'Do you have a mobile phone sir?’ he begins ‘Uh huh ok and who is that phone with? Orange, ok. Now is it contract or pay as you go?.. ok contract, and how long is that contract for?..Right…’
‘This isn’t Phones 4 You Kisoran’ Dan in finance shouts from across the partitioned desks.
Kis, flicks him off and carries on with his monologue- ‘And if you went to Orange and said Vodaphone will give me more minutes and you wanted to move, what do you think they’d say? I’ll tell you what they’d say, they’d tell you couldn’t until you’d finished your 18 months. You see you have a contract with them and you are tied in with that phone company for the length of the contract aren’t you? Well that’s how contract’s work, and that’s how this contract works.’
He goes on to explain the small print that they hadn’t understood, or hadn’t read, or weren’t able to read. ‘Now when you signed up for us to take your bins you signed a contract… Yes I realise the contract comes to an end next month but if you had read it you’d know that the contract lasts two years and can only be cancelled with three months notice, in writing before the second year comes to an end. I’m afraid sir, if you miss that deadline it rolls on for a further year. That’s what you signed up to sir, that’s what’s in the contract.’
I spend three days, in a windowless warehouse in Seaford, listening to Kis, and Gareth, and John deliver the same speech. Behind them I file letters into a wall of cabinets. Complaints from people trapped in the small print, take-away owners, corner shop proprietors, letters written in the best handwriting and the second language of their primary aged children.
The bus home takes 45 minutes. Industrial coast becomes regency Hove, the world gradually becomes a nicer place to live in. Except for the seagulls attacking the black bags piled high next to overflowing bins. The council bin men are on strike.