I’ve bought plenty of batteries from batteries.com over the years, but the alkaline AA cells I picked up last year have been a real disappointment: some had very short service lives. It took quite a while to figure this out, as I mentioned there, and when I finally got around to checking the rest of the package, most of them were dead… in Spring 2009 with a 12-2012 date code.
One characteristic of the weak / dead cells is that the negative terminal is swollen, even on the deaders direct from the package. This picture shows four cells removed from service: the front two are used with some remaining charge, the rear two are dead.
When I checked the package, most of the dead-on-delivery cells had swollen bottoms, so I suspect they had a manufacturing problem with at least one batch of cells.
A query to batteries.com asking about this got no reply. Perhaps they were busy dealing with the aftermath of their security breach?
A 48-pack of alkaline cells from the late Circuit City, bought about the same time, seems just fine.
Memo to self: check the bottom!