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Electric Dreams - Why We Never Have Enough Batteries

Jun 17, 2008
Not long ago it was my little boy's birthday, and he received a fair mountain of exciting looking toys. Everything seems to be interactive these days. When I was his age I was the active one, but it seems that today there is an expectation that the toy will be every bit as active as the child playing with it. His happy face as he looked eagerly at the spectrum of shiny plastic with flashing lights and happy faces, large shiny buttons calling out to be pressed so that they can leap into action and start performing feats certain to dazzle and amaze.

But to begin with, we all just sat there looking at the boxes, because we knew one thing. They'd all need batteries. Every year it's the same - we realise our mistake and think that next year we'll be one ahead of the toy manufacturers and have a full set of batteries in every size and colour, rechargeable and disposable, small, large, square and ready to inject life into the inanely grinning but stubbornly static creatures, frozen in mid grin, snarl or thought. Yet every year, by the time we are ready to rip open this myriad of electric power we realise that, yet again, we have forgotten to buy any. There might be one or two old batteries rolling around at the back of the kitchen drawer, although they'll probably be of different sizes, and one of them won't work.

At which point we start raiding the electric gadgets around the house that may have batteries in. Our cannibalistic rampage through the house reveals just how many things have batteries. These small innocuous little cylinders of power seem to be everywhere. The remote controls - all four of them, have at least two each packed away in their little chambers, the radio, the alarm, the egg timer - so many batteries, and so many different sizes.

It's always the bigger toys that take those really huge batteries - the ones that almost seem as big as toilet roll inserts, and nothing in the house has those in them. I think my old radio used to, but these days everything else has slimmed down, and now it's just those thin ones left. Is it just me, or do other parents become so desperate that they start shoving the little batteries into the backs of toys that need big ones, cramming the space with silver foil? To no avail, the toy still glares at me with its inane grin and boggle eyes that seem to be gloating at my ineptitude, its grin becoming a sneer at my failure to fulfil the simple duty of a parent to always have a stash of suitable batteries lest my child fall foul of having to experience patience. These toys are interactive for goodness' sake, how are they supposed to cope if they don't have batteries in them? They might almost have to use their imagination for a while, and won't that be just awful?

It's usually at about this point, or at least, right after I've gouged a hole in my thumb with the screwdriver I was using to try to prise the back of the stubbornly inactive toy, that I notice what my child is doing; he's having a whale of a time, thoroughly enjoying himself as he creates his own game, with the cardboard box the toy came in. And it didn't even need batteries.
About the Author
Victor Epand is an expert consultant about kids toys, dolls, and video games. You will find the best marketplace for kids toys, dolls, and used video games at these sites for kids toys, interactive toys, batteries, dolls, and used video games.
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