• author
    • Donald Sanders

    • March 19, 2014 in Columnists

    Playing by the rules became very expensive


    Maggie Burns


    Backstory by Maggie: Somewhere in the dark night of Monday, March 3 a bogus Google.doc went out to everyone on my contact list of names – 840 people. It took me until Thursday morning to send out a BE WARY notice to my entire email list. On Thursday, March 6, at 10:56 p.m. this message came in on my computer:

    From Donald Sanders: Ha, too late. I opened it, got a virus, couldn’t go online, had to call support, they referred me to a private company whose IT rep charged me $150 to fix it. I was on the landline with this guy for 2 1/2 hours. I usually catch these types of emails because they aren’t quite proper. The virus then spreads by sending emails to all of your contacts. How devious huh?

    Let me know if you get one from me. Oops, too late. Don’t open this. LOL

    PS: Here is the bill.

    From Maggie to Don Sanders: I am very, very sorry that you got trapped by the viral message sent out from my computer by some weirdo in Los Angeles. And I appreciate your wishing for me to pay the $150.00 bill you had from a tech service to get you online again. Believe me, I empathize.

    The way it happened was this: I was working on the last drought story for the Winters Express and had contacted the San Jose Mercury-News to ask permission to use an excellent graphic that had appeared in one of their stories on the drought. The librarian there, after checking with her superiors, gave me permission to use the graphic and put me in touch with the artist. In one of his emails, he asked what form I wanted it in – jpg, PDF or maybe a Google.doc. I replied the jpg was fine.

    Then, about 20 minutes later a Google.doc appeared in my in-box. Thinking it was from the artist, I opened it, and when it asked for my password, I blithely put it in but didn’t get a new graphic.

    The next afternoon – Tuesday – I realized I had had no new emails for 24 hours. Especially I had not received my Word of the Day for Spanish conversation, which comes routinely around 3:00 a.m. I could send emails out, but my contact list was weird and kept coming up with names I hardly ever talk to. Then the Winters Express editor Debra DeAngelo told me she had emailed me twice that day, but I never saw anything.

    Fortunately, our computer guru was coming to set up my husband’s laptop that afternoon and he took the time (only one half hour) to straighten it out and tell me how to fix the problem.

    The way I look at this situation, it is really The Winters Express who is responsible for all our pain and suffering.

    First of all, if the Editor-in-Chief were not such a stickler for getting permission for everything and just let us rip off our computer any nice little illustrations we find, this whole episode would not have happened. But no, just because someone ripped off her column and reprinted it without attribution, she thinks we should ask, and actually get permission to use someone else’s work. Really! How does she think the world works? Especially in Washington!

    And, let me tell you, this cost me plenty! Not only did I also have to pay a computer guru, but I then spent two hours changing the login ID’s and passwords for my important online accounts; only the important ones, just in case. I don’t really care if MySpicePage or Peet’s gets a virus. But Zappo’s, where I buy my shoes! Well, that’s important. And, I tell you, I have different passwords for everything and they are works of art, so it is not a simple job to change them and make them beautiful and appropriate. Then, I had to clean up my contacts list which took another two hours because, due to some past work, I had an email contact for every nonprofit agency in Yolo County. I hate to think of how this one stupid mistake on my part, due to the Winters Express, nearly made inoperative every nonprofit in Yolo County. If each of them had fallen for a message supposedly from me, as you did, half the county would be in limbo right now.

    So, this is a long way of telling you I will pay your tech bill, but we have to deduct some of my expenses as well: 30 minutes for computer guru: $37.50. 4 hours of my time, at my Winters Express salary rate of $100 per hour: $400.00. Pain and needless suffering on the part of The Main Man, listening to me moan and complain: $5000. Oh, and one more half hour writing this response to your email: $50.

    That makes a grand total of $5,487.50 for me and $150.00 for you.

    Don’t you just think we should submit this to the Publisher, Charlie Wallace, since it was The Winters Express that got us both, his star reporters, in this fine fix?

    Yours sincerely,


    Don Sanders to Maggie:

    Dear Maggie,

    Perfect! If you will nominate me for a Pulitzer or Citizen of the Year I will agree with you to submit the bill to Charlie. I think we should send a bill to John Donlevy at the City of Winters too. He likes getting funny stuff like that. So far I’ve sent him plans for a Muon Ring from here to Davis and Back, a toll booth at my corner, and a traffic plan for Elliot Street. I think he is responsible, too, because we are both really trying to improve the city of Winters. Of course we have to tell him that Charlie approved it. Ha!

    Maggie to Don Sanders: I think we should take these profits of our misfortune and have a really good dinner at the Buckhorn, maybe on the house?

    Yours sincerely,



  • Leave a Comment