One Would Think It Would Not Be Too Difficult to Find a Charging Cable With 48 Hours’ Notice

What follows is a short complaint about a couple of things I have written about occasionally over the past couple of years: proprietary chargers and Amazon’s rapid decline in trustworthiness. I am prefacing it with this disclaimer because perhaps you do not want to read a complaint today or, very likely, ever. But maybe you do.

The proprietary charger in question is for a Garmin watch, and I really did hope to find one in just two days because I am meeting up with a traveler. I checked a couple of electronics and sporting goods stores here but because Garmin does not have the presence of, say, Apple, only a handful of places seem to stock their unique cables, and none that I could get to before Sunday afternoon.

But, hey, we have an Amazon Prime account — mostly, it seems, for “Jack Reacher”. Prime is a modern human-powered logistics marvel. If ever there was a time when it would save the day, it would be in unique circumstances like these, right?

Well, only if you have a certain level of comfort for pseudo-branded products of questionable quality. I tried, but I could not find a “Garmin” cable, only a bunch of ones from companies that do not really exist. Do any of them have a warranty? Will the off-brand business be around a couple of months from now? The cables are less expensive, to be sure, almost to a point where there is no need to make a quality product because they can be treated as disposable. I do not like that; it feels rather wasteful. And even if I felt comfortable buying one of these cables for someone else, it would not have arrived in time, so even the Prime promise did not work out.

To be clear, my problem is not that Amazon could not serve me up a cable in a matter of hours. It is that Garmin’s choice to use a proprietary charger created complication, and that the best marketplace solution is so sketchy. Virtually all of these cables were marked “Amazon’s Choice”, which does not mean what it implies.

This is far from a one-time problem with Amazon which, not so long ago, was a perfectly reputable online store. Not any longer. I just recently noticed the Frigidaire water filters I bought with Amazon have typos on the packaging and filters themselves that make me wonder if they are real. I thought I had found an authentic part after dodging obvious knock-offs and plenty of questionable ads, but it seems I may have been conned.

Everything about this feels dirty. I just wanted a charging cable, and I found myself annoyed by one brand’s protectionism and another’s self-destruction. Neither of those things help me in the moment, and they do not make me feel good as a little peek into the broader context they represent.