Because EA is super paranoid about security, I have to carry my ID badge where ever I go. If you work in an office building you probably have to do the same thing. Without my badge, I can’t take the elevator to my floor nor can I open the doors. Without the badge, I am useless. It’s also the place where I slip in my transit pass. On a daily basis, along with my wallet, it is an indispensable item.
There are several ways to ensure one keeps their badge with them at all times. One is to keep it in your wallet. This means all your important stuff is isolated in one spot. Unfortunately, sometimes your wallet is too thick for the card reader to read your access card inside of it. Second is to use a lanyard and put it around your neck. While this certainly works, I dislike having this thing swinging around your neck all day. Also, having to lean into card readers is annoying. A third option is to use a badge reel and that’s what I do. You can clip a badge reel into one of your belt loops. The badge then just dangles from your waist in retracted form. It’s much less noticeable this way. When you need to put it onto a card reader, you just pull the badge and it will unwind from the reel. When you’re done, you just let it retract automatically back into place.
The single greatest weakness about a badge reel is the filament that connects the badge clip to the reel. In the picture above, you can clearly see how thin it is. For cheap badge reels, the filament is generally made out of thin, synthetic thread. Since you’re constantly unwinding and retracting the reel, the filament gets pulled on constantly everyday. It doesn’t help that sometimes I unwind the reel and then whip my badge around in a circle. The badge always becomes useless because the filament breaks. I’ve never had one last more than three months, if that. In just under two years of working at EA, I’ve had at least seven badge reels break on me.
I usually buy my reels at the EA store but I think it’s time for the heavy-duty stuff. Apparently, they make badge reels with a steel wire filament. I wonder where I can buy these locally.
So there you have it, an entire post on a plastic card holder.