A Fool’s Errand

My laptop has developed some kind of motor neurone disease. It starts with mouse paralysis, which then extends to the trackpad and the keyboard. After an unsuccessful repair attempt, which involved a two-week wait, I decided I could not be doing with this. Christmas is looming, and the thought of being stranded in Germany for a couple of weeks without a computer, never mind the money I’d lose by not being able to work from there, is more than I can bear, financially and mentally.

So, today I schlepped all the way to the Apple Store in Madrid. I had thought of everything: My passport (shops in Spain routinely ask for ID at the checkout), my Apple ID, a bag to conceal my purchase. OK, Madrid is not Maputo, and you can call me paranoid, but I don’t want to be drawing the attention of any shadies in the very place where they all hang out: in the heaving centres of capital cities, waiting to lighten the loads of hapless shoppers and unsuspecting tourists.

I was relieved to find that the product I wanted was in stock, as was a type of semi-exotic cable I’d been looking for. But when I tried to pay, card was declined, despite sufficient funds in my account.

It turns out that the one thing I had evidently not thought of was that there might be a daily transaction limit on my card. I’d never tried to make a purchase of well over a thousand bucks before with my Spanish bank card.

The store was better prepared for this than I was, because, apparently, this happens all the time. The nice assistant pointed me to the number to call to get them to up the limit.

My bank, the Santander, has a very affable marketing slogan: “We want to be your bank”. But not on a Sunday, it transpired, when all you can do by phone is to check your balance and block a stolen card. As for anything that’s not automated and requires the input of a human being… forget it!

I had a couple of hours to kill (rather than my bank, which would have given me infinitely more pleasure), so I wandered around town for a bit.

Spiderman

He cheered me up ๐Ÿ™‚

Cakes

So did a dose of this. It’s six hours later as I type this, and I’m still riding out the sugar high.

Escaped balloons

I wonder if the balloon seller was as pissed off as I was after being left empty handed…

A couple more shots from Plaza Mayor, already decked out in its festive seasonal trappings, (using the “drawing” setting on my cheapy camera):

Merry-go-round 1Plaza Mayor

 

 

 

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75 thoughts on “A Fool’s Errand

    1. ladyofthecakes Post author

      Christmas lights, what else would they be ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Well, the shops and the restaurants are open… one might assume that the banks’ customer service centres would be, too, especially those dealing with authorising card payments. Clearly not. How frustrating.

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    1. ladyofthecakes Post author

      I didn’t. I’ve got to call the bank tomorrow morning and get them to increase the limit, so I can finally spend my hard-earned money, and then I have to trudge back to the shop. I could order online, and normally that’s what I do, but this close to Christmas I’m just not brave enough.

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      1. June

        Apple are pretty good for guaranteeing quick delivery, so I don’t think you need to worry. Plus, if you order online you can get it engraved for free. I have my name and e-mail on mine so people can contact me if it’s lost. It also helps identify it if stolen.
        Bloody banks are a pain – I steer clear as much as possible. (And to think I used to work in one!)

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  1. TheLastWord

    Is this a credit card you’re trying to use? If so, I would just transfer money from checking account to credit card account and voila! Have done it a few times, because my business credit card has a $1000 limit and Air Canada does not fly even 50 miles away for less than a $1000 (bloodsuckers) and I’m flying every other week right now, plus have to pay for expenses, cabs etc. In fact, I bought my Mac that way too….

    If debit card, then do you really want a higher limit? And will they allow it? Some banks won’t, I know.

    That cake looks Suprema all right! Was it as good as it looks? I’m assuming you did scoff it…

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  2. Jenna

    I have Santander as well – they’ve been my bank since I was 5 (except back then, it was Sovereign), and I’ve had the WORST luck with them, especially in the last few months. I definitely feel your pain. I have a transaction limit of $1000 USD on my debit, but this is why I got a credit card – for these types of emergencies!

    I hope your computer works itself out! There’s nothing worse than feeling abandoned without the internet!

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      1. prior

        ha! I guess it is a nice fraud helper to have this inconvenienceโ€ฆ. and it helped make a fun post that’s for sure (wink) but you know…

        I thought that by now (2014) we would have 24 hour access more available – we bought a car on a Sunday night once and we were able to speak with an insurance agent live on the phone that night – that was cool – but with banks – nope – not even here in the States can we have access to bankers on most weekends either – a global thing we share – ๐Ÿ™‚

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  3. NancyTex

    How frustrating. My bank has super hyper-sensitive fraud protection algorithms that consider multiple transactions at the same merchant suspicious, so they block the transaction. This happened when I booked our last airline tickets, using frequent flyer miles (still had to pay the taxes). The challenge was that I booked my ticket on my points account and husband’s on his account = two transactions. I tried to pay with my card. Big fat no to that one. Had to scramble to find another card or risk losing his seat. I’m grateful they’re looking out for me but surely there is a way for them to validate that it’s me and that I want this, no?

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. ladyofthecakes Post author

      Yes, it’s a right pain, this. I just rang them and resolved it, but even if they had been open yesterday and I’d gotten through to them from the shop, I wouldn’t have had the verification numbers and access keys on me to get them to change my limit.

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  4. Every Day Adventures in Asia

    Egads! Thank goodness when I finally hit the wall when desktop and laptop both died on me my credit card behaved long enough to purchase my lovely MacBook Air! ๐Ÿ˜‰ You definitely deserved a laugh at the paunchy spiderman and oodles of cake! Hope you have a bright shiny spankin’ new machine marvel today??

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    1. ladyofthecakes Post author

      Sadly, you’re only too right… and I usually cannot be bothered to put up a fight. Anyway, the card thing was easily resolved this morning, so I won’t have to turn up at the store with a wad of cash bulging out of my handbag, thank God.

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  5. joannesisco

    I can’t believe how calm this post sounded. No gnashing of teeth, stomping of foot, swear words filling the air. Wow – I’m so impressed with your restraint. I would have needed something substantially stronger than cake to calm me down after a shopping snafu like that!!

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  6. linnetmoss

    Too awful about the laptop! I am a nervous wreck whenever mine goes south. And I hate shopping above all. But what a cute portly Spiderman! When you think of it, spiders do have those huge abdomens ๐Ÿ™‚ And oh what beautiful cakes. Those are not to be found here.

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    1. ladyofthecakes Post author

      IT problems are my nemesis. I’ve got a very convoluted one to resolve right now, and it seems that I’m foiled every fucking step of the way! Luckily, I’ve got two machines (for precisely this reason), so I can still get on with my work, at least.

      The guy was very amusing. It takes *sad pun alert* guts to pull this one off ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  7. Pecora Nera

    What a cool spiderman. My laptop is also dying, its only a cheapy Toshiba not a Mac. I took it to pieces last week when the fan stopped working, it seems to be ok at the moment and as a nonus I now have a few screws that were left over after I reassembled it

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      1. Pecora Nera

        The first time I reassembled it I had 2 screws left over and a non functioning mouse pad, although the fan sounded much better. The second attempt the mouse worked and the fan worked but I had gained another screw. Strange really.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. pollyheath

    I feel your pain. I have a secondary Russian account but my primary bank is from my tiny home town… Trying to get in touch with anyone there is always an adventure.

    On the upside, at least you weren’t mugged!

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    1. ladyofthecakes Post author

      I had nothing much on me worth mugging me for… this time.

      Aw, soon you’ll be able to camp out in front of their branch, that’ll whip them into shape! Unless you”re heading for a different town to make your home in the foreseeable future…

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  9. Kim in Fiji

    I love the drawing function on your camera – I’ve never seen anything like it. Just sketching the lines really brings out your shots in a far more interesting way than a plain photo would have. Kudos!

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    1. ladyofthecakes Post author

      Pushing a button… that’s my kinda drawing;-) I can’t draw a stick man, I’m not kidding!!! I drew heads with arms and legs attached until I was six years old. I couldn’t see the relevance of those ‘trunks’ in the middle.

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  10. camparigirl

    While your card was being declined, mine was being used by some teenager in Eastern Europe to load up on video games! My bank noticed and informed me (on a Sunday), just wanting to make sure I was not sitting in Chechnya, being bored. Really, I am thinking of moving to cash transactions only.

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    1. ladyofthecakes Post author

      Ahrhg! Lucky they caught that. Well, I wouldn’t mind if phonecalls were required to execute larger transactions or those coming from unlikely places… but they would need to invest in 24/7 call centres for that. And they won’t.

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