Jonathon Ridley, 21, burst into a Betfred shop in Ryton, Gateshead and threatened staff with a knife as he demanded cash.
But when the manager grabbed a stapler and told him to get out, he was taken aback and left without a penny.
Newcastle Crown Court heard how Ridley, of Denton View, Winlaton, Gateshead, walked into the betting shop at around 7.10pm on July 1 this year.
He approached the counter where the deputy manager was alone on duty and put down the six-inch kitchen knife and a crumpled plastic bag.
He ordered her to ‘Fill the bag’, and she replied, ‘What?’
He repeated his demand but the worker, who had already been held up once before, picked up a stapler and told him to get out.
The court heard how he looked at her in shock before walking out of the shop as she called emergency services.
When he was arrested shortly afterwards, Ridley still had the knife in his jumper.
He told police: ‘I did the robbery at the bookies. I was on Ecstasy, I needed the money, I have nowhere to live.’
In a statement to the court earlier this week, his victim told how she had been robbed in a shop once before and the experience left her feeling anxious and insecure.
Target: A Betfred bookmakers similar to the one where Mr Ridley held up staff with a kitchen knife but was scared off with a stapler (file picture)
Nick Peacock, defending, said: ‘It is a fairly unsophisticated attempt to rob a bookies.’
He said Ridley had just been released from prison for a separate offence and had nowhere to stay, leaving him desperate for cash.
Ridley was jailed for two years and eight months.
Recorder Jeremy Freedman told him: ‘Anyone who goes into a bookies with a knife and demands cash is guilty of very serious criminal behaviour.
‘This young lady had the courage to tell you to go away and thankfully you did.’