Monday, March 14, 2016

Why do I bother?

I one-hundred-percent guarantee this has happened to you.

You order something online from a vendor. You just want to make one order, one time. Happily you note that it has a "checkout as guest" feature, so you don't have to start an account with them. It's not like you want to marry them. Of course, they give you an option right up to the end to turn your information into an account, but you know that you will only order from Vern's House of Duck Statues once, because odds are against your ever drawing Uncle Bob in the Secret Santa again, and even if you did you'd have to be more creative next time.

You suspect, however, that you will start to get e-mails from Vern for the rest of your natural life. Then you see the box:

box

You check the box; you KNOW you checked the box. You order the duck; it arrives; Uncle Bob thinks it's just okay. You get one follow-up e-mail from Vern to ask how you liked your shopping experience, which you delete. You never have to hear from Vern again.

Two weeks later, in your in-box:

VERN'S SPRING FLING! UP TO 13% OFF!

You say, "What the hell...? I told them to never, ever send me an e-mail again!" You poor, pitable fool.

What you didn't realize is that when you told Vern to never send you e-mails, he took that as an invitation to forever send you e-mails, unless you tell him specifically to unsubscribe you. When you have one date with Vern, you have to break up officially; it's not enough to just not call.

Now, you can say, what's the big deal? So you unsubscribe (if THAT works), or report it as junk, or block them, or any of a number of things. But that means you have to bother to do something after you already did something -- checked the box.

Which brings me back to the subject line of this entry: Why do I bother? And why do they even give you the box? Why does everyone lie all the time? What the hell?

I know it's a first-world problem -- but lying is everyone's problem. A culture that devalues honor and honesty is a culture with a sickness at its heart. And it starts with a check box that has no meaning.

(For the record, as far as I know there is no Vern's House of Duck Statues. I used a fake name not so as to avoid singling out anybody; I used a fake name so I could single out everybody. And that goes for charities. Just because I gave a twenty in honor of Uncle Bob's gout to Gout Research of United Medical Physicians -- GRUMP -- doesn't mean I want to see daily e-mails of people whose gout has been alleviated by our donations.)
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