Glass Half Full: Living in a world of unsolicited emails |

Glass Half Full: Living in a world of unsolicited emails

If I recall correctly, the last time I went on a rant about something, I was focused on drivers who neglect to use their turn signals. Periodically I still receive comments from people who said they shared the column with their spouses. How nice to feel of service…

I’m not sure today’s rant is going to serve any particularly helpful function other than, I hope, getting something off my chest. I’ve looked long and hard for the “half full” side of this particular issue.

I’m not seeing it. In fact, as I write this piece and watch the number of unread emails in my inbox climb, my real hope is that someone else can suggest a solution to a vexation I’m quite sure others share.

Unsolicited Email Solicitations. On any given day, I receive about 200 emails. Approximately 1/3 of them are from sources for which I have never expressed any interest.

Last Friday I decided to take the time — considerable time, as it turned out — to “unsubscribe” from whatever came my way that day. Let’s be clear: “Unsubscribe” is an ironic term for something in which I have never expressed any interest, or even knowledge, in the first place.

Over the course of the last three days, my tally indicates I’ve sent approximately “unsubscribe” 120 requests. They’ve been directed at (not surprisingly) folks promising educational miracles, online classes, website improvement, and political campaigns, to name just a few.

Those are intrusions, yes, but at least understandable connections. However, those offering cures for “Bellyfat” (!), male anatomy dysfunction (!!), and termite eradication? Not what I want to see in my inbox — any time.

Some, but not all, unsolicited mail deposits itself neatly in “Junk,” which I appreciate, however, occasionally “real” communications wend their way to that box, too, so simply deleting all without clicking through the senders is irresponsible.

Frequently the response to my request to unsubscribe pops up with a, “Please help us improve our services by telling us why you are dissatisfied.” I notice my tone has deteriorated over the 120 emails.

“Too many emails” became “Because I have no idea who you are and have never expressed interest in your product in the first place.” It’s quite possible my latest read something like, “I hate junk mail. Please never contact me again.”

At least I said please. I would write more, except, like the flu, this scourge is spreading, and I have to go cleanse again…

Ruth Glass is headmaster at Lake Tahoe School. She can be reached for comment through her blog at

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