Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Unsubscribe Me – Please

Warning: Today I rant.

At the moment I am fuming about a problem endemic in our connected society. At least I have found it an ongoing, annoying issue. I do not know if others are faced with the same dilemma. Although it is not a dangerous or costly concern, it is irritating, at times maddening, and definitely frustrating.

So here goes:

Why is it so easy to subscribe to various websites and receive a constant barrage of ads, news alerts, solicitations or whatever – and so difficult to unsubscribe?

Theoretically by scrolling down to the bottom of an email – first of course locating a magnifying glass so the fine print can be discovered and studied - there is a link to unsubscribe, or maybe it says:

If you no longer want to receive emails
from this company, click here.

Clicking produces a screen saying something like:

Verify that you no longer wish to receive
our valuable emails by checking the box below.

Sometimes a follow-up screen wants to know why I no longer wish to receive this particular company’s correspondence, or wonders if perhaps I would like to receive their valuable materials less often (once a week? once a month? exclusive promotions only? holiday products? sales announcements? midnight madness extravaganza offers? cyber Monday markdowns? new product news? Try NEVER).

So I click through, check off the boxes, and wait for my slew of emails to be reduced by at least one.

Unfortunately too often nothing happens. The steady barrage of emails from the company continues unabated.

What could I have done wrong that the company rejects my request?

Sometimes my user name and password are requested. A lot of times I do not remember the information because I used the site to buy an item once – probably months or even years ago. I have a lengthy password file, but occasionally forget to add a new one. I use the same password for lots of websites – a no-no, according to Internet security gurus – but at my age I forget too much to fool around changing (and remembering) passwords all the time.

Occasionally I mark an email as junk and hope future emails are immediately relegated to the junk or spam folder. Sometimes it works, sometimes not.

So what is the secret to getting rid of unwanted on-going emails?

I am more careful nowadays about giving retailers my email address, not wanting to be bombarded with ads and tired of scrolling through the junk before arriving at one I actually want to read.

Then there are the totally unsolicited emails that magically appear in my inbox. They arrive and I wonder – where the h*** did that company get my information? Probably purchased from another retailer, or some company that now collects and sells the information. Once again I waste my time attempting to get rid of the unwanted messages.

I guess I should feel good that so many companies want my business. I am wanted. I am solicited. I am sought out, petitioned, implored to read the correspondence and ACT NOW! I am supposed to drop whatever I plan on doing, grab my credit card (or PayPal information) and CLICK THIS BUTTON IMMEDIATELY!

I am afraid it is a losing battle.

So here is my plan. I am going to set up a new email account and begin giving it to retailers and those annoying websites demanding that YOU CANNOT PROCEED FURTHER WITHOUT GIVING US YOUR EMAIL NOW.

I will never have to actually scan through the emails. I will know, even if it says there are 25 - 50 - 100 or more emails, that every single one of them belongs in the round – a.k.a. discard - file.

There is another possible solution. I can give my email address and, by mistake, key one or two incorrect characters. Of course that is not an honest thing to do, so I will open that other email account…

Soon – maybe a month, a year, a decade from now – my ‘real’ email account will be devoid of advertisements and solicitations.

But then I wonder – will I get any emails at all?

Will anyone out there not wanting me to buy something want to correspond with me? 

Time will tell.