Throwing away an old cable ended up being an expensive mistake

In my attempts to declutter, I tossed away my old USB-A-to-Lightning cables - a big, and quite expensive mistake.

Apple's new iPhone privacy feature lets you see which apps track you

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.

Must read: iOS 13: Security and privacy settings you need to tweak and check

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.

Double ugh.

So, I headed out in search of a cable and came across one in a service station I pulled over into to use the restroom. I hastily, hungrily grabbed it and took it to the cash desk.

"$35," the cashier said (well, it was £29.99, since I live in the UK, but that's close enough to $35.

I blinked.

"$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. 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."

Related stories: