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When notifications remind us of things we’d rather forget

Photo by Jakub Porzycki / NurPhoto via Getty Images

My breaking point with promotional emails and desktop alerts finally happened a few weeks ago. I woke up at 7AM to an automated Legacy.com email with my friend’s death-a-versary in the subject line. The email itself was annoying enough, but what it said made it a cold, thoughtless annoyance: “Being remembered matters. The flowers you sent last year were a comforting gesture of sympathy and support.”

I didn’t send flowers. I planted a tree. That’s what my friend wanted. It was right there on the obituary guestbook Legacy.com was asking me to sign again.

Actually, the Legacy.com email was just the last straw. Things were kicked off a few months earlier by a Microsoft OneDrive notification. I had just switched from Google Drive, and…

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