Does Working For The Man Upstairs Give You The Right To Spam?



‘Tis the season for peace, joy… and spamtastic holiday emails! No, this isn’t a rant about eCommerce direct email marketing campaigns– though life certainly would go on without explosive email blasts every morning at 3:25 am from a certain popular clothing store just itching to promote sweater sales & shipping discounts. The luxury of crossing everything off that mile-long gift list in a cool 60 minutes of online shopping whilst wearing sweats & slipper booties, sipping coffee spiked with Baileys is totally worth those pesky, more-often-than-not opt-out email blasts.

Our digital culture has almost grown accustomed to seasonal junk mail– sure, it kind of sucks, but it’s part of the package deal: with online shopping comes emails about online discounts, etc. However… when that holiday spam-mail isn’t coming from a chain retail store, but a church… and the recipient is a feisty marketer… eyebrows contort Grinch-style in curiosity, and the question begs to be asked: WWMWD?

Yes, what would Marty Weintraub do?  What indeed…
‘Twas the night before Saturday, December 11th, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring until BZZ BZZ went the smartphone at 11:37 PM, pulling Marty out of a  warm, cozy, productive, coffee-fueled book writing sesh. The couldn’t-wait-til-morning news? An email blast from church located about 2.5 hours south of Duluth, announcing its “~ CHRISTMAS BY THE CREEK in Maple Grove.”

Bothered by the needless break in concentration, the inclusion on an opt-me-in-without permission list, and the glaring lack of “Unsubscribe” functionality, Marty sent a simple request-reply:

To which he received this response from the sender the following morning:

To which Marty replied, at length:

To which the sender replied in a less hostile, less sarcastic fashion: “Joy & Noel to yours as well Marty. I.ll be sure to remove U from my list. Sorry I bothered you.”
Well then, conflict resolved! The spirit of the holiday season lives on. So… what is the moral of this story?
  • Don’t use the holidays as an excuse for sending spam emails?
  • Don’t use the type of content (in this case, religious) as an excuse for sending spam emails?
  • Don’t send opt-out / opt-me-in-without permission email blasts. (Dude, write this one down.)
  • Don’t send opt-me-in-without permission email blasts unless the message includes an “Unsubscribe” link?
  • Don’t send spam? (Period!)

Whatever the takeaways, we know now what Marty would do did. What about you? Does this instance make your skin crawl or is it a simple case of shrug-off inbox noise?

photo credit: slworking


  1. Justin Hornung on December 13, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    The ability to express one’s displeasure both politely and professionally, particularly to unsolicited spam, is a dying art. Kudos to Marty for not getting dirty. :)

  2. Will Scott on December 13, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    Poor fellow doesn’t know not to spam in the name of the baby-Jesus and has no spell-check either.

    Ho, ho, ho!

  3. Lauren Litwinka on December 13, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    @Justin – I second that well-articulated kudos. Thanks for taking the time to share it here :)

    @Will – A double whammy no-no. For shame, for shame! Cheers :)

  4. Nick Stamoulis on December 14, 2010 at 8:00 am

    I would have done exactly what Marty did, regardless of the sender! Nothing worse than spam holiday emails and we get tons of them!

  5. Lauren Litwinka on December 14, 2010 at 10:42 am

    @Nick – Yes, right on! The ironic part is Marty’s initial response was completely legit, not to mention sanitized of personal emotion. “Remove” is totally the right way to respond to a mass email when you want to be taken off the list. Only after the unnecessary snarktastic response from the sender does Marty go all… well, Marty :)

  6. Online reader on December 20, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    Nobody has the right to spam, even for the man upstairs. How can spammers be controlled by the law anyway? Contradictory I guess but let me tell you if I had a poweful position worldwide their would be an organization prosecuting the spammers dont care who they work for.

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