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February 23, 2005 12:01 AM

Broken: Included batteries

S3600003S3600005Robert Lee writes:

I am in Iraq, and my mom recently purchased a set of binoculars with a built in digital camera. "Pretty kewl," I thot; however, Hammacher Schlemmer have a neat little marketing tool, they send you batteries with your purchase along with a little feel good message about their company.

As you can see in the picture with the batteries (and the marketing script) they are AA. But the camera requires AAA. This is broken. Next time forget the feel good stuff and just send the right batteries! Now I've wasted time reading the marketing stuff AND I STILL NEED GO TO THE PX!


I like the mention at the end about "not having to make the extra trip to the store for batteries."

Posted by: Ilan at February 23, 2005 06:39 AM

Poor as its implementation is, the "feel good system" is clearly *designed* to give you the right batteries - it explicitly says so, more than once.

This would be broken if the sending of batteries were without any consideration of what the customers needed (eg.: 'for your convenience, we have included a 12-pack of hearing aid batteries'.)

Clearly, this was just a dumb (likely human) mistake.

Since the *design* is not broken, I would class this as 'not broken'.

Posted by: DaveC426913 at February 23, 2005 09:24 AM

Good Lord! You'd think including batteries is akin to curing cancer or rescuing orphans from a volcano.

What I love is when I buy, say, a Sony DVD plater, the remote control comes with batteries... *Sony* labeled batteries. It's just a label over a generic battery, but what's the point? These are the things I think about.

Posted by: Citizen Of Trantor at February 23, 2005 10:52 AM

This is not broken. They are just trying to get to those few people that actually forget to pick up batteries with the thing.

I do admit it is a stupid error, and the company should feel ashamed.

However, if you notice on the instructions that it says that batteries are not included. So being thoughtful, I would buy the batteries at the store. Only to get home and find out, holy cow, it comes with batteries.

Posted by: Aaron at February 23, 2005 03:21 PM

The part about not having to go to the store for batteries is very ironic. How hard is it to supply the correct kind of batteries with the product? Oh maybe its one of those free gifts like you hear about on some commercials that they let you keep even if you return the product.

Posted by: Bob at February 23, 2005 04:53 PM


First of all, the package tells you that batteries are not included. Then, being nice, the company includes batteries, but they are the wrong kind. If this was just a simple human error, it's hard to see how it could have been made before mass production, where it was multiplied by a huge factor.

Posted by: fuzzy at February 23, 2005 05:53 PM

Since when is human error not broken? Searching far enough, everything broken can be traced back to human error, thus nothing would be broken.

Posted by: Ilan at February 23, 2005 08:27 PM

they say that machines never mess up, it is always user error

Posted by: joe plaugher at February 23, 2005 10:36 PM

mmm, i dunno, id gladly take AA's over AAA's anyday, i almost always need AA's, but hardly ever AAA's

Posted by: Dragon at February 24, 2005 12:01 AM

Why such an outpouring of sympathy for this company. A company goal is clearly printed on the bag that is included with the product. That goal was not met. The company wants the buyer to be "delighted" right from the beginning. Mr. Lee was not. This is broken.

Posted by: claude at February 24, 2005 07:42 AM

Dave C you are an idiot, design is human, to err is human, therefore be it design or human error it is an error that was producable and provable and that's what this site is about and therefore, BROKEN.

Posted by: Ed at February 24, 2005 08:05 AM

I second Claude. Don't tell the customer he can use the product right out of the package and not give him what he needs to use it right out of the package.

Hopefully someone at HS will see this, realize how much bad press they're getting over this and increase their quality control.

Posted by: Jay at February 24, 2005 08:51 AM

We need a definition of broken. Nearly every post ends up with this debate. I like broken defined at a high-level: I get a message from company to expect something, it doesn't happen that way = Broken. Humans goof up sometimes, but unfortunately those are some of the funniest examples of broken... but they are still broken.

Posted by: this is done broke at February 24, 2005 01:04 PM


I third Claude.

Posted by: Shadow at February 24, 2005 04:21 PM


Posted by: fuzzy at February 24, 2005 05:47 PM

Really what is broken is that Robert lee is in Iraq in the first place.

God bless our troops

Posted by: Mercy at February 24, 2005 05:58 PM

it says 2 aaa's not included, so maybe they wrote the manual afterwards, signifying they goofed and didnt take the time or effort to replace the batteries with the correct kind.

Posted by: Ducky at February 25, 2005 05:22 PM

Mercy's telling GOD what to do, WOW , now thats power.... But, Is it broken ?

Posted by: ted at February 26, 2005 09:00 AM

I love the toys that come with batteries and when they die you have to break them in order to change the batteries. You return the duct-taped toy to your child who is now acting like Linda Blair on steroids. My other favorite toys are the ones that drive you crazy yet the batteries never die so you can't say "well the batteries are dead and remember what happened to Big Bird when his batteries died, we now have to throw it away." But the toys that are so cool that you never hear from your child need new ones every day. *Just a mom's point of view*

Posted by: Poindexter T Quakenfuss at March 10, 2005 11:59 AM

we always got bateries in the house

Posted by: Max at June 8, 2005 11:46 AM

"Kewl" is not a word.

Posted by: tim at August 21, 2005 03:34 PM

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