Opinion: Not subscribing to unsubscriber’s remorse


I am undertaking the unpleasant task of unsubscribing from all of my spam email. Unsubscribing is apparently not a word, or so says Microsoft Word when it places squiggly red lines under the term when I use it.

I understood when I began purging spammers that my chances of total success were unquestionably small. Initially, I was unfamiliar with exactly how to do it and was unaware that my address might be sold to other unreputable businesses. Was it unrealistic to pursue this? There was something scary about stepping into the unknown world of cyber marketing.

I was unnerved. It was unbelievable how much junk mail I had. To unsubscribe from a repeating promotion, you open one of the messages and search for a teeny, tiny, almost invisible link at the bottom of the email. Clicking on it redirects you to a website where you are asked a series of questions about this unthinkable decision you are about to make. The sender of the original email is, of course, unhappy with what you are about to do.

The page says, “We are sorry to see you go!” which makes me feel guilty. Have I unwittingly hurt their feelings? I am not an unsympathetic person.

There’s a checklist letting them know why you no longer want their mailings. If you don’t check off a box, you can’t unsubscribe. It’s unavoidable, if you want to be removed from their database. They ask you to indicate which statement(s) apply to your decision to unsubscribe. I have posted them here, and added a few sarcastic comments, which is not unlike me. I hope I don’t appear unhinged.

1.  ___I never signed up for your emails.

Check! (yes, that’s the reason I am unsubscribing).

2.  ___I get too many emails from you.

Check, again! (yes, and they seem to be unstoppable).

3.  ___This is not a product I use.

Another check! (ads for push-up bras, dating sites and survivor gear? How did I get on those lists?).

4,  ___The content was not what I expected.

Check! (In fact, it was totally UNexpected. That’s why I am Unsubscribing).

5.   ___The content is no longer relevant to me.

Check! (yes, it is totally unrelevant. Which Microsoft just told me also is not a word).

You do have the opportunity to un-unsubscribe right after you have just unsubscribed — for people who have unsubscriber’s remorse. I have felt this at times. The pressure to un-unsubscribe can be unbearable.

I frequently check to see if there are any new lists I should immediately unsubscribe from. Sometimes after reading dozens of unsolicited promotions, I wonder if I am going unsane. Microsoft says unsane is not a word, but I really think it should be.

P.S.:  I know this was a very bizarre column I sent to your newspaper. Now I wish I could unsend it.