If the plant you wish to flee, go to sector 7G

As if Casa Vomitola has not already been in enough of a state of anomie lately, I got an email from Martha Stewart that was all “HEY LET’S PUT SOME GLITTER ON SOME PUMPKINS AND CALL IT A DAY.” This cannot be up with put, so I decided to resign from this uncomfortable communication once and for all. I am not sure how I got on this list in the first place. It probably had something to do with our wedding years ago, or perhaps it’s someone’s idea of a joke. Periodically, I open the Martha emails to find I can do something new with pork, or hot glue gun silver almond dragées to my baby or a turkey or something, but mostly I’ve been blithely deleting them.

When I clicked “unsubscribe,” I was taken to the following screen dominated with a Mao-like Martha, her smile cleverly applied in post-production. This screen told me to LOG IN TO MY ACCOUNT instead of just having one of the monkeys burn my email address in the database like every other unsubscribe function.

Oh hey, seems I don’t have an account, or at least they can’t seem to send me a password at the email address they regularly spam. Yes, I checked my junk box. So I must CREATE A LOGIN , giving them more information in order to get them to stop talking to me. The more I ignore you, the closer you get, Martha Stewart!

I dutifully filled out an account using plenty of raving in the form fields, and I finally was allowed to tick off “Do not send me anything ever.” But today I see that I am not actually free! Martha wants me to do something else with pumpkins. WHAT? Didn’t we already have this conversation? I am not going to go out with you just because you liked me first! We have standards here. I clicked “unsubscribe” again, only to be taken to this lovely unstyled Vignette error page:

(Note my username)

Apparently my rejection has caused the website to be so depressed that it simply can’t get out of bed. I decided that in the name of usability (theoretically how I earn a living) and all that is holy, I’d send the previously featured screen shots to MSLO customer service to help, but when I clicked on “Contact Us” I found that while I could get plenty of info on paint samples, anyone having an actual issue with the website gets a five or six question FAQ on downloading clip art instead of the means to actually submit a trouble ticket of any sort. That’s not the Martha I know! The Martha I know cares about every little sparrow and pixel. The Martha I know would print off my desperate email with ink she made herself, trim a lovely Scherenschnitte pattern into the margin, and dispatch a hand-raised snow white dove to my house to tell me it is sorry in original song!

But I did find the answer to one of my questions in the FAQ: It takes up to three weeks to be unsubscribed from the mailing list. Because I guess the SQL statement has to go out to the calligrapher.

In short, I feel overreaction is a mainstay of comedy! Don’t make me explain a joke, people. But srsly, this is wretched usability and a total disconnect from the public face of the brand. Or perhaps I am just taking it out on poor Martha because I have already spent this week dealing with the RMV, investment companies, actual criminals, a rogue play group, a no-sleep recidivist, insurance companies, and more. At least I did not walk five miles past lions or snipers to carry my groceries home, right? And nothing’s on fire. Yet.

One response to “If the plant you wish to flee, go to sector 7G”

  1. You pain is shared. I recently grew weary of receiving unsolicited e-mails from a small guitar store and replied asking that my addy be purged from their database. I was sent an e-mail from an actual person saying that I had to log into my account to remove myself. He did not care that someone else had used my e-mail address to actually create the account.

    I jumped through the usual hoops of asking the site to please send me the password which I didn’t forget because I never signed up in the first place. Once actually inside my non-existent account, I was unable to find any way to delete the account.

    I finally ended up changing my e-mail address to the person from the store who told me I had to log into to remove my e-mail address. Since their lack of e-mail verification was what got me put on their list to begin with, the change seems to have stuck and I no longer receive e-mails about guitar sales.

    Similarly I happen to be the owner of an account at Macy’s which includes someone else’s credit card with which I could actually shop on the Macy’s site. I e-mailed Macy’s about it and they told me they couldn’t respond to my e-mail because they were too busy.

    Martha Stewart may not have been able to help you out because she was too busy sending a magazine to my wife. For that I apologize.

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