Squier is back!
The problem was that a battery had leaked & the electronics are obviously very sensitive to it. Energizers, even.
Fender was helpful and pleasant. But I was impatient.
Both my Best Buys had none on the shelf (they each had 1 last week). On a hunch, went back to a Best Buy I'd visited earlier and asked them to double-check stock. They had one in the warehouse.
(note: bestbuy.com lists the Squier as "no longer available" and has removed it from the product search. My 2 locals Best Buys have pulled their existing Squiers off the shelf. Recall?)
Set it up, and it works beautifully amped & in-game. I'm lucky, I guess, to get 3 Squiers that work OOB.
Recommendations for Squier owners:
• remove batteries when not playing
• get a better strap then the one supplied
• get a better MIDI cable then the one supplied
• strap locks