Scenes from an Inbox

If you feel like you are being bombarded with advertisements from the moment you wake up until bedtime, you are absolutely right. Whether it is a fancy car commercial in the middle enjoying Stephen Colbert’s monologue on YouTube or a flyer on my windshield for a local arts festival, I cannot escape someone trying to sell me something.

Last week, I asked my husband to add Dove soap to our shopping list, not realizing our house was bugged – or more likely, Alexa was eavesdropping again. That bitch. For the rest of the day, my FB page and Yahoo inbox were inundated with soap and body wash ads.

Speaking of my inbox, here is what I found this morning:

  • My alma mater is soliciting donations to the university by the end of the month so that I can receive my exclusive address labels. Tempting! (NOT!)
  • A cluster of spam emails featuring Fourth of July sales on patio furniture, must-have BBQ tools, and swimming pool accessories. By the way, we don’t have a pool.
  • Oh, look! Starbucks is giving away four chances to win four cars if I sign up for their rewards program today.
  • PA Conference for Women informs me about their brand-new ticketing system (“Just like the one Hamilton uses”) for its upcoming conference.
  • ServicePlus (who?) offers me a free quote for a home warranty.
  • UberEats will help cure my lunchtime cravings with a $25 gift card when purchasing something at one of these fine stores.

As if that weren’t enough, an obnoxious and intrusive pop-up window appeared out of nowhere from Yahoo advertising the benefits of their “premium email service” Apparently, I can enjoy an ad-free experience. It sounded too good to be true. And guess what, it is.

I read the fine print. Paying for this premium service is like putting a useless wet bandaid on Big Brother’s big toe. Even if I decided to pay $60 a year for this service, it is only available for “eligible subscriptions.” Just like when I want to buy a tube of Smashbox Original Photo Finish Smooth and Blur primer with an Ulta coupon and am told at the register that all the brand items are excluded. So, a completely ad-free inbox is what it sounds like – another advertisement.

Big Brother will always find me. Lately, he has been living on my Facebook page disguised as 80s nostalgia clickbait articles (my Kryptonite).

One time, Big Brother followed me into the parking lot outside Nordstroms at the King of Prussia mall after I bought Jenna’s senior prom dress. I specifically remember paying cash and not providing my email at checkout, leaving no breadcrumbs behind. I was smart enough to know that any evidence of being there increased my chances of receiving department store advertisements. It didn’t work. BB scoped out the map coordinates on my cell phone and chased me to my car, armed with coupons via text message for my next visit.

Friends, there is no escape. And if I sound like a bitter, empty nester as I’m writing this, I apologize. As you read in yesterday’s blog post, I have a to-do list a mile long and no time for these distractions. The irony is that email marketing is a big part of my day job as a nonprofit communications professional. But, the emails I send are for interested parties. I don’t buy lists or sell my contact list to other organizations. I appreciate their willingness to give me their email address, and in return, I do my best to be respectful and not fill up their inbox with junk mail. I religiously check my unsubscribe rate and am happy to report that it is low – which means I guess I’m good at my job. ๐Ÿ™‚

So, where does Big Brother visit you the most – in your inbox, on your windshield, or someplace else? Inquiring minds want to know.



5 comments on Scenes from an Inbox

  1. Tamara
    July 3, 2022 at 4:24 am (7 months ago)

    Oh my goodness, yes! To be honest though, I don’t mind the e-mails as much as telemarketers. At home I have the liberty not to pick up, but at the office I have to answer every phone, and it’s so annoying.
    You know who else is harassing me? Google / Gmail. They claim “youโ€™re running low on storage space. Try freeing up space or purchase additional storage.” I recently deleted every single item from my inbox, from my sent items, even the handful of drafts. They are still trying to trick me into giving them money.

    You shop at the King of Prussia Mall? While visiting the Philadelphia area I met there with my FB friend ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Kebba Buckley Button
    July 2, 2022 at 7:59 pm (7 months ago)

    Elisa, thanks for a frank and funny piece! I love your writing. I get about 300 emails a day, many with news and research articles I have requested. But the woodworking plans and prostate solutions– I don’t need. It’s the ads embedded in FB, several ways, that interrupt me the most. It’s hard sometimes to get to the content I signed in for! Sometimes, a Macy’s ad will feature in the right field AND in the bottom field. I buy from them regularly by signing into my account from an app, so why do they need to flash at me on FB? One of the mysteries of the Universe. Keep laughing!

  3. Kimberly W
    July 2, 2022 at 7:24 pm (7 months ago)

    Your writing is so fun and relatable, Elisa! I laughed many times!

  4. Cheryl
    July 2, 2022 at 4:12 pm (7 months ago)

    Very enjoyable clever post. I get so annoyed with the constant ads. Before i was able to just brush them off. Doing so now with humor is important for my sanity.

  5. Victoria Juster
    July 2, 2022 at 3:44 pm (7 months ago)

    One of the worst is Silver Singles. I’m very happily married and have no idea why they would see me as a potential client. My inbox is so annoyingly cluttered!

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