How Could You Do That?

The other night my wife and I attended a lovely cocktail party, and inside the “goody bags” was a monogrammed car charger and portable power bank set. As we exited the party among a group of departing revelers, everyone marveled at how thoughtful the parting gift was while I casually chucked those two items into the recycle bin. My wife, astonished said “how could you do that?”

Now I am not a waster by nature. I don’t spend money needlessly or in excess, I try and find a home for my old things instead of trashing them, and I eat EVERYTHING off of my plate (and some of yours if you aren’t quick enough). So for me to toss what some would call “perfectly good electronics” I must have a good reason for it.

And I do.

It’s because what I threw out were not perfectly good electronics. They were cheaply made potential fire hazards posing as phone chargers, and they are dangerous. It is easy to get caught up in the allure of a good deal on a “popular online marketplace” by the insanely low price ($3.99 AND free shipping!) Or if you ever found yourself on the road low on battery popping into a gas station for quick (over-priced) cheaply made phone charger. The danger comes in the fact that these charging “solutions” do not pass the rigorous safety checks and compliance testing by accredited labs that brands like Elixage products do. It is extremely expensive to engineer and certify quality product, but extremely cheap to knock off design and ignore what’s inside, so we end up with an infinitesimal amount of “factory direct” online sellers and mass marketers selling cheap generic chargers at cheap prices.

The issue with these items is that as wall and vehicle chargers and cables of all types (USB-A, Micro-USB, USB-C, Lightning, the list goes on and on…) have grown to become “commodity” items we need in our daily lives, the desire to drive costs down also leads directly to cutting down on quality. And in the electronics business, and specifically in the power and charging business, that means cutting down on safety. Last year Amazon recalled over a quarter of a million “cheap” phone chargers for fire safety concerns. An article is linked at the end of this one with more details on that (and so you know I am not here only writing in my own self interests).

Now when I see people pull out a cheap charger I say “how could you do that?” So the next time you are searching online for party favor ideas, stick to the things that don’t need to get plugged in. And the next time you are in a market for a charger of any kind, spend a little more money on something that has been tested and certified for quality. Trust me, you won’t GET BURNED!

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