What the heck is it with email lists, anyway? This has been bothering me for a while, and I finally had to say something about it.

It's really easy to get on email lists, but it's bloody near impossible to get off of them. We've become suspicious of those "unsubscribe" links, because when spammers realize that you're actually reading their trash, they send you more of it!

But I am subscribed to a few legitimate mailing lists. In the past, I've signed up for mailing lists specifically for discounts. JCPenney and Steak & Ale, for instance. You can tell they're legitimate because they're run on the company's own domain, and they follow a reasonable advertising model: descriptive titles with correct grammar and spelling, content equivalent to title, contact information, and unsubscribe link going to the company's own domain.

However, my lifestyle has changed since I signed up for these lists. I hardly ever go to Steak & Ale any more, especially since they messed up their filet mignon by covering it in... well, whatever they had handy. Herbs, or peppercorns, or whatever. Their unsubscribe link took me to a nice page and wiped me off their list with no problem. I immediately got the "you've been unsubscribed" email.

What kind of chip you got in there, a Dorito?

It's a pity that not every corporation understands computers so well. I'm looking at you, JCPenney. Their unsubscribe link took me to an "account settings" page. All the options were a bit confusing. (One was for email frequency: "weekly" or "monthly". I could swear I've been getting them two or three times a week.) Anyway, after figuring it out, it was just two mouse clicks to unsubscribe (if only I could get off spammers' lists that easily!). But then I got the horrible notification you see at left.

TEN DAYS!? TEN days? What are they running their list computers on, a single Sinclair ZX81? (I used to have one of those. I liked it a lot.) Perhaps they have to put all the changes on punch cards with a handheld punch, then transfer it to a casette tape. Maybe the cassette player is broken, and they need to yodel at 300 baud instead?

And it's a "weekly" newsletter! I could receive two more of these before I'm finally free. It's just not worth it, not for any discount.

Of course, whenever I see this kind of thing, I'm always suspicious that they're using the ten days to distribute my email and personal details to their "trusted associates".

Why, in the age of technology, do I have to wait TEN DAYS for a computerized process to be amended? Stop abusing my civilization!