A year ago November, my Grandma died.

I have sent her flowers around the holidays for years, using a couple of different internet websites.  As a result, I get email prompts to buy her flowers around her birthday and now around Christmas.  My options are to unsubscribe to all the emails from these vendors, but there’s no option to just let them know that I am still happy to hear from them, but if they keep on prompting me to send flowers to my dead grandmother, I am going to start getting snippy.

This is something we haven’t figured out how to do well yet.  How do we keep things personal, prompt people to remember holidays, yet give them an option to opt in/out of specific prompts when relationships change.

Imagine less tragic but still emotionally charged issues people face every day. If you were going through a divorce,there’s enough pain already without getting prompts to send your ex-wife gifts every so often throughout the year.  And is it tacky to send a girlfriend flowers on the discount meant for your wife?  If you’re someone cheating on a spouse, what if you get prompts in your email box to send flowers to someone other than your wife, and she see this?  Awkward.

As companies move towards personalization, we’re going to need to start thinking about ways to update people about changed circumstances.  We’re going to need to figure out how to manage our digital footprints after we’re no longer here.  What happens to the data we leave behind?  How do our families track down all the contacts we have, all the offers we’ve responded to, and what comes next?

The florists may be on the front line with this one, since they and the annual food gift people are the ones most inclined, in my experience, to send the “Why don’t you send (insert name here) the gift you sent last year?  Or how about something a bit more special?”

And in all seriousness, I miss my Grandma enough already without being reminded that it’s not necessary to send her flowers this year.

Sorry to interrupt your holiday with this rant.  Back to our regularly scheduled holiday cheer.