Agree with you there
"The average shop monkey doesn't even know what a contract is"
When I went into the O2 store to buy a new phone it came with 'unlimited 3G usage*' The * at the bottom of the page (in minute writing hidden under a photo of a happy smiling person using an O2 phone) said that the unlimited usage was subject to a FUP. When I asked for a copy of this FUP before buying the phone/signing the contract not a single person in the store, including the store manager, knew what it was. After about 10 minutes of rifling through papers and advertising they just said "It's probably on the website somewhere".
I still haven't found it yet.