Unsubscribes

I have been trying to winnow down the number of eNewsletters and commercial email that I receive. Not the SPAM so much – that just goes right to the SPAM folder anyway – but the emails from online stores where I bought something once and, most importantly, the email from coaches and organizations where I gave my email to get quiz results or something from them.

People seem to think that once they have your info, it’s your challenge to take away from them the right to send you unsolicited stuff.

One coach required me to set up a password in order to get the results of my assessment. A password that, after looking at my assessment, I promptly chose to forgot. She sends me emails every few days. I tried to unsubscribe but apparently I can’t do that without my password. Right.

Another person who I had chatted with on LinkedIn signed me up for an eNewsletter that I just wasn’t reading. I decided to unsubscribe. His unsubscribe page required me to pick out pictures of buses and crosswalks and traffic lights to prove I am human, a task that convinces me every single time that I am unhuman because I can never get it right and I get prompted over and over and over again to keep trying. I finally sent him an exasperated email and he removed me.

Another one, which I actually read but only want to receive once a week, not every day, when I clicked change my subscription preferences gave me three pages of options, none of which was “just send this to me once a week.” I guess I’ll just keep throwing it in the trash 4 days a week.

This is ridiculous.

I get it. It’s soooo much cheaper and better for the environment for companies to send me emails. (Although I have read that the giant server farms that support a lot of this activity require A/C at levels that drain the energy grid – seriously, they run so hot that newer ones are being built in the arctic, although how long that will stay cool enough at this rate is questionable.)

But how is this good customer service?

If you’re a professional or an organization and I never open your emails, what makes you think that I am going to suddenly change my mind and start sending you money? It’s the same question that I ask myself when I open my physical mailbox these days. Catalogs from stores I used to shop at – well, I’m not buying clothes now because I never leave the house – straight to the recycling bin. Circulars from Real Estate agents – recycling. Cruise lines – hah! – bin. Political ads – one for me, one for my husband – into the bin. Financial prospecti, tear off the address label, and into the bin. Credit card applications – pull out the piece with my PII on it and throw the rest away. Bills – much as I’d like to discard them – open the envelope, pull out the bill, discard the envelope. A stack 3” thick reduced to 1/4”.

We’re all suffering from information overload these days.

A couple of months ago, I took a day off from work and did a digital detox. Phone, computer, TV off for a whole day. It was so relaxing. I read. I slept. I rested my brain. Lovely.

Even the slight detox I took while my husband was caregiving for his elderly parents a couple of weeks ago… Yes, I had to be online when I was at work, but I didn’t turn on the TV in the morning and I only watched an hour in the evenings – and not the news.

It’s amazing what a difference it made to my stress levels. My blood pressure came down. My spine straightened out. My shoulders dropped.

And I had so much time.

Time to read, time to write, time to complete the homework for the course I’m taking, to exercise, and to connect with friends.

Time seems in short supply right now.

It could be that it’s Tour de France season – 4+ hours of cycling / day is a lot of TV. It could be that the football season started last night. 4+ hours of cycling followed by 2 hours of football.

Who has time to sleep anymore?

Much less read everything in your inbox.

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