Two Things I Hate About Spam

Welcome to this week’s edition of Monday Malice, Two Things I Hate About Spam. My apologies to the edible Spam; this is about the other kind, the one that clutters your inbox and – if you’re really unlucky – takes over your computer and holds you hostage. Of course, they never ask for your children as ransom, because then it would be fun. For those of you who like to be the most hated/entertaining one at the party, in case you didn’t know/forgot, you can “Blame spiced ham shoulder, Monty Python and Usenet,” according to Digital Trends. You’re welcome. On a darker note, according to the same piece, the average daily amount of email spam in a month was 250 billion messages, accounting for over 85% of email traffic worldwide. 250 billion! In a month! Three years ago! Imagine how much worse it is now.

The reason that there are only two things I hate about spam at the moment is that it’s not even really two things – it’s two cities. Wait for it…

A Tale of Two Cities

One morning about a year ago, I received an inordinate amount of spam, somewhere around 100 emails from 100 different addresses. Oddly, the only new site I had recently visited was a federal government site (and no, my tinfoil hat was confiscated years ago, thanks for asking). I dutifully went through each one and unsubscribed to the ones that appeared to be from legitimate sites (no need to unduly punish anyone who’d accidentally gotten ahold of my email address from the NSA – kidding! Really, I’m a loyal American) and marked the rest as spam. That was that, I thought.

That was that, for 98 of the emails. The other two were from two different cities, Philadephia and Madison, Wisconsin. Now, I have nothing against these two cities (“some of my best friends live in/are from Philadelphia or Madison”), but I have negative interest in receiving emails from them.

I unsubscribed. And unsubscribed. And unsubscribed. Well, I unsubscribed to Madison’s; Philly’s was impossible, because I have to log in to unsubscribe, and they claim I don’t exist, even though they are the ones sending me emails.

I’ll take Philadelphia for $100, Alex

Philly’s are not so bad, because they only arrive about once a week. For months, I tried over and over to unsubscribe, and then gave up and just deleted them. But then I got mad, and started marking them as spam. My email provider laughed (not out loud, but I could hear its little voice through the computer; really). It’s happy to put other emails in spam, from companies I interact with daily (like online shopping sites, even though Ship to Store doesn’t always work out), but oh no, not the Madison or Philly ones!

Madison is a different story. I am awash in emails from Madison. And someone there must hate me, because I’m now on TWO distribution lists, one from the Chief of Police, and one from one of their Alders (Alderman? Alderwoman? Alderpeople?). The Chief sends at least one a day; the Alder-whatever, less frequently. If you’re interested, on the day I wrote this the police department received 492 calls, “not including parking complaints or 911 misdials.” They must be too busy to unsubscribe me. And I’m not linking to the source, because I fear that if you click on it, you too might end up in my predicament. You’re welcome. As to the Alder-whatever – Madison needs sandbags. That is terrible, all kidding aside and I’m sorry about the floods. But I can’t bring sandbags; they won’t fit in my carry-on.

I’ve Accepted My Fate

As to the Police Department and the city leadership, I guess you could say that “I Fought the Law and the Law Won“, because I’ve given up. As to my advice to you  – well, sometimes you just have to go with the flow. And if I ever have to suddenly move to Philly or Madison, I’ll feel right at home. People will ask how I know so much about the city and I’ll just smile and say, “That’s classified.” ⧉

Have you had an “unsubscribe failure” issue? Leave a comment!

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