Cables As Consumables

My mood most days

There was a time, long ago, when I venerated cables and connectors.

As a self-described audiophile, and as a salesman of audiophile gear to other self-described audiophiles, I bought into the doctrine that cables were important; that they were special.

Cables are still important: they take the signal from where it originates and transport it to where you want it to go.

But are they special?

That’s a matter of opinion.

I can tell you one thing though: just as the maxim goes that “the battle plan never survives first contact with the enemy” so do few cables survive contact with my family.

For reasons I’m unable to fathom, my family has an extraordinary ability to trash earphone cords and phone charging cables in record time.

And the problem isn’t limited to only my children…


I don’t know how they do it, but they do.

With no exaggeration, here’s the text of an email I sent to my sales support specialist at our warehouse on a Tuesday two weeks ago while I was away, working up in the Far North:

Hi Toby,
Can you please expedite the staff purchase I placed this weekend? My family has broken the last Lightning cable in the house, and they’re desperate.


Never mind the fact that I’m an industry professional, and through my pipeline I have access to charging cords and earphones that are, for me, cheap or, when I’m really fortunate, free.

Faced with the meatgrinder for cables that my household represents I’m forced to face some conclusions.

First, is that while my household may be slightly above-the-mean for ruining cables, it’s probably not atypical.

In that context, cables and low-priced earbuds (I don’t let my family anywhere near my personal collection of high end earphones and headphones!) occupy the same spot in the modern home electronics ecosystem as alkaline AA and AAA batteries:

They’re consumable.

Use them. Dispose of them. Replace them.

It sounds dreadful, but this is realpolitik we’re dealing with here.

On the bright side, if everyone keeps ruining their charging cords and earphones, that’s good for business.

Just so long as I can continue to afford to pay for the ones my family ruins.

I give this Reddit user an A for effort, but who has this kind of time?