‘Go To Our Website’ it says. I want to get rid of some disused furniture. A bed which we no longer need. After trying to advertise the bed, complete with photo on the wall outside my house to no avail, I decide to ask the Council to take it.

It is a completely re-usable bed that would serve someone with young children, as it served us, but I need it out of the way to allow the new ‘grown-up’ bed into my son’s room.

I go to the Camden Council Website. You can find it here

It suggests I can arrange an rubbish collection for which there will be a charge of £25 – or for free if the item is re-usable. I spend the next thirty minutes filling in details of the bed, my address, my proof of identity, and press ENTER.

They say they will send me a pick up date. Three days later I have heard nothing. So I search the site again for a contact telephone. Within 3 minutes I am connected to a man who only asks for my postcode and name.
Then he explains that all I have done is to ‘Register’ on the Council’s website and that I need to go through the procedure again if I want a rubbish collection. I say, “Isn’t there a simpler way?”

He says, “Oh yes, I can book it for you now. When would you like it?” He offers me a date three days in the future. I say, “that’s fine, but you do know it’s re-usable don’t you?” He says, “Oh, that’s a different collection and after a short silence gives me a new date more than a month away!”

This is not good. So I say, please let me have the earlier date, and how much will that be?”

He: “Are you a pensioner?”

Me: “Yes”

He: “then its free”

They’re coming on Wednesday, unless…