So I have a family credit card I sometimes use for small things and emergencies. A few days ago my wonderful grandparents told me I could use it to buy a new laptop as a present for my eventual graduation.

It was a pretty easy decision to buy a MacBook. I looked at one other company's website and was disgusted by the typical electronics shopping experience—crossed out price values highlighting urgent deals and savings, and other insulting bullshit.

So I went to the Apple Store with Steve and Sara. I told them what I wanted at the counter; for some annoying reason they think this means you want to chat with someone instead of spending money and getting out of there, so I waited while they found someone for me to talk to.

Eventually they brought out the box and I gave them my credit card. It was declined with no reason given. Great. After trying to contact my family, I called Visa and spoke with someone who said that the charge attempt never showed up—Apple's system just failed to contact theirs.

So I went back and tried again. It made them authorize by phone this time, and after a wait, declined claiming to have insufficient funds. The Apple store employee quietly related this information to me, to save me some embarrassment, I presume.

Much later my family got back to me, and was puzzled to hear what happened. They contacted Visa and there was plenty in the bank and no applicable limit—Visa claimed it was just a security feature and that the next attempt would be successful. This was ten minutes before the Apple store closed, and we had driven to another location by this time, so we hurried back and I made it in at the last minute, as evidenced by the lack of music on the store speakers. By now of course I looked like a total shady character trying to use a stolen or maxed out credit card.

The salesperson in training fetched the laptop a third time and took my Visa and identification. Just as he was ready to send me home with a new laptop, the other employees informed us how Apple's credit card system would just decline me again, since their system only allows a card to be used once in 24 hours. The previous attempts had ruined my chances for the rest of the day. I left the store defeated a third time.

So thanks to Visa and Apple for costing me three hours and some dignity and leaving me empty-handed thanks to some stupid policies. Clearly you don't want to help me legitimately buy something.