Alison Day, 27, manageress of Ann Summers, Liverpool

"I get up at 7.20am and put on my uniform - not a backless dress or PVC hotpants, but a black suit. I do wear some of the lingerie - the Alexis bra in black is gorgeous - but the only raunchy thing I have from the store is a sex instructor's mug. I skip breakfast, grab my Ann Summers carrier bag and catch my train at 7.55 am.

I get to the shop at 8.30am. It's right on the main high street - opposite Barclays Bank and Mothercare. It caused a bit of a stir when it opened. People would hover outside pretending not to look. Others came in shocked saying, `But, you can see in.' They were expecting dark glass and sleaze.

After a cup of tea, I make a list of jobs I need doing: carpet hoovered; floor polished; PVC catsuits, hotpants and skirts tidied; coloured condoms, crotchless pants and giraffe and crocodile men's pouch briefs in the novelty section organised; leather bondage gear at the back of the shop dusted. I don't think about the stock any more. At first, I'd unpack the vibrators and think, `Oh my God, will you look at that!' but now I just think, `Right, it needs two batteries.' Sex aids, like anything, get mundane.

On Monday to Wednesday we open at 9.30am; the rest of the week it's 9am. Afternoons tend to be busier than mornings and Saturday is the busiest day of all. That's when the young boys try to come in - under 18s are not allowed. The staff - both men and women - are on the door and positioned all around the shop, keeping an eye out. Mothers with toddlers are warned about the leather and bondage, but we leave it up to Mum.

It's great fun here. We're all outgoing, dead bubbly and broad-minded. You have to be. You get some lads who try it on. They'll pick up a peekaboo bra and say, `Could you try this on? We want to see what it looks like'. My reply is, `With my figure, you've got to be joking.' I give as good as I get. But it's all harmless fun. I love skitting and laughing with the customers, and helping some poor man who does not have a clue buy pounds 40-pounds 50 worth of lingerie. The big favourite with the men is Fifi - the French maid's outfit. It's every man's fantasy. And where's the harm in it?

We get a basic salary and a bonus if we meet our sales targets. My husband is very popular at work now. Work mates are always coming up to him asking for catalogues - I must get through around 1,000 a week.

I always say I work in a lingerie shop, not a sex shop. People get the wrong idea. They think I must have a wardrobe full of crotchless knickers, spending my evenings prancing around the bedroom with a leather whip and having the most amazing sex life. Nothing could be further from the truth. My husband picks me up at 6.45pm. After some tea and a bit of TV, our idea of fun is to go to bed at around 9.30pm with a bottle of Southern Comfort and a couple of sandwiches. My favourite is chicken and mayonnaise."

Comments