Ah yes. Batteries. Can’t live with ‘em and can’t live without ‘em especially when it comes to good ol’ sex toys. While many products are being released with a plethora of new battery-charging technologies (USB chargers, anyone?), my heart and soul are forever dedicated to those fabulous AA, AAA, Cs and Ds. Yep, batteries.
Batteries and I go way back. I have always believed that every job I ever had would eventually be linked to my future life as a sex toy entrepreneur owning my own store, Grand Opening! Yes, I had a job for many months as a technical library assistant for, you guessed it, Duracell. True! And during that time and after working in so many areas of the sex toy biz, I learned so much about batteries and I’m going to share that info with you.
As we know, batteries come in all shapes and sizes and there are basically just a few sizes that are used in our industry. Let’s look at all of them after we learn about some basic battery care.
Probably the most important thing to know about the most common cylindrical batteries is that there is metal at both ends. I know you’re thinking “Duh” but did you know how careful you should be with them? Whenever the metal end touches anything metal, it will create a slow and painful death for your battery, slowly drawing energy from it and making it conk out much sooner than it should. Keeping your batteries in a pile or in a metal coffee can will kill them quickly. Best to store batteries on their sides, in a cardboard or plastic container so the ends won’t come in contact with anything metal. In fact, I store my batteries in a plastic pencil container and they fit in it pretty well.
Some people keep their batteries in the freezer but it is generally not recommended for today’s batteries as condensation can build up on them and in them. Best to store them at room temperature… in plastic or cardboard.
Getting back to storage and whether or not you should leave batteries in their designated products, well, think about it. If metal drains batteries and the battery contacts in vibrators are metal… well, better make that vibrator a dildo by keeping the batteries out of it until you’re ready to transform your toy into a vibrator to buzz away. Put those batteries in before you apply lube to your fingers and giblets and you should be good to go after that.
Another difference to be aware of is that of alkaline vs. carbon batteries. Carbon batteries are kind of old school: they are lighter in weight and sometimes don’t last as long as alkaline ones (more on that in a moment). But the thing is, if a vibrator runs particularly and peculiarly hot, one might want to switch over to the lesser-powered and not-as-hot carbon batteries. They will work as well without making your battery-powered vibrator feel as hot to the touch. Carbon batteries are often branded as Everyready batteries and Panasonic batteries and you can read the package as to what batteries are made of what.
Alkaline batteries are the industry standard these days with Duracell and Energizer leading the pack on these. They may run hotter than carbon batteries because of the more concentrated power but they do tend to last much longer.
Now, we also know that SIZE MATTERS! Before, the thinking was the bigger the batteries and the more of them, the more powerful the vibrator will be but since technology has outpaced popular thinking, there’s some suckers out there that sure pack a wallop and run on several teeny tiny batteries. So let’s see what size is all about…
The small “button” cell batteries, commonly known as LR44 (or A76 or AG13 size), are used in many small vibes, including those in cock rings. Stumbling around the web, I came across http://www.lr44batteryequivalent.org/ which really spells out a lot of info about these little suckers! You learn something new every day! Anyhoo, as a responsible retailer, make sure you sell replacement packs of these when you sell a smaller vibe that uses them. If your customer has to go out and buy them as hearing aid batteries, they run about $3 EACH that sometimes, when your gizmo has three of them in it, can be more than the toy itself. Selling the button batteries when you sell the product creates a nice, caring upsell you can offer to your customer and so be sure to ask your distributor who has them available.
I also entertain myself with the fact that the word “battery” in French is “une pile” – pronounced “peel” which to me sounds like “pill” which is exactly what these look like – but don’t swallow ‘em!
Let’s move up to the next size. Those pesky yet still used “N” batteries. I can see your eyes rolling now, my friends. I hate these batteries! They are smaller than a AAA battery in length but about the same circumference. Now here’s the rub: there are two different sizes of N batteries and they are not compatible with each other! Agh! There is a slight difference in the circumference and the nipple end (“What? Batteries have nipples?”), you know the positive end with the bump on it as opposed to the flat end, is a slightly different size between the two. I really wish manufacturers would dump this battery as they are tough to find replacements for. Sigh.
Next up are the common sizes of AA and AAA, both of which are readily available to the consumer. In my years of reviewing sex toys for XBIZ, only once did I come up with a vibrator that was powered by four AAAA batteries (so that would be four four A batteries – something a slight dyslexic would have a hard time figuring out). Good luck trying to buy AAAA batteries someplace… it would have been better to design a more consumer-friendly toy using readily available batteries to begin with.
Then come the larger and sometimes unwieldy C and D batteries and I don’t know about you, but I’d prefer to refer to C and D only when referring to bra sizes. They are big and clunky batteries to be slipping into toys and thank God they’ve pretty much gone by the wayside along with advertising for hard plastic, ivory-colored vibrators that were good for those “hard to reach places.” Keep them for your flashlights, folks.
Here’s a couple of more things about batteries. Make sure you have a battery tester available to test the batteries you have in your testing vibes at your store. When the batteries are weak in a vibrator, a vibrator will be weak, too, which can disappoint a customer looking for a good thrill. I’d say to check the batteries in the toys at least on a weekly basis and perhaps you’ll find some on a weakly basis (I couldn’t resist that one).
Also, remember that batteries make an excellent upsell item! Buy them in bulk (but please, not the ones that say “Kirkland” on them because we all know you hauled your sorry ass to Costco that week). Invest in Duracell or Energizers and offer them to your customer at the point of purchase and most of the time, they will buy them for a buck a piece just so they don’t have to go scrambling around at home to dig one out of the coffee can that won’t work anyway.
Besides which, if you offer them batteries in your store and it’s a long ride home, maybe they can try their gizmo even before they reach their destination.
I think I’ve been living in L.A. too long…
Next up! Vibrator care and feeding!
See ya on the next blog!
And now for JOTB (joke of the blog):
Once a little boy was walking with his mother and he came across a butterfly. He quickly stomped on the butterfly, killing it. His mother was appalled and yelled "That's it Matthew! No butter for you for a YEAR!" Matthew looked up at his Mom and replied "Whew! I'm glad it wasn't pussy willow!!"