What is the type or model of cash registers used in Walmart in the mid to late 90's and early 2000's? See this video. Note the strange sounds that Ann says is when the cash register is printing.

Also note that I'm blind (no interview questions please) so I can't see if it shows the model of the cash registers. If anyone here has worked at a Walmart or remembers the cash registers there you can also help, I just posted the video to help you guys out in answering my question.

3 Answers 3


IBM POS system. Maybe some SurePOS 700 or predecessor.

The historic interesting part here is the OS, IBM 4690 OS. It was introduced arround 1993 or 1994, as a follow up to 4680 OS which in turn is based on FlexOS. No, that's not the FLEX system, but an RTOS variant of DRI's Concurent DOS. So efectivly a direct ofspring of good old CP/M :))

During the late 1980s/early 1990 FlexOS became somewhat of a standard for POS systems. Not only with IBM, but also Wincor Nixdorf or ICL. IBM later sold the 4690 OS to Toshiba, while switching to some Linux (IIRC Suse).

  • was that an IBM printer too? Sounded like a dot matrix printer. Apr 5, 2018 at 22:44
  • Hard to tell from that video. But usually yes.
    – Raffzahn
    Apr 5, 2018 at 22:51
  • Ah. My friends want to do a little business that is nostalgic of the 90's, so we wanted to use one of the old machnes from WalMart since she used to work there in the 90's, so it'd be familliar to her but we never knw what machine it was and she forgot. Apr 5, 2018 at 22:55
  • Geting the right softwaresetup might be more work than finding a POS setup. Beside, it hasn't changed so much since then. Installations like at Walmart change way slower than home PCs. For exampe, 386 based machines where still sold new in the early 2000s - more than 10 years after they vanished from the home market. To make it look somewhat vintage you need to go at least until the 1980s.
    – Raffzahn
    Apr 5, 2018 at 23:02
  • 1
    Please note my answer below where I indicate the model number in the video. To replicate this sound fairly closely with modern equipment, you're likely wanting a "kitchen printer". Most POS printers are thermal (dot matrix, but quiet) now, but kitchen printers can handle humidity that thermal printers can't. I don't think anyone makes dual-roll journal impact printers any more, so the sound would only be an approximation
    – scruss
    Nov 2, 2020 at 14:01

The cash register is an IBM 4693 or 4694 and in 1995 it had just been moved from IBM's General Sales Application to Walmart's own internal point of sale system. If it was still running GSA the display would have said "AMT/TEND" or "ENTER AMT/TEND" when the cashier entered the $20.00 tendered instead of whatever it said. Walmart receipts from registers running GSA would have "CASH-1" in the header row. If "CASH-1" isn't in the header row, it's not running IBM's GSA.

Walmart has successfully used legacy IBM front end point of sale equipment for many years because of the improvements they've made on the backend. These days the systems are maintained through a contract with NCR and the back end is running Linux. I think the full screen registers up front are running Java based apps.


The particular printer is an IBM Printer Model 4, aka IBM 4693 / 4694 / 93F0463. It's an impact receipt printer introduced in 1991. The printer has distinctive up-down arrow control buttons on its left front side.

Apart from the very distinctive dot-matrix impact sound, these are journal printers that print the same lines on two different rolls. So instead of one zzeet! per line, you get zzeet zzeet!. One receipt is given to the customer, the other retained for record keeping and fraud prevention.

Walmart is particularly obsessed with reducing losses from all forms of theft, be it shrinkage (shoplifting), sweet-hearting (tellers deliberately not ringing up items) or whatever new creative methods come up. So journal printing would have been part of their 1990s fraud prevention toolkit.

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