This year, though, they're facing some very expensive car repairs, and I didn't want to bother them with the usual song-and-dance of purchase and reimbursement. So I had a too-clever idea: Amazon lets you put money on your own gift card account. Because of the way my credit card works, I can pay off a purchase the moment it's cleared and essentially have an unlimited credit ceiling for the month, even though the individual purchases can't be more than $600. So why not "recharge" my Amazon gift card account up past the price of the laptop I want to get, and then pay for it that way instead of going through the manufacturer's website the way I've done in the past? No need to bother my parents, and I get the benefit of Prime delivery & discount, so win-win all around.
Only I was impatient, because my "good" laptop has decided that it hates me and life and has one dead internal fan and another that squeals like metal across asphalt. (I'm typing on a 6+ year old dinky thing that randomly decides the internet doesn't exist and will sometimes take 5 minutes to open a text file; but it runs silently, which is the main thing at the moment.) I was impatient, and so instead of starting with a sensible $25 and slowly ramping it up over a number of weeks so as not to spook the system, I started off with $500, thinking I could get the process done in a few days and so have a new laptop by the end of next week.
Don't get impatient, folks: it never pays off.
That was Saturday morning. As of late Sunday afternoon, I have $100 on my gift card and an Amazon account that refuses to accept my credit card anymore because sometime between it freaking out Saturday morning, me getting things sorted out with Support on Saturday afternoon and successfully putting an experimental $100 on it after all, Amazon has decided that the card is contaminated and won't let even Support reactivate it. (I did mention this is my only credit card, right? I have a debit card, but I refuse to use it anywhere except ATMs for security reasons; my credit card can get refunded, my checking account can't.)
So as of 4:24 PM on Sunday I'm in limbo in relation to my years-old, well-used Amazon account. I have that $100 still, but I'm leary of touching it for fear of making things even messier. Support has theoretically escalated the issue to a payment specialist to get the embargo taken off my card, but Support also said she'd email a record of what was going on immediately after we hung up, and that was several hours ago.
All this to say, I'm currently contemplating my life Without Amazon--which then has me thinking about life Without Computer/Internet. It would be lonely for a while, but a lot more productive. I'd make more IRL friends eventually, probably, right? I was mostly pants at it as a kid, but I've improved my social skills since then. Without fanfiction and LiveJournal to serve as outlets for my creative impulses, maybe I'd even wind up getting published! Except the main Indie publisher is Amazon, so we're right back to the source of the issue.
Ah, well. There's always Walmart.