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