Batteries not included

Batteries have never been my friends. There are far too many types and sizes and they are fickle, fading out, without so much as a by-your-leave, and always when you need them the most.

The tiny wafer-shaped creature that powers my car ignition remote just went toes up. I put it in my purse expecting to easily find a replacement. I ended up searching six major drug and grocery stores. Not one of them had the right size.

Had they somehow discontinued this battery size? And if so, why? Mine can’t be the only 2014 Prius remote that must need one.

Ah. Order it online, I think, feeling just a little smug. I googled the numbers written on the battery and ordered eight of them, since they are so scarce. They were even billed as car remote batteries. Are you surprised? The batteries arrived, with the same number on them, but the wrong size. Dagnabit!

Will I have to buy a new ignition remote? That will be $95, please, plus, it would probably have to be ordered and there has to be some cost at the dealer to sync it with your car locks. They might carry the batteries, but — well — I didn’t think of that, and they might not.

I have faced the disloyalty of car batteries (constantly in my youth), flashlight batteries, TV remote batteries, minivac batteries and even giant, electric, screwdriver batteries. But I did not quietly accept this trend.

I finally armed myself with a slick little portable charger for my last old banger. The first time I went to use it, I managed to hook the clips up backwards, immediately killing it dead in a shower of sparks. Most humiliating.

Having wonderful, outlet-free options in today’s world is a glorious thing, but it very much needs to somehow lose the risk factor. We need a loud early warning system on every single battery-powered device, right down to my tiny key remote. And we need to pass a law requiring that every store carry every battery every day. Yeah, and they need to make sure every woman can tell positive from negative on her car battery terminals. So there.

I’m getting all these on the ballot for the next election — because it wasn’t enormous enough this year — and I clearly need all the help I can get. The worst thing? I might have to use a key again. I well remember turning keys to start the car, searching for a clever person with jumper cables, and hand-rolling down car windows, but, my dear, I am simply out of the habit, and prefer to remain that way.

Jean Gillette is a freelance writer who is adjusting to the electronic age with equal parts glee and frustration. Contact her at


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