Friday 13 April 2012

Supposed Former Infatuation Junk Email

I’ve let the number of junk emails I receive mount up again. I had a spurt of unsubscribing from them about a year ago but somehow they’ve crept up; I spend more time deleting emails that I couldn’t giving a flying fuck about than I do reading emails that are of some interest to me. In the interests of full disclosure I must add that no-one really emails me so it’s only to be expected that the majority of emails I get be junk. I get a lot of junk though – like the amount J-Lo has in her trunk. Yeah, you’re right to be thinking ‘that’s quite a lot of junk – she has a grand old ass.’

This week, for example, I got an email from Lionel Richie, not from his personal account – it was a mailing list type email. How the fuck am I getting on a Lionel Richie email list? I’ll tell you how because I never untick boxes when I am using my email address to get something I want. And when you leave the ‘please send me emails about similar artists’ box on a form to get emails about 13th century Welsh choirs that inevitably leads emails about Lionel Richie. [Logic= they both use their mouths to make noises with, and are therefore similar. Similarly I will get sent email from Amazon about repair manuals for a defunct model of Ford Van because it is classed as a book and I once bought a pencil; the logic that these are similar is that Amazon sell both products.]

It is not just Lionel Richie. It is everyone. Amazon are bad – I looked through milk frothers once, for about 10 minutes. Ok, it was for about an hour and it was one of the better hours of my life. But it was just that once. And this isn’t the ‘just this once’ of someone caught with their fingers in the cookie jar (taking heroin), I have actually just looked once at milk frothers on Amazon. They send me an email at least once a week with lists of milk frothers on it. Every week.

Gap: stop emailing me telling me there is a 30% off offer ending next Tuesday. The oh-no-I’d-better-take-advantage-of-this-once-in-a-lifetime-offer sense dissipated the nineteenth consecutive week I had a fucking Gap email telling me the offer would be gone next week. It is the email marketing equivalent of pretending to be pregnant to snare someone [well only if someone was doing it every week. Actually it’s not equivalent at all really, someone did do it to me once and it was a lot more annoying than an email off Gap offering me slightly cheaper clothing].

The Labour Party are no better. Constantly asking me to go leafletting or go to a meeting. Well I’ll tell them this for nothing: I shall start treating them like a political party when they ruddy well start acting like one.

In my defence part of the reason I don’t unsubcribe to a lot of them is that I get the email during the day and the pages of websites are too technologically advanced for my 26-year-old work PC to handle. I am not sure why I am building a defence here, I seem to have put myself on trial for something that is not a crime and no-one cares about*.

Unsubscribing from emails can be quite traumatic. When I clicked on the Lionel Richie unsubscribe link the other day it opened up a page as you have probably seen. Are you sure you want to unsubscribe? it asked. After I clicked on ‘yes’ the screen faded to a picture of my parents stood by a grave and then Lionel Richie’s own voice said, very softly, out of my laptop speakers “fuck you, Phil, I don’t need you to subscribe to my fucking emails you fucking little prick. I was only letting you read my email updates out of pity. I hope you die and that your parents cry at the side of your grave like they are in this picture. I expect you’re wondering how I got this image; normally I wouldn’t tell you but experiencing the short burst of euphoria one can only get from angel dust and I will explain that I have 20 or so experts working full time to maintain a database of pictures of everyone in the world’s parents stood by a grave so I can send them to people.”

That might seem deeply disturbed but it is just one example of the emotional blackmail at the heart of email marketing. Glenn Murphy, the CEO of Gap has been sleeping on the landing outside my flat since Tuesday when I unsubscribed from their emails. He keeps slipping notes under the door telling me things like ‘I’ve just had to sack someone because I can’t email you anymore’ or ‘just come in the store once a year and subcribe to the emails, you don’t even need to buy anything. If you don’t I’ll kill someone’s baby.’ It’s getting to me: his latest gambit was to carve 30% off into his forearm with a dirty piece of smashed glass he found in a bin.

I like the ambitious, optimistic ones. I unsubscribed from one of the 62 music event email lists that violate my inbox the other day and the unsubscribe button immediately turned into a subscribe button and had a message that said I was welcome back if I had changed my mind. I suppose I am not changeable as some people but really, who goes to the extent of clicking on a link in an email to stop sending the emails then clicks on another button on a website to confirm this wish only to think ‘nah actually this was a mistake, the last 4 seconds have made me reconsider’? Probably enough people press the button by accident/stupidity to make it worthwhile.

Whatever. Er, I mean..whatevz.

*If anyone is really witty and knows stuff about trials that have gone on for years and cost millions about some nonsensical legal/bureaucratic thing, can they let me know and I’ll change the wording so it ends something like “I seem to have put myself on trial for something that is not a crime and no-one cares about, much like when Jerze Burst sued Venice.”

Picture of the Day No. 33902

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