Batteries Not Included: An Open Letter To Manufacturers

By Brian Swichkow

Dear Makers of Things,

In my 30+ years on Planet Earth, I have yet to find a greater thrill than opening a new toy. Be it a birthday gift or an Amazon Prime delivery, I’m as giddy as a Price is Right Contestant hearing “Come on down!”

That moment when anticipation meets deliverance is a thing of beauty.

Yet there is a dark side to this moment of reception. Let me share with you a sad moment from my otherwise golden childhood. In September of 1989, I received a birthday gift, beautifuly wrapped in Lisa Frank paper and topped with a purple bow. Eyes wide, heart pounding, I gingerly separated scotch tape from giftwrap, praying to the Lord above that my parents had picked up on the several thousand hints I had dropped. And that they did. That fateful day my childhood dreams came true and I became a proud owner of a Lite-Bright.

I thanked my parents profusely as I unboxed my sweet treasure. Pattern set, pegs in place, I flipped the power switch to the on-position and... nothing. No magical colors. No glowing lights. Nothing. Crestfallen, I turned to my mom who said, “I guess the batteries aren’t included.”

The batteries aren’t included. What kind of monster sells a highly anticipated, battery-powered child’s toy without the batteries?! 

As I would grow to find out, this twisted form of delayed gratification is common in the production world. From toys to electronics, companies just pump out their goods, slap on a little “batteries not included” disclaimer, and go on their merry ways.

Well, my inventive friends, I’m here today to take a stand. Enough is enough. From kids toy to Bluetooth speakers to feathery cat toys, if it is battery powered, for the love of all things good and true, sell it with the batteries included.

I’m begging you, imploring you, just tack on the price and include the power source with your packaged goods. Think of the children on Christmas day! Think of the couch potato unable to switch from HGTV to Nick at Night? What about them?

Looking forward to swift action and a prompt reply.