lift, push, pull, or carry heavy objects.
- Bend, stretch, twist, or reach out.
- Hold the arm and hand in one position or hold the hand steady while moving the arm.
- Move two or more limbs together (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while remaining in place.
- Be physically active for long periods without getting tired or out of breath.
- Coordinate movement of several parts of the body, such as arms and legs, while the body is moving.
- See details of objects that are more than a few feet away.
- Make quick, precise adjustments to machine controls.
People in this career frequently:
It is important for people in this career to be able to:
It is not as important, but still necessary, for people in this career to be able to:
Source: Minnesota Department of Education.