Email: Ur doin’ it wrong

“Have you tried yelling at it?!”

As I’ve previously pointed out, it’s pretty much common knowledge that old people are bad with computers. Sure, there are exceptions, but on the whole, the learning curve is just too sharp for sexagenarians to keep up with.

My boss at Office Job is a member of said group. She has me print out PowerPoint presentations, and tells me to “keep a copy” of digital files. She scrolls through documents looking for names instead of using ctrl+f. She resends emails with the subject “not sure if i already sent this.” She double-clicks EVERYTHING.

Although this is what I’ve come to expect from her age-group, I confess I felt genuine shock when I helped her hunt through her Yahoo email inbox for some attachments. I told her to try searching for the recipient. The conversation went something like this:

“I’m looking at who sent them, I can’t find her.”
“…Try using the search bar… At the top… The top of the page… Right there.”
“Oh! That’s a great idea.”
“It’s very useful. I use my search bar often.”

And so on. I try to be gentle.

Eventually she gave up, got up from her chair and wished me luck. I sat down, went to the top of the page, and froze. She had over 150,000 emails in her inbox.

A hundred and fifty thousand.

If she’s been collecting these emails over the course of ten years, that’s 41 emails per day including weekends and holidays. Every day. For a decade.

I don’t know how long she’s had this email address, but it has the year 2002 in it, so I think ten years is a solid bet. Still, WTF?!!! How does this happen? I get the feeling she has no sense of how an inbox should function, what folders are, how to use them, when an email should be deleted, etc. She has adult kids, don’t they help her with this stuff? Or are they as lost as she is?

What worries me is that even her work email inbox is engorged with messages (read and unread): about 20,000 currently, at least a dozen or so of which are mine, longing to be read and dealt with. They might as well exist outside of time. They might as well accept their fate, and die.


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