The last time my store was robbed, I was 18 and there alone with the owner's wife. The guy, a normally dressed, sober looking middle-aged black guy, asked me if we had any eels, and I turned, pointed, and then looked back to him holding a gun to his side. He told me to get on the ground, but was completely calm and never pointed the weapon. I did so, but as he roudned the corner to go to the register I pulled the little CRKT stiff K.I.S.S. I had on my belt and hid it under my wrist as I crawled forward to look around the shelf to make sure nothing worse was happening. He walked my boss's wife around and had her lay down next to me, then said "stay down for two minutes or my boys outside will start shooting" then hurried out of the store. he never once pointed the gun at us, and never raised his voice or even sounded malicious, and I was never fully in fear of my life (but was ready to go down with as much fight as I could muster with my little knife if it came to that lol--yeah the cops lol'd at that too). I popped up as soon as i heard him leave and handed the phone to my boss's wife then went door-to-door to our neighbors giving them his description and heads up. I know carry a little bit bigger knife and always adopt the "after you" attitude with customers (unless they're regulars that I trust, there are very few though).
I carry a gun, my boss hates guns, he is ok with me carrying one, he also knows that if someone is robbing me at gunpoint they are getting the money, and this is where we both agree, there is nothing in that store worth my life. Having said that he also knows that if I feel my life is in danger I will do what ever I need to do to go home to my wife, including giving away all the money in the register/using lethal force. The reason I chime in here is not to attempt to force my values on you, but to make sure that you have thought about carrying at work and when you would pull out your weapon.
After reading advice on this site and reading over worst case scenarios, any time I feel threatened by a customer will be greeted with a firm invitation to leave as I back up a few steps, followed by me drawing my weapon if they do anything further to worsen the situation (i.e. reaching under the shirt, into pocket, etc). if they have a weapon it will be responded to with mine directly, possibly precluded with me offering my wallet, tossing it at them as a distraction, and then drawing/firing.
Robbery? odds are they have the drop on you, even if you are very Situationally aware, you just proved how easy it is to distract an employee at work. There is a completely different mindset you need to have when carrying, especially in a retail environment. and it is a good thing because it gives the bad guys reason to go somewhere else, preventing the crime is most important part of the job, you can do this without a weapon too. (I choose to keep one on me)
I dont advocate laying down for criminals, just as criminals dont attack hard targets I dont advocate a gun fight on a criminals terms. You said you would have a problem shooting an unarmed person, Thats what separates you from the slimeballs who will rob/kill you. Its not a bad thing, in fact you can turn it to your advantage now by playing scenarios in your head, I call it "shoot dont shoot" "draw dont draw" "draw and shoot" "draw and withdrawl" A lot of people will tell you they wont pull a gun until they know they are going to shoot, I dont go that route, but you should know exactly what you are prepared to do now, not when it happens. For me the problem with stopping a robbery has more to do with others getting hurt. So basically if I have decided to draw I have already accepted my life was/is in danger, and will do what I need to do to stop that threat. That is the only rule for me, STOP THE THREAT, if it means giving them cash (hoping they will be nice thugs) thats an option I leave open.
we frequently have people dropping big bills, but it's usually on purchases of over $50. since the more recent incident, we have been trying to keep cash in the register at a minimum and all big bills get dropped in the safe as soon as the store's empty again. our register is also right next to a large parking-lot viewed window, which is good and bad--armed robberies would be more likely to be noticed, but so would cash in the drawer. we have mixed feelings about it.
Now for the other side, regardless of how your boss feels, will you still carry a weapon to work for your protection, you still have to get to and from work, but knowing how he feels about you having a gun makes a whole different set of rules for you if he is anti gun.
Living in the south you wont wont have as much anti gun bias as in the north but remember it is your bosses bussiness, and you should respect his wishes regarding his property EXCEPTION BEING YOUR OWN SAFETY if he says he does not want a gun on his property ask him point blank.... Are you saying you dont want me to interfer with crime, but you dont have a problem with allowing me to protect myself. If he does not want you armed that is his right as an employer. It is also a good sign to move away from that neighborhood/employer. Dont ask dont tell is a great policy as well, if you work for a corporation, but you dont, and you will know your boss/his wife better than I do. In fact you may decide not to ask, if you have gone that route then I suggest you NEVER show, if you have to use it he cant tell the court he didnt want you to have a gun to start with.
Carrying at work is a burden, there are times I have to let things go that I would have never tolerated when I was unarmed, it all boils down to this ......... Why do you carry a gun. if its for your safety there are different rules, if its for protecting your bussiness there are different rules for some people, I merge the two, bearing in mind that my work means nothing to my family if I am dead.
There is a reason the store down the street from me gets robbed frequently and I dont, It has nothing to do with the criminal knowing if I am carrying or not, I was cased again last saturday, and took steps to make sure the thugs knew I was not the target they wanted to hit. Stay alert and aware and most criminals find easier targets.
KEEP THE CASH IN THE REGISTER LOW, dont break big bills for minor purchases, its not being unfriendly to the customer, its protecting yourself from being robbed. I get a lot of people who try to break their $100 for a six pack, I lose those customers to the guy down the street, of course he has also been robbed 6 times that I know of, to him its an acceptable risk to keep 200-500 in his register, and the crooks know where to get the most cash, he is good for my safety.