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It’s bad enough that people are desperate for constant validation but what I cannot cope with are commercial entities desperate to know if I’m satisfied with their service, and if there’s anything – anything al all they could do to improve it.

Quite frankly, what they could do is not send me a steady stream of emails asking if things are okay.

I sometimes buy books on Amazon. I hate myself for it, and feel like a little part of me has died inside, and I only do it when it’s absolutely necessary, as in, when they don’t have the book at the library, and I can’t find it on Abe Books, or my nearest bookshop in the high street. Then and only then will I ask Amazon to bring me whatever it is I need.

Partly I hate doing this because Amazon is the Devil. Truly. You don’t need me to list their many, many failings that, were they a human and not some multinational conglomerate with a GDP larger than most EU countries, they would be locked up forever for being a total sociopath.

But what I also loathe about shopping on Amazon is the bloody feedback I am expected to give. First there’s the blow by blow reports of where my book is. I don’t really need to have its transit charted to within one city block. How is that meant to help me? It doesn’t matter if it’s two blocks away because you know what? I don’t have it. And that is the issue. I don’t care where it is because it is not where I want it to be. That the book is getting a latte and would like to offer me a coupon to use if only I’d just type in my three favourite kinds of coffee at Starbucks and then wait for an email with a code that I can ping to my phone which will then at some point during a two week period where I will – guaranteed – be in a place where there are no participating Starbucks… And so on and so forth, until the book finally arrives at my door.

Well, actually it doesn’t. What arrives is a card from the postie telling me that the book wouldn’t fit through the letter slot and that there are three one-and -a-half hour windows at the local (it’s local in the sense that it’s in the same city, technically) post office depot where I can go and pick it up, providing I’ve got ID with a verifiable retinal scan, fingerprints, and two-step verification.

When I finally do get the book, it’s wrapped in more packaging than strictly necessary.

So I get the book and I think, okay, good. I sit down to read it and then I start getting emails. Which go to my phone, which makes a noise like a woodpecker for notifications.

At first, it’s just one a day.

Hi!! Hey, THANKS SO MUCH from buying this book from Bob123. We hope you LOVE IT!! 🙂 We just want to make sure you’re 100% HAPPY with your purchase, so please fill out this form and let us know how we did today!!!

I ignore the email. I delete it, after filing it in the spam folder.

I think this will help. It does not.

Hi!!! You didn’t reply to our first email where we asked you to fill in the form so we can make sure our service is exactly what you wanted. Why didn’t you respond? We just want to make sure you’re happy. Are you not happy? Are we not good enough?

This goes on for a while, with each email increasingly demanding and increasingly desperate for validation and acceptance.

I refuse to submit. I will not be manipulated by a form! And also, if you haven’t heard from me, as far as feedback goes, then you can just assume we’re good. If I have a problem, you’ll hear from me. But otherwise please do just assume we’re fine.

When did this happen to us? When did customer service become so all-consuming? And when did we start believing in it? Because let’s face it, we all know that somehow, someway, this is happening because people want to sell us more stuff. They want us to feel important, as though we have some say or some control in the way these things go down. I know they’re not, you know it, and so does The Mom.

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