Make It Stop!

Opting out of being opted in

Signing the dotted line

It’s not quite a head of steam yet, but it’s certainly at the pursed lips stage when I am constantly having to opt out of things I didn’t opt into.

Businesses and organisations now have a standard where, by virtue of having bought their product(s), we are unknowingly signed up for all sorts of shortlists and circulars and pamphlets and aggressive advertising when we didn’t actually sign any real or virtual dotted line.

This was no more apparent than when I enquired about a bathroom product from a well known DIY company. That day to this, I have been bombarded by emails from similar companies wanting to give me a good grouting. Some days it’s so bad I can’t get to my inbox of restraining orders from Denzel Washington’s people.

And I am reminded of something that happened years ago with a friend of mine who had given money to someone collecting for a cancer charity. Come to find out the money had been given to another charity dealing with much the same subject.

One school of thought held that it didn’t really matter since the money was going to a good cause and, moreover, a charity dealing with the same sort of issues. Charity is charity is charity, surely?

My friend did not agree.

Her premise was that she had elected to give to Charity A and, while not unsympathetic to the other organisation’s cause, had not voluntarily agreed to benefit Charity B.

I didn’t fully understand her ire then, but I certainly understand it now.

Bombarding us as potential customers under the premise most of us will not bother to look for that tiny website link to opt out of something we didn’t opt into, is poor customer service.

And the question which confused the bejeezus out of the company I telephoned today (yes, some companies have you call them to opt out so they can try that charm offensive) was:

Please explain to me why I have to opt out of something I didn’t opt into?

‘Well, madam, it was implied,’ came the response.

[Cue pursed lips hovering on head of steam.]

I left my new friend with the thought that, if his company could not trust to the quality of their products such that we will willingly buy from them, tricking us into potentially doing so does not boost confidence in a potential customer’s mind.

My new friend opted to opt out of any further conversation.

MISs Make It Stop!