When in doubt, blame the Volkswagen

One of the confounding aspects of our two weeks spent in a VW camper in Europe this summer was that I struggled to keep my mobile phone charged from the camper’s electric outlets.

The design of the camper’s electrical system didn’t help: there are two power outlets behind the driver’s seat: one works while the camper is on the road, the other when it’s parked and plugged into the mains. Meaning that I had to switch back and forth at least twice a day, and, what’s more, to remember which was which.

But still, the phone would often end up dead in the middle of the day, for reasons I couldn’t explain, and I became convinced that the VW electrical system was flaky.

It never occured to me that the micro USB cable I was using to charge the phone would be at fault. But it was.

Returning home to the Reinventorium I found, sure enough, that this cable, the one that came with the phone, one worked if it was plugged in “just so,” and exactly what that meant changed every day.

Why I opted to believe that a brand new $60,000 vehicle was at fault when it was, in truth, a $2.00 cable, is beyond me.

Speaking of which: what’s up with the price of micro USB cables in retail stores? I went over to The Source in the Confederation Court Mall to buy a replacement for this faulty cable and all they could sell me was this $24.99 Blackberry-branded cable. I finally found one for “only” $14.99 up at Target. But still, when Monoprice retails these cables for $1.11 it makes the local pricing, even if you factor the acceptable cost of “I just had to walk a block instead of waiting a week,” seems like highway robbery.

For $93 I could buy 100 micro USB cables from Monoprice and just pass them out on the street as a public service. Hey, maybe I should do that.


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