After USB-C-to-Lightning cables became the normal way to charge an iPhone, I hastily, and somewhat unwisely decided to get rid of my regular old USB-A-to-Lightning cables. Big mistake. And a somewhat expensive one.
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The problem happened when I rented a car that featured Apple CarPlay. But to use CarPlay I needed a USB-A-to-Lightning cable. I only had a USB-C-to-Lightning cable (in fact, I had three, for some reason — probably satisfying my inner hoarder).
No problems, I thought. I’ll hook up my Android smartphone and use Android Auto.
But I only had USB-C-to-USB-C cables with me.
So, I headed out in search of a cable, and came across one in a service station I pulled over into to use the rest room. I hastily, hungrily grabbed it and took it to the cash desk.
“$35,” the cashier said (well, it was actually £29.99, since I live in the UK, but that’s close enough to $25.
“$35, just for the cable,” I asked, wondering if maybe there had been a mistake.
“Yes,” replied the cashier.
“That’s ridiculous,” I protested, caught somewhat off-guard.
“I know,” said the cashier, then leaning in conspiratorially to add, “that’s the nature of these service stations. Profiting off things people have lost or forgotten.
I nodded in agreement, and paid up. As I was leaving, I was muttering under my breath something about highway robbery.
So, I paid big bucks for a cable that I’d owned up to a few weeks ago, and could have, with prior forethought, picked up a replacement for off the internet for a few bucks.
The moral of the story is this; keep hold of your old cables. You never know when they might come in handy. In fact, do what geeks do, and put them in a box marked “random cables,” and put that box away somewhere convenient.
And when someone asks you why you have a box of old cables, look them squarely in the eye and say, “one day they’ll come in useful.”
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