Max ((hug)) sorry you had such a horrid experience - it is humiliating isn't it - I had a similar experience and they made me cry - I was a 45 year old woman with good qualifications and experience who was suddenly single and had to earn my own living after a gap - I said I was looking for jobs in Arts Administration - the person at the desk asked me why I thought I was qualified to do that. I said that I had an MA in Fine Art and secretarial and business administration qualifications and had worked in arts organisations in the past.
She replied with a sneer, "Only an MA? My boyfriend's got a BA!" It was then I realised the calibre of the person who was supposed to be trying to help me, and put in a formal complaint.
I didn't get an apology, but I didn't have to see her again, and anyway, I got myself a job with no help from them
That's my rant!!!
Max, I ended up getting a job by temping, and when I found something I reallly liked doing with nice people I made myself indespensible - maybe you could do something similar?