Fisher Price Includes Batteries, But Not Ones That Work

Dana is annoyed that the Fisher Price toy she bought for her baby promised her that batteries were included. They were in the box all right, but they were dead. In fact the manual Fisher Price enclosed with the toy suggests you immediately replace the included batteries with new ones.

Yesterday, I bought a Fisher-Price toy for my baby (specifically, the ‘Laugh and Learn Fun with Friends Musical Table’) at Babies r Us. The box clearly says ‘Batteries Included’, with a picture of a battery in case there is any doubt. I checked this in the store because I knew we were low on batteries at home and didn’t know if I needed to buy more right then and there. I get the toy home, open the box, and the toy doesn’t work at all. When I open the manual, it says ‘For best performance, we recommend replacing the batteries that came with this toy with three, new alkaline “AA” batteries’. So Fisher Price sold this toy with DEAD batteries, and tells you in the manual (not the outside package) that you’ll need to replace them.

The only way this might make some sense is if the toy had been out on display and people were playing with it in the store, draining the batteries there. But it wasn’t out on display or easily accessible, it was under a large stack of similar toys and I had to dig it out.

Anyway, I found this super misleading and really hope it isn’t a trend because I was planning on buying a lot of Fisher Price stuff over the next couple years.


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  1. raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

    So … this is the end result of all of those “battery recycling” programs, huh? :/

  2. Ominous Gamer says:

    “But it wasn’t out on display or easily accessible, it was under a large stack of similar toys “

    Which honestly doesn’t give a flipping clue for how often other people played with this toy during its shelf life.

  3. bigdave914 says:

    Meh, if this is an open sided toy that lets you “Press Here” to see what it does or something like that, if alot of people tried it in the store then yes the batteries would be dead. Not really Fisher Price’s fault.

  4. Eat The Rich -They are fat and succulent says:

    Just because they include batteries doesn’t mean they can guarantee they will be fully charged and factory fresh when you buy the product months/years down the line.

    Buy new batteries and get on with life.

  5. Salty Johnson says:

    Well… they DID include batteries.

    Please don’t hit me.

  6. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    The cheapies they include are typically zinc carbon batteries, which suck in energy density and shelf life. :(

  7. NOS says:

    Maybe suck it up and buy some batteries for the house?

    it is common knowledge that the batteries that are included with electronic devices are almost always crap. Unless the package is touting that the included batteries are Duracell or Energizer (or another name brand) they come with crap batteries that do not last long.

    OP mentioned that she had to dig the box out to get to it. Just because the package is buried under a pile of the same product doesnt mean it was always in the back (Item could have been moved from another shelf, might have been the from item on the other display)

  8. backinpgh says:

    That’s wasteful if nothing more.

  9. aja175 says:

    Batteries have a shelf life. Especially the cheap ones companies include with their gizmos.
    Suck it up and spend the $4.

    • Southern says:

      A lot of these toys (and other electronics) that say “Batteries Included” use those cheap generic knock off batteries from China that you can buy in any dollar store for $1.00 per 16 batteries or so. Their useful life is around 5 minutes once you break them off the carboard blister-style pack.

      Get yourself a good battery charger (like a La Crosse) and some 2600MA NiMH “AA” batteries from Walgreens or Walmart and you’ll never have to worry about needing batteries again.

      I’ve got about 20 that I cycle through in my camera, and I can’t even estimate how many tens of thousands of pictures & movies I’ve taken on just those 20 batteries.

    • Clyde Barrow says:

      And do what I did three years ago; buy rechargeable batt’s and I haven’t purchased new ones since about March of 2007. Now days they have sizes D, C, and 9-volt rechargeable batt’s. I used AA and AAA in my TV and Xbox remotes and they’ve paid for themselves 20 times over and then some.

  10. Osi says:

    I have noticed dead batteries in all electronics that come with “new” batteries. Even if these “new” batteries are still wrapped up.

  11. Yoya says:

    This toy could have been on the shelf for a long time already, and someone came along and pushed it to the back when they were restocking the new shipment.. Go to the store and pick yourself up a big pack of batteries.. You need them anyway if you have kids, they go fast.

  12. subtlefrog says:

    Here’s a thought. If you plan to buy a lot of battery operated stuff over the next few years, why not just buy some good rechargeables and chargers?

  13. MDSasquatch says:

    I buy my batteries at COSTCO; they have the 50-count packs of AA and AAA batteries for

    • MDSasquatch says:

      Why is this site cutting off all my post halfway through?

      • Awjvail says:

        Because they like to leave people in suspense…

        They have great deals on batteries! They sell them for………………………………………….

    • MDSasquatch says:

      less than $10

    • Clyde Barrow says:

      Costco is where I buy my rechargeables. Not saying this to you, I have no idea why anyone would buy the old non-chargeable types; the cost avoidance is far more than buying alkaline and today all types of batteries come as rechargeable.

  14. Tedicles says:

    Ok, this is how it works (I deal with this on a weekly basis)…. consumers and vendors want to inflate the value/price of an item by including batteries. It allows sellers to increase the price by having added value. Due to real-world logistics and trade rules, items at the store may very well have been manufactured months (if not years ago) and the batteries simply will not hold a charge that long. Especially since the products many times sit in warehouses that are not climate controlled, and if you notice most the of batteries included are from no-name manufacturers.

    Before anyone else begins to complain that we should be importing items in a more timely manner, you should know that it works this may because people expect a certain price point for the products that they purchase. Would the OP still buy the same item with an additional $10 cost? I doubt it.

    FYI, delivery times for cheap consumer products from China today are anywhere from 30 (at the VERY low end) days to 120 days (ie 4 MONTHS) before they even get shipped to the USA.

  15. MrsLopsided says:

    The OP didn’t “Press Here” to test it when in the store?

  16. Mariushm says:

    No, the manual says that the batteries the toy comes with are regular batteries and that he/she should replace them with the newer alkaline kind (that have different chemistry) and long laster.

    The batteries inside may be just too old… the old style batteries lose their charge in months and the ones toys come are usually weak anyways…

  17. BigSchem says:

    The box said “Batteries Included” it didn’t say “WORKING Batteries Included”

    Besides…who’s to know how long that particular item has been sitting on the shelf? The power on the batteries could have drained while it sat on the shelf…just sayin’…

  18. SteveZim1017 says:

    its a conspiracy with babys R us, you can’t buy anything there without them asking if you need batteries.

    “do you need new batteries for your uh… bibs?”

    no thanks I’m good

  19. jimmyhl says:

    I see the OP’s point. I think she should return the item.

  20. bcsus83 says:

    New parent alert! ;) Batteries die from just sitting, too. The only toys I have ever purchased for my children (ages 6 and 4) that included batteries that actually worked for longer than a day or two have been the most irritating of all toys–cheapy $10 keyboards from Walmart. haha! My oldest son has gone through 3 or 4 of them (thanks to swimming pools, leaving them outside in the rain, puking on them, etc.), and never once have I had to put a battery in them. Anything else? Yup. Every parent knows, even if a toy comes with batteries, you will be replacing those batteries pretty much right away, even if you reach to the back of the shelf to grab one that doesn’t seem to have been played with.

  21. coren says:

    It wouldn’t be the first time that batteries had just outlived their lifespan and didn’t work anymore. But no, it must be a trick or conspiracy!

  22. failurate says:

    The OP has her expectations set way to high. You should always just assume that the batteries included are long past expired and dead, that way when they are not, you will be pleasantly surprised, and when they are, you’ll be prepared with replacement batteries.

    • failurate says:

      Does anyone else purposely seek out the loudest, most obnoxious toys as gifts for their friends’ and family’s kids? If I could get away with it, I would buy them nothing but strobe lights and air-horns.

      /Does not have kids.

      • JulesNoctambule says:

        I would, if my friends/family didn’t know where I live. As it stands, they can take revenge.

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        years ago when i worked in a toy store everyone would buy the alkaline batteries for christmas and we’d end up with lots of expired “heavy duty” batteries a few months later.
        the cost came out about the same – 4 AAA alkaline was the same price as 8 AA heavy duty and the heavy duty ones lasted half as long.
        we had a push to sell the heavy duty ones so we weren’t stuck with them. every time i had a parent in line with a loud obnoxious toy i would say
        “would you like to buy some alkaline batteries which will keep those walkie talkies running all day long? or two packs of these heavy duty ones? the same price but the first set will run out before christmas dinner and you can change the batteries later when you’ve had time to recover.”
        any parent with a kid more than a couple of years old went for it.
        my boss about died the first time i said it but the guy bought 6 packs of batteries so i was allowed to keep saying it

      • Tom Foolery says:

        When i ran a KB Toys there was this really obnoxious machine gun toy we sold. Any time an uncle came in the store looking for a toy for his nephew, i sold one.

        We also had these annoying kiddie electronic drum sets and keyboards. You’d think the drums would be more annoying, but you ain’t heard nothing til you’ve heard a 3 year old banging away on a keyboard while it auto-plays “silent night” and the kid sings along, out of key.

  23. AI says:

    Writing to the Consumerist because of 3 AA batteries? Weak.

  24. Rachacha says:

    So this Fisher Price toy is apparently made by Apple and you can not replace the batteries?

    Replace the batteries and move on.

    My advice to all parents is to purchase rechargable batteries or purchase batteries in Bulk and keep them on hand as you will need them. I go to Costoc and purchase multiple bulk packs of batteries in different sizes and store them in a cool place…you never know when the 2 year old will have a “battery emergency” because the sound effects on the fire truck have stopped working.

  25. Outrun1986 says:

    Batteries can die even just from sitting, its completely true. I have had batteries that have come right out of a package bought in a store be dead or leak even though the date on the battery still had several years left on it. If you buy a pack of batteries its quite possible to find a dead cell or 2 in it, in that case just return the batteries to the store.

    If you have kids, or use a lot of batteries, buy one of those cheapo battery meters, you don’t even need a fancy one just one that will tell you if the battery is good or dead. This way you can measure batteries out of the package to make sure you didn’t get a dead cell.

    I find that in toys with just a few effects batteries will last pretty long, I pick up plenty of toys at yard sales that have batteries in them with plenty of life left. If the toy has more to it then the batteries will go faster. If your kid plays with the toy a lot then the batteries might die faster too.

    If you have kids or use a lot of batteries I recommend picking up both a bulk pack of alkaline batteries (these can even be bought at places like home depot or radio shack if you don’t have a costco or sams nearby) and some rechargeable batteries. You won’t want to use rechargeables for everything because kids lose toys and forget about toys, which also means you would lose your expensive rechargeable batteries. Put alkalines in the low drain toys and rechargeables in the higher drain toys. For rechargeables get a GOOD charger like the Lacrosse BC700 or BC9009 which you can buy at amazon and buy LSD cells which are low self discharge (usually labeled “pre charged” on the package). Don’t buy regular ni-minh cells when you can get the newer hybrid or pre-charged cells.

    Parents waste so much money buying the small packages of 4 batteries each then they complain there are no batteries in the house when they get a new toy, plus those small packages of batteries cost around $3-6 each here and you can get rechargeables for just a little more, especially when you are talking AAA batteries. That is why I recommend the bulk pack if you are going the disposable route.

  26. Razor512 says:

    They said batteries included but they never said “Working” batteries included. :)

  27. dg says:

    Take it back to the store. They can either give you a refund or free batteries. Their choice.

    Once enough of these things get RTV’d – the vendor will be on the hook for fines from the merchant, and they’ll get batteries that work… Or a coupon on the outside of the box good for free batteries right then…

  28. El_Fez says:

    ‘For best performance, we recommend replacing the batteries that came with this toy with three, new alkaline “AA” batteries’

    This is new? *EVERY* single battery powered toy I’ve bought in the last decade has said this. The demo batteries are just to show off how sexy it is on the shelf, not act as replacement batteries.

    Besides – who doesn’t test their toy at the store. My hard and fast rule: always hit the “Try Me” button before you leave.

  29. HelloClairice says:

    OP here. Yeah, I know this isn’t an enormous deal and we’ve since bought ourselves a good rechargeable AA 50-pack. What struck me as misleading was the mention in the manual (not the box) that the batteries may be dead and you just need to go ahead and replace them now. I’ve bought a lot of similar toys with a lot of similar crummy Chinese batteries, but never anything with DEAD batteries that admitted as much in the manual. I guess my expectations were too high.

    I should have tested the toy in the store, but I had a 5-month-old shrieking in my ear. Me and every other customer at Babies r Us.

  30. Dyscord says:

    Put a fresh battery on a shelf and let it sit there for god knows how long. Chances are it’s going to be dead or nearly dead. The reason why that message is printed in the manual is because there’s a chance that the battery is going to go dead.

  31. sopmodm14 says:

    toys and other electronic items come with demo batteries, so as time passes by, or through in-store demonstrations by customers and staff, it naturally wears out

    its nothing to say of their quality (usually), so if popping in fresh batteries doesn’t do the trick, it can be considered defective

    even if new batteries were added, batteries do wear out

  32. Charmander says:

    To the poster that said: Buy some new batteries and get on with your life.

    I agree!

  33. valdesv1 says:

    You have no idea how many people could have possibly played with that toy during the time it was in the store. Fisher Price toys are meant to be played with even inside the packaging, and as someone who works at a Babies R Us, I always find toys in the “ON” setting on the shelves, because for the twelve hours the store is open, kids continuously run along the toy department playing with these toys. It’s no wonder they’re usually dead by the time someone else purchases the toy and takes it home.