I've done a lot of business with Shutterfly in the past, which is why I'm still on their mailing list despite all my projects having been relegated to the back burner for quite a while, due to time and priority issues. This was in an e-mail that come about a month ago.

On its face, this could be thought of as simply a considerate move on the part of the company. The fact is, however, that Father's Day is the only time for which I've seen such an offer. For Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, Christmas, "Pride Month," or any other occasion about which someone might take offense, the (reasonable) expectation seems to be that customers will understand that Shutterfly is happy to promote any occasion that causes people to spend money, and exercise their option to participate, or not.

What is so especially offensive about fathers? Every single person who is or has ever been on the face of this earth has a father. You can't get more inclusive than that. You may not like your father, he may have been abusive, he may have abandoned you. Perhaps you are grieving because your own father has died, or because a child of whom you are the father has died, or because you want desperately to be a father yourself but are not, or because you are estranged from your own children.

However, the simple, inescapable, biological fact is that you have a father. Without him, you would be literally nothing.

(Will that always be the case? I've seen enough changes over the past seven decades to rule out nothing. What am I saying? I've seen enough in the past four years to be skeptical of anything that begins, "It can't happen...". If you, yourself, are a clone, or the product of some manipulation that didn't start off with an egg and a sperm, let me know. I don't promise to believe you, but you might have an interesting story.)

Honor Your Father made the top-10 list of imperitives, along with Don't Murder, Don't Steal, Be Faithful to Your Spouse, and other rules that make life worth living.

It is popular, for reasons complex and no doubt at heart diabolical, to diminish the importance of men in general and fathers in particular. Don't fall for it.

Honor your father.

Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, June 6, 2024 at 10:19 am | Edit
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I believe Shutterfly did this for Mother's Day, too. It is not targeting fathers in particular. They, and many other companies, including Ancestry, have started allowing customers to opt out of certain emails.
When I get emails that I don't want, I delete them. However, I can imagine that there are those that can find it very emotional to be receiving a barrage of Mother's Day and Father's Day emails when they have lost a child, or have tried for years to have one without success.

I delete all the emails - the one about about opting out, and all the ones that come after because I didn't bother to opt out. Let them send that first one if it means that someone experiencing the pain of loss can get a little reprieve. It's not hurting me.

Posted by dstb on Thursday, June 06, 2024 at 9:48 pm

Maybe they are using Father’s Day (and possibly Mother’s Day as well) for a pilot. Because let’s be honest, if they can get their customers to tell them which holidays they commemorate, think of all the targeted advertising they can send! It’s pretty brilliant, considering they will have looked like the sensitive good guy while obtaining all this marketing information from the customer directly, but if most people treat it like DSTB does, then of course the gain is minimal.

Posted by Stephan on Friday, June 07, 2024 at 12:14 am

If Ancestry has given me the opportunity to opt out of anything other than generalized e-mails, I missed it. Ditto for Mother's Day e-mails from Shutterfly. But I do miss a lot of marketing e-mails, thanks to my handy e-mail filters.

I do see the market research idea, although if they've been paying attention, Shutterfly ought to know that I don't buy in response to holidays, but to the magic words, "Free 8x8 photo book" or "10 free cards."

The opt-out e-mail was merely the trigger, not the purpose, of this post. The crux of the matter is that these holidays are not supposed to be about us, but about others. It's not about how I feel, but about how I can honor my mother, my father, or at least their memory. (Speaking as a genealogist, I'd extend that back any number of generations as well. Genealogy is merely "Honor thy father and thy mother" writ large.)

I first noticed the problem in a number of churches, where—as one friend so bluntly and accurately put it— "Mother's Day is more important at this church than Easter." I could understand using the occasion as the opportunity for a sermon on how we can best honor our parents, but most churches make a point of honoring all the mothers/fathers of the congregation in general. And that's why they've gotten into trouble lately for offending all sorts and conditions of people who for whatever reason might feel excluded. Much better to simply acknowledge that we all have parents and should be honoring them in some way that seems appropriate to us, whatever our personal situation may be.

Or, we could just stop acquiescing to the ridiculous proliferation of holidays. On the other hand, today is National Doughnut Day, and I hear Krispy Kreme is celebrating. I am not a doughnut, but I have had many doughnuts in the past and wouldn't mind having a few more.)

Posted by SursumCorda on Friday, June 07, 2024 at 11:32 am

Declaration: I LOVE MEN! Definitely NOT a candidate for a world without them. But then I was blessed with a good husband, caring sons, good male friends & acquaintances. Only ran into one scary male in my whole life. Sadly, I realize I've been lucky. But I firmly believe most men really try to be good husbands and good fathers, just as most women work at being good wives and mothers. So, Feminists, give the guys a break! We need them!

Posted by Grace Kone on Saturday, June 08, 2024 at 11:29 am

I agree, Grace. Granted, men definitely need civilizing. That's our job. :) And the job of culture and custom. Those characteristics that give them their weaknesses are also their strengths, and we don't cure the former by eliminating the latter.

Posted by SursumCorda on Saturday, June 08, 2024 at 11:57 am
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