Thursday, August 30, 2012

E-mails from Old Navy

Some things irritate the crap out of me. At the top of the list is unsolicited e-mail. I’m not referring necessarily to SPAM like e-mails about Viagra advertisements and penis enlargement pills and things like that, even though those annoy me also – oh, no. I’m talking about legitimate companies who just start sending you e-mails even though you never asked to receive e-mails from them. This is almost as bad as the pounds and pounds of junk snail mail I receive every day. (Is there any way to stop all the catalogs? I would love to know.)

Sometimes its my own fault, because I’ve bought something on their site, and they’ve forced me to provide an e-mail address as part of the process and I forgot to uncheck the box that says “Please send me all kinds of shit!” The default of that box is always checked. However, I feel I’ve become wiser as my Yahoo account has filled with daily e-mails advertising sales and free shipping, and tried to remember to look for and uncheck that box. So, yes, those situations are my own damn fault.

Here’s what isn’t my fault. Old Navy.

Recently when I’ve shopped at Gap and Banana Republic, they have asked during check out if I wanted my receipt e-mailed to me. My answer is always no. I can’t imagine for the life of me why I would ever want a receipt e-mailed to me. When I shop, I try to make smart decisions. I don’t buy things I don’t need, don’t want, can’t afford, or don’t fit. I have returned items to stores at the most maybe five times in my life. If I buy it, I keep it. (The exception is ordering clothing online. I’ve had to return items occasionally for fit issues, because there’s no way to try on clothing through the computer. But at the store? I try it on.) I think stores have return policies that are way too lenient, but that’s another topic. The point is, when I’ve been asked if I want the receipt e-mailed to me, I say no. A paper copy is fine. I get enough junk in my inbox.

Enter Old Navy. Old Navy is part of the Gap and Banana Republic family, so I am able to use my Banana Republic credit card there. I usually do this, because you get fabulous rewards points when you spend money at any of the stores, and I shop at these stores quite a bit, so rewards are always welcome. Probably half my wardrobe is from Banana Republic. (More accurately, Banana Republic’s sale rack. They have crazy fast inventory turnover.)

Over the weekend, I bought a couple pairs of shorts at Old Navy, because I’m going on vacation in a couple of weeks and most of my shorts are too big for me. (Unfortunately, I had to scrounge around for what was available on the sale rack, so I will not be super stylish. Fact: It’s nearly impossible to find shorts in a store in Chicago at the end of August.) I paid using my Banana Republic credit card, and the salesgirl audibly confirmed my e-mail address to me. (This e-mail address is part of my credit card account.) I thought it was strange, but didn’t really think anything of it at the time beyond that. She didn’t ask me if I wanted my receipt e-mailed to me, and I didn’t think to notice at the time that she didn’t ask.

Later that evening, I checked my e-mail.

An e-receipt from Old Navy.
An e-mail from Old Navy welcoming me to their e-mail list.
An e-mail from Old Navy informing me how to best make use of their e-mails.

What the bloody fuck?

I know this is nothing in the grand scheme of things, but things like this irritate the hell out of me. First off, the company has my e-mail address, obviously, because I like to receive the “Hey, don’t forget to pay your bill” notifications. I gave them that freely as part of my credit card account.  I’m on the Banana Republic e-mail list because I want to be. I’m not on the Gap and Old Navy lists because I don’t want to be. I’m not stupid. I know how to get e-mails from them and any other company if I really want them. And this stupid salesgirl put me on the Old Navy list without even asking. So, I went to the Old Navy website and promptly removed myself from their list.

I could have stopped there, but I didn’t. I was annoyed enough that I sent an e-mail to the company, complaining about being added to their list without my permission. (Oh yes, I became that person.)  I got a response back apologizing, and then – listen to this – instructions on how to remove myself from their e-receipt database.

Oh, yes. Not only did I get added to the Old Navy e-mail spammer database, I got added to the e-receipt database. Two different databases!  And removing myself from one did not remove me from the other.  This further infuriated me. Not only did I have to take additional steps to remove myself from the second database, I couldn’t even do it because I needed information from the e-receipt itself, which I had already deleted. You have got to be kidding me. I responded and told them to just remove me. I mean, seriously? What the hell is wrong with this company?

(It’s entirely possible that I’m overreacting about this, but this was just the straw that broke the camel’s back as far as getting spammed by companies three times a day. Yes, I get it.  You are having a sale.  Shipping is free.  Yes.  I’m hoping for a $10 gift certificate for my troubles.)

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