Punishing Derrick: a tale from my Gmail woes

My personal Gmail account has turned into a monster of epic proportions. The majority of emails I receive are automated newsletters or advertisements that I had signed up for at some point in time due to their useful nature. They are not useful, however, when clogging up my inbox. I tried to filter them, label them, contain them within the account in some manner, but my irritation didn’t cease. So finally I decided to create a new Gmail account, solely for newsletters, advertisements, notifications, etc.

“Oh yeah, I did that a while ago” one of my friends said when I mentioned my idea. Better late than never, I suppose.

Between classes, I tackled the hairy mess sitting in my Gmail account. I switched subscription emails for Facebook, Twitter, Gilt, Barnes and Noble, and PhD Comics. For Groupon (a coupon service catered to your location) I decided to unsubscribe completely and resubscribe with my new address. Somehow that seemed like the faster route.

So I went to Groupon, hit ‘Unsubscribe’ and then laughed out loud (or as near to it as I could in the campus computer commons):


(The small text reads: “Well, we want to introduce you to Derrick – he’s the guy that thought you’d enjoy receiving the Daily Groupon email.”)

Absentmindedly I clicked “Punish Derrick” and a short clip played showing a co-worker coming in and teasing, then pouring a glass of water on Derrick. Did I laugh? Yes. Did I feel a slight twinge of guilt because I had unsubscribed? Yes. Was this ploy engineered by Groupon successful and clever? Again, I say yes.

What I liked about the whole Derrick situation was that it put a human face on the “bots” sending out those often annoying daily emails. For a brief second I felt a bond to Derrick, for I too have a job where I must do what I’m told despite people trying to undermine my efforts. And all of this made me more willing to resubscribe to Groupon. I believe this goes to show that no matter how technology driven our society is or how advanced our media becomes, without the human aspect the picture will be incomplete.

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5 responses to “Punishing Derrick: a tale from my Gmail woes

  1. Not even a little bit? 😉

  2. “A little bit” is the amount of editing your blog posts need.
    I do some work in email marketing, and we work VERY hard to trick you people into thinking our relationship with you is personal. It’s impolite to reveal our tricks publicly!! 😦 😦

    • Excuse my discourtesy, but you must understand my journalistic drive to uncover the truth (even to the chagrin of others.)

  3. Journalists don’t uncover the truth, they merely present it in an elaborate and convincing manner. They investigate truths by asking people who already know the truths and using their positions as writers to share truths with others.
    If you’re looking to uncover truths, try philosophy!! That’s where all the answers lie.

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