I must have accidentally stolen dozens of cables in my life. Never intentionally, really, but sometimes I look in my bag at the end of the week and there are four iPhone charging cables instead of one. And the other way around happens as well. I travelled to Sao Paulo with four cables to charge my iPhone and iPad and came home with only one.
I’m assuming nobody at our office steals thing knowingly, including me. But sometimes I’ll work in a meeting room, drop a cable on the floor without knowing it, then walk to my desktop, see a cable lying near there, and without really thinking about it assume that it is my cable. All those damn white Apple cables all look too much alike.
Sometimes I will be standing there with a cable and a co-worker trying to determine who a particular cable belongs to. “I think these are bite marks. Could be from an infant. Is this part of a cat hair? Is this blood or ketchup?”. Eventually we shrug and the person who needs it the most takes it.
There is a little trick that helps you keep track of your stuff though. It won’t prevent people from really stealing stuff, this is more to prevent the unfortunate mixups happening around the office.
What I do is I print my name, in a 7 or 8pt font size on a label printer. Of course, any printer will do if it can print on sticker material. I then cut these up and stick them to anything I own.
Now, if someone wants to steal your cable, this won’t stop them. But it will be easier to keep things apart and return them to their rightful owners, especially when you use them within your offices and there are more people around with iPhones and iPads.
Today we are traveling to New York for the first TNW Conference event there, and everybody brought their gadgets. I printed several labels for people to stick to their gadgets and hope that this time I will return home with as many cables as I left with.