What a pain to try to find the replacement battery for your Panasonic answering machine.

Not anymore.

This is a very simple one, but voilà: You need batteries? Click here.

The only reason I even offer this to you is that none of the obvious (to me) things worked. I just assumed there would be a brilliant site called www.batteries.com where you could quickly get any kind of battery you wanted. But no: When I tried that, I got a "no such address" message. Not even "under construction." (Quick, Mr. 1-800-Batteries — grab that address and make it synonymous with your own!) I just assumed that if I typed PURCHASE BATTERIES into my search engine, I’d get to the right place. But no. I can’t now reproduce it, but somehow when I tried this, hoping for quick success, I got to a bunch of articles about European battery standards. (I admit this is odd. Today, no matter what I type in the search field — kumquats — I seem to get to 1800batteries. But I swear: I wasn’t getting it before.)

Indeed, after some considerable time thinking about how frustrating it was not being able to get these batteries … stores don’t have them, the prospect of calling Panasonic was mind-numbing ("Press one if you have a Touch-Tone phone …") … and with the phone beginning to beep more and more frequently indicating BATTERY LOW … and not wanting to buy an entirely new answering machine as a last resort ("Press two if you do not have a Touch-Tone phone") … what should arrive in my actual, physical mail but: a holiday catalog from 1-800-BATTERIES, complete with its Web address prominently across the cover: www.1800batteries.com.

Are there cheaper places to get batteries? No doubt. You could, for example, check out the somewhat lower-end www.batteryguys.com. (Quick, Battery Guys — grab www.batteries.com and make it synonymous with your site!) Or if you’re really in no hurry ("Press three if you’d like to buy a Touch-Tone phone …"), you could just wait until Amazon.com gets a new tab for batteries — BOOKS MUSIC GIFTS BATTERIES — up at the top of its page.

And speaking of Amazon … (tune in tomorrow, if I haven’t killed myself first)


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