Letter from a reluctant merchant
Date: Sun, 23 Oct 94 14:48:15 PDT
Subject: Letter from a reluctant merchant
Forwarded-by: bostic@CS.Berkeley.EDU (Keith Bostic)
From: Wendell Craig Baker <email@example.com>
[ The layout is mine -- WCB ]
Wall Street Journal, Tuesday, October 18, 1994
Mr. M.J. Whitson
California State University
Los Alamitos, CA 90720
Attn: Charleen Wood, Procurement and Support Services Officer
We have your eight page PO# 940809 for one copy of our book ``The
Politics of Information Management.'' We are unable to fill your $49
order for the following reasons:
- In the Purchase Order Terms and Conditions you wish us to waive any
infringement of our copyrighted materials by officers, agents and
employees of the California State University. We cannot agree to make
available a valuable Copyright for the price of a book.
- You will withhold all payments or make a 38% withholding in order to
file a year-end 1099 form. We are unable to handle the paperwork of a
separate 1099 for every book we sell. That would be double our
- You are requiring us to fill a Vendor Data Record (form 204) which
is largely identical with your Vendor Information Sheet form.
Filling both forms takes excessive amounts of time.
- We are a small business, and therefore you require that we submit a
copy of the OSMB Small Business Certification. We do not have an OSMB
Certification and do not know where to get one.
- Your attachment to form 204 specifies that I obtain a determination
with regard to my being classified either as a resident or non-
resident subject to California tax withholdings, to be reclaimed by
filing at year-end California tax returns. We do not plan to make any
tax filings in California.
- Your contract rider contains a Privacy Statement on unspecified
disclosures that makes us liable for penalties of up to $20,000.
- As a condition for our filling out the order you are asking us to
post statements notifying all employees of compliance with Code
Section 8355 and certifying as to our adopting a four point Drug-Free
Awareness program that complies with California law. Deviations are
punishable as perjury under the laws of the State of California.
Please note that our firm has only two employees, who do not take even
- Your Minority/Women Business Enterprise Self Certification Form 962
requires detailed statistics on ethnic characteristics of our firm,
defining each ethnic group according to their stated geographic
origins. To assist in making such distinctions you provide a
check-list of ethnic identity of the owners of this firm, leaving us
by default with only one open choice, Caucasian, which you do not
define. My husband and I do not know of any ancestors who may have
ever been in the proximity of the Caucasian mountains, and therefore
we are unable to comply with your requirement to identify our ethnic
origin according to your geographic rules.
We therefore suggest that you purchase our book at a bookstore.
Reprinted with permission of the Wall Street Journal copyright 1994.
Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
© 1994 Peter Langston