Brainfood: How does she manage? - Bookmaker, Anita Graham Totesport, Southampton

When did you become a manager?

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

I started as a cashier 14 years ago. I've been a manager here for three years and I've just won betting shop manager of the year.

What does management mean to you?

It means having happy staff and making sure that customers enjoy themselves. I have lots of regulars, from young men to people who have been betting for 50 years. I have a laugh with them, a banter - the whole shop gets involved. We once had a couple of guys who streaked through the shop because they'd lost a bet - it's not an everyday job. The atmosphere is electric when there's a big event, like an England match or the Grand National.

One of the regulars had a big win and celebrated with bottles of champagne and chocolates; another gentleman won £54,000 on a football bet and you wouldn't have known. I run my shop like my home: clean, tidy, efficient and welcoming - but you must have respect. I find that being a woman makes it easier to deal with trouble. I'm only small, so I'm not seen as a threat.

After Southampton beat Portsmouth in the football, a couple of men turned up very drunk and were getting in people's faces. I used my headmistress voice and they didn't argue; they just left.

What do you love/hate about your job?

I love the sense of freedom and I have so much fun - there's nothing quite like it in the world. I hate the unsociable hours.

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