Seriously, What's The Deal With All The Mother's Day Opt-Out Emails?

Brands have been offering consumers the ability to opt-out of Mother’s Day promotions for a few years... but some say the nice gesture is getting out of hand.

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The second Sunday of May is approaching and here in the United States that means Mother’s Day. (Consider this a reminder to go get her a card or gift now.) It also means that around this time, the emails from every single retailer we’ve ever been tricked into giving our email to are also reminding us of this fact with all kinds of deals for everything from electronics to jewelry to perfume to, like, chapstick. There’s also another kind of Mother’s Day email that’s been popping up over the past few years: the Mother’s Day opt-out email.

If you’ve checked your inbox lately, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve seen some version of this. They usually say something along the lines of, “We know this time of year can be hard for some people. If you’d like to stop receiving emails about Mother’s Day, click here.” Honestly, it’s a nice gesture: whether through estrangement, death, or even child loss or infertility, being reminded of mothers and motherhood can be pretty triggering for a lot of folks this time of year. According to reporting from The Independent, online florist Bloom and Wild was the first company to offer this out in 2019. Since then, many other major brands have followed suit, from Etsy to DoorDash. And while brands tend to be retailers, nonprofits and other organizations are sending them, too. (Romper writers an editors alone have received about a dozen such emails alone in our personal inboxes.) While folks mainly tend to view this trend (which also crops up ahead of Father’s Day as well) positively, online responses have become a bit more varied this year.

For the most part, consumers appear to be grateful for the option. “I just got an email from @innocence [nonprofit organization The Innocence Project] asking if I wanted to opt out of Mother's day emails, and while I don't have a need, I appreciate the thoughtfulness,” tweets @itsfullof_stars.

Twitter user @jdallow appreciates the option of not receiving Mother’s Day emails.

“I appreciate @Etsy letting me opt out of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day emails. Other companies should let you do this. Nothing like getting tons of emails for gifts you don’t need because your parents are deceased,” agrees @thecathy926.

Others, however, while recognizing the good intentions of offering an opt-out for what could be a sensitive subject, point out that the increasing number of opt-outs, ironically, only add to the complicated or negative feelings that brands are trying to be sensitive to in the first place.

“hello human, it’s me, a brand!” tweets a sarcastic @beangoshe . “Instead of sending you marketing emails that mention mother's day, we send you this more serious email asking if you would like to opt out of mother's day email and in doing so you are thinking about your bad mom a few weeks early! you're welcome!”

“Has the flood of ‘opt out of uncomfortable Mother’s Day messages’ emails become the new flood of uncomfortable Mother’s Day emails?” muses @LHDonline.

More still — chiefly pundits on the right — are apparently attempting to make this trend a culture war issue.

“Can we opt out of Pride month spam, too?” scoffs Charlie Kirk while sharing screenshots of various Mother’s Day opt-out emails.

Arizona Informer suggests the movement to offer folks to opt-out of Mother’s Day communications “reeks of anti-family activists” before tweeting out a long thread of companies who have offered an opt-out. “I know shortly after my parents died I didn't really want to be reminded about father's and mothers day,” replied one Twitter user. “Not everything is done with evil intent.”

“This is,” the Informer tweeted back before responding to another account that this was part of both a culture war and a religious battle ... which seems far less likely than folks not wanting to be reminded of their dead or abusive parent for a month. (Or, like, just doesn’t want to get a million irrelevant emails from April to mid-May.)

And for more still, the trend is part of something much larger: an overall glut of emailed communication from brands, stated succinctly by @readtealeaves:

“I don’t want your mother’s day email and I don’t want your opt out of mother’s day email, either.”

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