You’ve Got Unsubscribe Issues!


Work-related communication aside, I get upwards of 300 emails per day.  I wish I could say I’m bragging, but it’s not about that.  It’s not that I’m sooooo popular (I can barely get my friends on my favorites list to return my phone calls) or anything.  Those days ended in middle school, when my fellow female classmates hit puberty, too, and my precocious little breasts stopped being unique and exciting.

A maximum of 20% of my emails are addressed to me personally. Out of those 20%, about half are only addressed to me because an e-robot has managed to learn my name.  But alas, “Dear Grace, Stylish picks for you this Fall…” does not count as knowing my name. So, 10%.

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My inbox, in a nutshell.

10% People / 90% Robots. Pretty depressing ratio, no? So depressing, in fact, that I’ve willingly opted into another automated email that asks me, at 8pm, every day, “How was your day today?” just to make me feel like someone is wondering.

In no particular order & for no particular reason, below please find a list of senders-of-emails from whom I am loathe to tear myself, because I’m too insecure / dependent on technology to cope with the possibility of clicking “Refresh” and not having something new to look at:

Because no one should ever pay full price for Laser Hair Removal again.

Because no one should ever pay full price for Laser Hair Removal again.

Groupon, LivingSocial, Amazon Daily Deals, and Bloomspot, for both San Francisco and Los Angeles – Note: I no longer live in San Francisco and have attempted to unsubscribe from San Francisco-related emails multiple times. Since the e-robots don’t seem to want to let me do that, I’ve learned to love the San Francisco emails…just because they’re there.

Deadline Hollywood – To be fair, I work in entertainment. Which means that staying up-2-date on juicy Hollywood dealz is essentially mandatory. And since no one has the news (read: gossip) before the all-knowing Nikki Finke, I might as well let RATINGS RAT RACE and WEEKEND BOX OFFICE statistics keep me company in the mornings while I wait for communication with real humans to begin. Daily Writing Prompts – Two of which I have read and completed. Ever. But I still get them every day.

LinkedIn Network Updates / Jobs I might be interested in – Why I receive a weekly set of engineering-related employment opportunities in France when I speak no French? That I cannot answer. However, amongst all the spam, LinkedIn emails are actually some of the most insecurity curing, anxiety assuaging, & socially satisfying emails I receive.  The LinkedIn e-robots a) address me by name, b) remind me of my “vast” “network” of “professional connections” and c) regularly provide suggestions for improvement.  Also, it’s basicamente Facebook for Jobz, and I am a complete Internet lurker when it comes to stalking people from my past.

goop – Okay yeah, I opted in to this one. And I read it every week.  Getting Gwyneth Paltrow’s out of touch, betchy emails, full of ridiculous assumptions –  lots of people have the time to casually stop by a farmer’s market on any given weekday and pick up a few sprigs of organic basil or hunks of Kale before preparing a meal full of superfoods, right? – makes me almost as happy as knowing my least favorite frenemy from high school is going to get married and have babies while I go get famous and have EGOTs. Or something.

Stylemint, Jewelmint, Beautymint, Shoemint, Homemint – Enough with the mints already, please. No, Justin Timberlake, I do not want your opinion on home decor. And no, Jessica Simpson, I do not want to buy your face wash. And no, Rachel Bilson, I don’t want to buy your knock off version of those Frye boots. And yes, Mary-Kate & Ashley, I do love you so so so so so so much and did buy your t-shirts once upon a time but I CAN’T AFFORD THEM ANYMORE SO PLEASE STOP TEMPTING ME.

In addition to the daily bombardment from the aforementioned e-robots, I get many “Just updating you on what’s going on with us!” emails. They don’t come often enough to feel bothersome, but, en masse, they do contribute to the daily count.  For example: NaNoWriMo, The Stanford Alumni Association, The Stanford English Department, “People You May Know on Twitter,” “FWD: VIRUS WARNING MUST READ” emails from G-Ma & G-Pa, and important info re: all the happiness Blake Mycoskie can bring to the world with overpriced sunglasses and shoes, if only you would buy a pair of Tom’s.

Also appeals to donate to Wikipedia, lately, which I did, and which all of you should do.  Totally irrelevant to the phenom I intend to discuss (I will get to it, I swear) below, but just saying.  Donate to Wikipedia.

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Okay, so, discush: I’m sure I’m not the first person to ask this question, but when did I become so dependent on constant communication? Was it before or after I my first cell phone – a purple Nokia with Snake and a Hello Kitty keychain hanging off the (1/2 centimeter in diameter) antenna? Or was it in high school, when I got a computer in my room, an AIM screen name (“FashionFairy727”), and an addiction to late night chat rooms? It must be a “my generation” thing (whatever that means), or my Mom wouldn’t grumble about it as much as she does.

I know there are ways to fix my influx-of-emails problem.  Folders and filters and the “unsubscribe” button sometimes when it works.  But I can’t seem to care enough to rid my life of the slush.  I know I’m not the only one.  I’ve peeked over many a shoulder in the library and seen inboxes far worse than my own. *IT’S NOT JUST ME GUYS.*

Because, on rainy days, perhaps in the middle of lonely lunch breaks, we all need a little attention.  So we casually press the “mail” icon in the lower left hand corner of the iPhone screen… we wait in eager anticipation… we watch the little circle turn until… ONE NEW EMAIL! Mabes two, if you’re lucky. And we waste thirty satisfying. as. fuck. seconds perusing the “personalized” discounts currently available in San Francisco. Or whatever else the e-robots have decided to show us.

So yes, my influx of daily emails feeds my desire for constant attention and constant stimulation. And yet, archiving an offer to purchase hand-woven baskets from Justin Timberlake, or laughing at Gwyneth Paltrow’s weekly dose of pretention can stave off desire to fill up the empty in my (our / humans’) life (lives) with other, potentially MUCH MORE HAMFUL forms of stuff, like food or drugs or something.

So there you have it, justification. I refuse to clean out my inbox. Because if I do, I run the risk of becoming an obese heroin addict. Also paying full price for haircuts and Segway tours of Santa Monica. BRB, going to check my email.


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