I received marketing email from PayPal today. "5% cashback!"
Looks great on the surface but this is PayPal, a company notorious for its draconian practices, after all. To say I was suspicious would be an understatement.
I give the email text a cursory look and find out that the promotion is valid for the first Â£50 (I made this account when I lived in England). 5% of £50 is a measly £2.50, which is hardly worth anyone's time, especially if we actually have to spend money in the firsts place. If my account were based in the States, this amount would presumably be $2.50, an even smaller amount. No thanks PayPal, I'll continue to not use you unless absolutely necessary.
First, it's frustrating that we often really have no choice but to use PayPal even though we'd desperately like to use an alternative (ex: ebay). As a buyer, sellers often only allow us to pay via PayPal. As sellers, PayPal is often the choice that makes the most financial sense (especially if you're running a business online and process many transactions. For instance, PayPal is by far the cheapest for micorpayments.). There are new entrants to this space like Stripe or WePay, but neither of them come close to matching PayPal's ubiquity or price points.
Second, it's made me realize (for the umpteenth time, embarassingly) that we're constantly bombarded by these sorts of advertisements throughout the day. Coupons that come in the mail, daily deals that are shared with us on our social networks (though this is far less prevalent these days), signs all over the supermarket proclaiming their discounts at us, and on and on. These promotions take up mindshare and often cause decision fatigue. Constantly being exposed to this kind of information noise and feeling like we need to properly parse it all takes its toll on us. As a matter of fact, just thinking about it in the abstract as I write this is making me weary. JC Penny's no sales plan totally failed, but a world where that was the nom would actually be quite nice. But then again, all this promotion must surely be backed by some kind of psychological theory, so we're unlikely to ever see the end of it.
The upshot of all of this? Take 30 seconds to unsubscribe from these emails.
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