Monday, 12 November 2012

Junk (e) Mail

I moved into my house well over two years ago and I still get an awful lot of post for the previous owners/tenants. Now I wouldn’t mind this if they ever received anything exciting but it seems as if they obsessively signed themselves up to every mailing list on the planet because I am repeatedly receiving catalogues, “special invitations” and vouchers for places I have never been or products I have never bought.

I don’t need more stuff congregating around my front door for me to slip on thank you very much. There are quite enough things just lying in wait to surf me dramatically from my front door to dining room, usually a discarded piece of Lego or (as this morning) a headless dead rat courtesy of Expensive Cats, followed by a pile of cat sick two footsteps later (rat head obviously a bit rich for greedy Expensive Cat). But aside from the inevitable trip hazard that comes from junk mail it annoys me because it’s such a waste. All of this un-read paper is completely undoing my good work of recycling my Coco-Pops box.

But it’s not so much the paper junk mail that bothers me, I made my peace with paper junk mail years ago, after the Dad had the awesome idea of putting interesting things in the enclosed freepost envelopes and sending them back (an unused teabag may have been quite useful, but I’m not sure the person who opened the marmite sandwich was quite as excited), somehow this helped me feel a little better about junk mail and hopefully provided a smile to some poor work experience student who had to open the post in the office that day. No, what really bothers me these days is emails.

I am not particularly exciting and I don’t get that many interesting emails. And because of this I don’t really keep on top of my inbox and often miss the really good stuff that I do get, like proper emails from friends and invites to get-togethers, because it gets buried amid a sea of “daily deals”.

I thought I was pretty careful about who I give my details out to, but judging by the state of my inbox it seems I am even less discerning than the previous owner of my house. Bonny at Lovehoney is becoming a particular pest. Those of you who have ever ordered anything from Lovehoney and mistakenly signed up to their mailing list so they can order things using their loyalty scheme (guilty) will know that the amount of emails you get from Bonny after ordering one thing about two years ago, is verging on stalking (for those of you that don’t know (hi Mum) Lovehoney is like Toys R Us for grown ups). Anyway, Bonny (and I’m not convinced that’s her real name) sends me daily, sometimes twice daily emails alerting me to daily deals or special offers. And while I quite like a bit of a browse round Lovehoney’s virtual shelves, it’s not the kind of place I drop into daily, like Tesco. Tesco don’t send me daily deals coupons and special offers, I might get one a month offering me special deals on my holiday insurance, which would be great if I actually ever went on holiday.

As well as Bonny I also get daily offers from Heather at Printer Inks. I often feel a bit sorry for poor old Heath, because she shows up in my inbox with her boring old printer inks right next to Bonny with her all singing, all dancing pink glitter vibrators, and I think this, rather unfairly, makes Heather come across as far more boring than she actually is in real life (not that I know either of them personally of course).

Ok, so I could unsubscribe, and some thoughtful companies have a miniscule “unsubscribe” button buried somewhere amongst the text of the email, which actually does unsubscribe you with one click. But some of them (and I suspect Bonny might be one of them) take you to a page that is wholly designed to prey on the unsure of themselves, like myself. “Are you sure you want to unsubscribe” so I click yes, “but if you unsubscribe you won’t have access to our daily deals! Are you sure you want to unsubscribe?” Resolve is now weakening slightly and hesitatingly click yes. “We also send you occasional very special offers only available to our subscribers, are you absolutely, one hundred percent, stake your life on it, POSITIVE that you don’t want access to these once in a lifetime offers?” Oh, go on then. And that is the very reason why my inbox is so full and why I completely sympathise with the previous owners of my house. Besides, my inbox wouldn’t be the same without Heather and Bonny, in fact I think I would feel rather lost and forlorn without them. 

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