Remember When We Weren’t On All These Mailing Lists?

Is it just me, or do I end up on a mailing list with everything I buy online? They made it sound so easy to buy online. Go to the website, search for the item, compare to the prices on Amazon, read the reviews, discard the bad reviews from customers that sound like just didn’t know what they were talking about and so their review cannot be trusted, enter in your credit card information and then get your item. Piece of cake! But they never tell you about the mailing lists. 

They never tell you how you’ll spend more time deleting emails from their mailing lists than you will enjoying the product you bought. That should be the Prop 65 warning! Who cares about the unhealthy chemicals? We’re surrounded by unhealthy chemicals. I want to know how much time will be stolen from me in reading and deleting mailing list emails.

It is almost as if they think that by sending me lots of emails showing their new products, I’m going to buy something I don’t need just because there’s a pretty picture of it in my inbox. Don’t these online retailers know that they way people buy things is by deciding first what they need, then going on a calm, reasoned, methodical search for the product that will best meet that need, and at the lowest price, regardless of who the retailer is?

And why would the attractiveness of the photo matter? You ever see the way these products are set up? The photographers made less fuss over me in my fifth grade school photo (although to be frank, no one was going to be interested in the photos except my parents and grandparents and whomever else got one of the 10 precious wallet-sized pictures…and I assure you, they would not be paying a dime for the photos or even myself in flesh and blood, even if shipping was included) than over a chair and a pillow in an email.

Imagine that there were mailing lists for people? Like, everytime I got a new shirt, or a haircut, or changed up my shaving routine there was an email that went out to a mailing list, letting them know and advertising the opportunity to get more of me for a discounted price. Who would be on the mailing list? How would someone get on it?  It would have to be anyone who ever complimented me on anything, for a compliment is a way of buying my product, isn’t it?

Wait a minute…sending updates of appearances and routine and everything else in life to a list of friends of family…isn’t that what Facebook does?  Is Facebook really a big mailing list for the store that is each one of us. And it’s completly free! Except of course for the time we have to spend on it to consume each others’ products.

Which brings us back to the time spent reading and deleting the emails from the online retailers’ mailing lists (or, if you’re like me, not deleting out of care for the time that went into their preparation). 

There is always the unsubscribe button, isn’t there? Yes, assuming you can find it. Computers today have accessibility features that can enlarge 1 point font into something readable. But how do you find the word ‘Unsubscribe’ to enlarge? Like the shoal waters of the Mississippi to Mark Twain, you just have to know its there from experience. And just like every superhero has a weakness, every email from a mailing list has an unsubscribe button. You can count on it.

And now all you have to is follow the unsubscribe procedures. But that’s another story for another day.