Opting Out of Email & Finding Freedom in the Fine Print

This summer, I took back my inbox.

I created my first email address in 1998 and am still using that same address today, mostly for online purchasing and accounts. During that time, it attracted quite a bit of junk, some of which I swear I never requested.

It was time to stop being lazy and attacking with only a left swipe after a cursory look on my phone.

One by one, I scrolled to the bottom of each unwanted email, magnifying the tiny print so this over-40-year-old could find the word 'Unsubscribe.'

Some email proudly displayed “Unsubscribe” almost in a reverse psychology kind of way. If an email is this easy to opt out, then obviously they are secure in their content.

Sometimes the inspiration to "Unsubscribe" presents itself in unexpected ways.Some buried “Unsubscribe” in the form of “Click Here” in the middle of long paragraphs. Verbose writing didn’t deter me.  

Some led me on a chain of subsequent webpages to finally reach the “Unsubscribe” confirmation. 

Some required a login for their site. Forgive me, but I can’t remember the login from the apple orchard list I opted in when my now-17-year-old daughter was 3. 

Some “Unsubscribes” happened immediately. Others needed 5-7 business days. Still others took only after multiple, multiple attempts. I’m not calling names, Golf Digest.

But little by little, day after day, week after week, my morning “Unsubscribe” ritual has become as much a part of history as the weather alerts from a school district my children never even attended.

Hotels.com – I checked out, for good. 

Pro Flowers – I’m letting YOU know the next time I need a bouquet.

Foot Locker – You got the boot.

As I got on a roll, I wondered how else I could “Unsubscribe.”

I turned down a volunteer opportunity.

I looked at my to-dos and gave my husband half.

I turned over some errand running to my newly licensed daughter.

Gosh, was this too good to be true?

The Unsubscribe Summer of 2015 was such a hit that I decided I’m taking it for a spin this fall, too. Can’t wait to see what’s next to not do.

Nicole van Esselstyn wishes there was a way to unsubscribe from the added pounds of the ice cream she enjoyed this summer. How would you like to unsubscribe?