If the inside of my house looked like my inbox, I’d be ranked among the world’s leading hoarders. 

I’ve got a little time these next few days to tidy up a few things and my email inboxes are long overdue for a deep cleaning. I’m ashamed to tell you how many emails were lingering in those inboxes before I starting the slash and burn exercise sending huge blocks of unopened notes to the dumpster. Let’s just say I went from 5-digits to 3-digits if you know what I mean. 

I do a great job of flagging important stuff as it comes in but find it far too time consuming and tedious to delete email I know I will never get to or don’t need to open. For example, when I pay a bill online, I appreciate the note to let me know they got my money which they explain quite clearly right on the subject line. I don’t need to open it and wish I could just blink and delete those type of emails, but I’m not Elizabeth Montgomery. 

This semi-annual purge of email always uncovers those emails I never wanted in the first place. This is the time to do the ‘Unsubscribe’ thing so they never come back which is an excellent way to reduce a ton of email. However, ‘Unsubscribe’ always proves to be the most ridiculous task anyone with email must learn to tolerate. 

Here’s what I learned in my latest effort to ‘Unsubscribe.’

1. Small Font

Trying to find the ‘Unsubscribe’ button is nearly impossible because it’s always set at a fraction of a font size below the human visual threshold of discovery, and they color it one iota lighter than the background of the email. Usually it’s mid sentence of some long passage of the same font size and color which is describing something totally unrelated to anything you’d be interested in reading in the first place. 

2. Manage email preferences

If you can’t find the link saying Unsubscribe, look for the one saying Manage Email Preferences. I’m sure they came up with this term for the real intelligent folks who prefer a PhD approach to reducing their email. Generally, this link will take you to a whole bunch of options regarding the email they’ve been sending you which you had no idea of. If you stay on the page long enough, you may get suckered into clicking a box you think you’d like email on. Don’t do it. It’s a trick. One thing for certain, when you’re on this page, you will have just as hard a time finding the Unsubscribe link as you did with #1. 

3. Enter your email

You found the Unsubscribe link and now they want you to type in your email address. This is the equivalent of calling Verizon and being asked to enter your phone number, and when the rep gets on the phone, they ask for your phone number. Asking for your email on the email they sent you is their way of making you think you’re crazy. Don’t fall for it. If you have multiple email addresses like me, just skip this puppy and hope the next one is easier. 

4. Visit the following webpage

You click Unsubscribe and they ask you to click another link to visit another webpage to get the job done. Make sure you have no heavy objects in your hand when you encounter this nonsense or you may find yourself with a shattered monitor. 

5. A reply email

You click Unsubscribe and they tell you they are sorry to see you go while sending you an email to unsubscribe. Yet, another instance of making sure no one is nearby when you’re going through this exercise because involuntary muscle reactions may result in you slapping someone upside the head in disgust.

6. Survey

Before you go, can you tell us why you’re Unsubscribing? I so want to say ‘Because I hit the Unsubscribe button’ but that’s never a choice. In fact, none of the choices apply so they always put ‘Other’ at the bottom. Don’t click other because they’re going to ask you to type in your real reason. You know you’re going to lie like when you apply for unemployment. Smart people know that even if you qualify, telling the whole truth may keep you from getting your unemployment benefits. Get that money and let them find out you lied about your previous address later.

7. The Multiple Choice trick

Before they let you Unsubscribe, you gotta answer either: NO, I regret missing out, or  YES, I wanna miss out. This technique comes right from the election day ballot questions designed to make your no sound like a yes and a yes like a no. (Did that make sense?)

8. The emails keep coming after Unsubscribing

I remember watching this stupid movie where a car was followed the whole time by a tanker truck. No matter what the driver of the car did, that truck kept coming up in his rear view mirror. I didn’t watch it to the end so I don’t know who got the best of whom, but these emails that keep showing up in my inbox after I Unsubscribe are wearing me out. 

9. Website down

And this bitch. How you gonna click Unsubscribe and the website it’s taking you to is down? Please just count to 10, take a short walk, or smoke a joint when this continues to happen. You know you’re never getting rid of that email. 

10. Get new releases, exclusive content, special offers, and recommendations

This option works on your guilt by educating you on what you’ve been missing out on by not getting more emails from them from the beginning. Why would you Unsubscribe now?


I truly hope this helps someone who may be going through the same Unsubscribe PTSD I suffered these last few days. I’ve come to grips there will never be a day junk email won’t arrive in my inbox and even if I say I don’t want it, systems are in place that will find a way to keep email coming like robocalls for car warrantees to my cell phone.

Just don’t be Unsubscribing to this blog.