The conditioned response is just to hit delete. It’s like my email reading experience has gone from being excited to receive A email from someone I know to being more like a prospector panning for gold. I have to sift through a lot of crap, admittedly with my permission, to get the emails that I’m most interested in.
So you tell a marketer or a company that it’s OK to send you coupons, updates, and what not, because at the time, you’re interested. You browse through the first few emails you receive from them, because they’re fresh on your mind. Then, almost as fast as your interest peaked, it gets saturated with email after email after special offer after special offer. You gave them an inch and they took a mile and ran with it. It’s like that acquaintance, a friend of a friend of a friend, who you avoid asking any questions because you know it will turn into at least 20 minutes of railroad-spikes-in-the-ears conversation; like turning on a fire hose to take a drink.

Muscle memory gets burned in after just a few notice – react (i.e. from – delete) movements.

So how much time does one waste in a day going through this cycle? If your reaction time is swift, about 1/2 a second per email. Now you do the math. For me, I probably delete at least 30 permission based emails per day from marketers and companies, who just don’t understand that I don’t care any more if they’re having a 90% off sale of books published during full moons in leap years. They’ve beat me over the head so much that it’s just blended into the background noise. And that’s the worst place anyone can be: indifference. No one knows about you. Better than indifferent. Everyone hates you. Better than indifferent. Because when you get placed in the indifference category, it’s damn near impossible to crawl your way out. In the case of saturated emails, it’s easier to allow the conditioned response than to change it.

30 x 0.5 = 15 seconds per day x 7 = 105 seconds per week x 52 = 5460 seconds per year, which is 1.516666666667 hours a year of my life that I can’t retrieve. If I live 60 more years, that’ll be almost 4 days of my life spent hitting the delete button on unwanted email. That’s a vacation for most people.

The solution? It’s really simple, either get off their mailing list, or if you really want to fuck with them, click spam instead of delete. That way, they’ll never know you’ve abandoned them, which adds ignorance on top of the indifference, and is much easier than going through the whole “Are You Sure?” dialogs that are infuriatingly condescending.