To the Marketing Department/Company Selling Me Something I Don’t Want/Compulsive Forwarder in the Family/Political Fundraiser/Pollster/Charity I’ve Never Supported & Never Would/Friend of A Friend of a Former Friend With Internet Access:

This is an official Cease & Desist Order.  Please don’t send me any more email.*  Or give out my addy even though you say you don’t share your list (right!).  Or send me annoying advertisements for products you can’t sell or Please Tell Us What You Think Because Why Should We Pay for Market Research When We Can Get it Free From Our Customers via follow-up surveys.

My mama didn’t raise no dummies.

Yeah, yeah, I know about Spam Filters that if you blog, for example, come in super-handy.  But with your personal mail—mail that you intend to use for all kinds of transactions, especially those involving a credit card or other financial payment scheme—you don’t want to get those Lost in the Spam Filter, so you let down your guard.  You Add to the List.  You Open the Barn Door and Let the Digital Fox In.

What were you thinking???!

Here’s how I do the Wasting-My-Life Math.  For every email I have to download, identify as spam then delete as such (and possibly also add to the spam filter database), I lose approximately 3-5 seconds of my life, a bit more pre-coffee.  Averaging that to 4 seconds per unwanted item, let’s call it (conservatively) 10 items per day, 365.25 days per year, rounded to 3650 X 4 seconds equals about 243 minutes or roughly four hours per year just deleting spam.  Considering that I’ve probably already spent at least 12 years at this pace (again, conservatively-speaking), that means I’ve given up 48 hours doing something that gave me absolutely nothing back.**  Well, I know a bad relationship when I see one so I didn’t take this, er, I didn’t take this forever.

When we first moved to Westchester County, I couldn’t replicate the same high-speed digital service we previously had in LA.  For reasons too bizarre to go into, I put off the ISP decision for several months and lived with my vintage BlackBerry for intermittent connectivity.  (My cell phone didn’t work very well either.  On the plus side, I believe I lost five pounds.)

After finally choosing a new company, I realized I had a wonderful opportunity to continue to eliminate—at least temporarily—unwanted email and its temporal intrusion in my life.  No one had my new email address…wow!  To preserve that feeling of newly-fallen-snow, I guarded it carefully and dutifully unchecked all the boxes that were pre-checked Send Me More Time-Wasting Email.  (Or some such thing.)  I also unsubscribed from every list that added me even though I always uncheck the aforementioned box.  And, yet, alas, I knew the e-honeymoon couldn’t last forever.

That’s right.

They found my BlackBerry.




*Or text the cellphone I almost never use.
**The only thing worse was being stuck in traffic spam on the 405 freeway.


Further reading:

From the Wall St. Journal
Junk Mail Thrives in the Digital Era


Copyright 2013, Lori Fontanes