The NCR Rattle.

YouTube contributor Vampire Robot has posted quite a few B-roll videos from retail establishments back in the day to their channel. Here’s a bunch of footage from a Sears store in 1991, complete with mostly NCR 2152 registers and their rattling printers. I’ve always known Sears to go from the Singer-Friden system to NCR 2152s to the CompuAdd registers to the current IBM SurePOS system in use today in their remain stores. Apparently some Sears stores had NCR 7052 registers as well and I’ve had folks tell me of some Sears running with IBM 4683s. I need to do more research of their practices during the 80s and beyond, but at least for now we can enjoy the NCR key beeps and rattling printers.


    1. So when Sears was using the Singer-Friden system throughout the chain, the system was designed so that the cashier had to ask “cash or charge” before a sale. This was common on point of sale systems at the time. With the Singer-Friden system, a charge sale would be recorded on a pre-printed, multipart form. A cash sale would print on a “tear off receipt”. I *think* this process carried over from the Singer-Friden systems to the NCR 2152s when Sears converted/updated their technology in the early 1980s.

      Carrying an established process over when updating technology is not uncommon. When the Hills chain moved from NCR to IBM equipment (in the stores that had NCR registers), line and transaction voids still had to be printed on a form like what they did with the NCR 255 registers, even though this was not common with the IBM 4680 General Sales Application system.

      1. As I recall, they also could not change from a charge to cash sale, or vice versa, after the transaction started. I remember once when I decided to pay cash instead of using a card, and they had to re-ring the sale and grumbled the whole time. This was during the 2152 era.

  1. Yes yes I remember that sound I remember that register I work for bonton in 2003 to 2006 and we had those ncr’s and we always had qual codes one cash two credit card three check four bon ton card I always remember that orange screen and beeping every time you scan an item for the three-part sales check

  2. These were in use in a few Irish department stores like Switzers up until the mid 1990s. They had card authorisation but weren’t using scanning.

  3. Used the 2152 at Marshall Field’s store at Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, Illinois, while working there from 1986 to 1989, and it was to the point where you could tell what type of transaction another associate was ringing just by the printer sounds. If you had what should be a fairly quick sale to ring and you heard the register whirring away a certain way, you could determine whether to wait until it was free to do your transaction vs hearing it printing another way and knowing to take the customer to another register so they won’t have to wait so long to pay and be on their way! Good times for sure back then!

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