By Ernie Witham   |   January 7, 2021

Hi. My name is Ernie… 

“Hi Ernie!” 

…and I am a Pinterest-aholic. It has been 12 days, 5 hours, and 31 minutes since my last Pinterest purchase. (Light applause.) Thank you. 

A plastic vase you can stick on your refrigerator. Just one of the many items Ernie cannot resist on Pinterest.

Funny, I remember a few years back when they predicted that we would all be shopping online in the future. I scoffed at this. “I need to see things. Touch things. Try things on.” And I continued going to brick and mortar stores (actually, in Santa Barbara, it’s mostly plaster and red tile) to shop long after others had stopped. And it was nice that there seemed to be a bit more parking and fewer people at the checkout stands. And the not-so-busy staff was so helpful.

“Welcome to Plus Sizes Are Us. I will be your personal shopper today. Here for a larger shirt? That one seems a bit snug around the middle.”

“Actually, I’m here for shoes.”

“Good idea, that style went out with disco.”

Of course, you had to go to a number of stores to find everything you needed. “Welcome to Sports Nutz. Bowler, right? I can tell by the way you are bending over and listing to one side.”

“Actually, I’m looking for a yoga mat.”

“Gift for someone?”

And it was nice to just wander about boutique shops. “Welcome to Songs and Bongs. CD or CBD?”

“Sorry, just looking for a direction.”

“Got you covered, Dude. Granddaddy Purple will get you there. One bud or two?”

But finally, I relented. I tentatively made a first purchase on Amazon back when they just sold books. “Let’s see,” the text on the screen read. “Ernie’s World the Book, by Ernie Witham… Wait that’s you. You’re buying your own book?”

“I need to increase my sales figures.”

“Good thinking. Let’s see, that brings you up to… 11.” 

For the next few years, I split my time between actual stores and virtual stores. I opened a PayPal account, using the funds collected from sales of my (now) three humor books to buy other things I needed. “Pay with PayPal?” The button asked. “Yes,” I said as I moused over it. “Sorry, insufficient funds available. Please buy more of your own books first.”

Finally, stores started letting you keep a Visa card on file along with all your information, so when you saw something you needed, you just had to push the purchase button. “Congratulations! Your ‘Sling Your Thing’ underwear assortment in pleasing pastels will be shipping immediately.”

“Wait! I was just looking…”

Like many folks, I got the hang of online shopping after a while. I learned how to put things into a shopping cart and double-check before I actually bought to make sure the quantity button was on 1 when I clicked it and not 17. I learned to read the store’s return policy: “Place your order back into its original package, seal it, take it to UPS. Pay. We will happily refund your purchase amount in three to six months, if we are still in business by then.” I even learned to check to see if the actual company was located in China or Bhutan so that shipping didn’t take 18 weeks.

Yup. I had everything under control… until I found Pinterest. For those of you unfamiliar with Pinterest, it is a giant bulletin board with an interesting array of items pinned on it. Some are funny photos and witty sayings. Some are educational opportunities. Many are ads, especially this time of year… “Dear! You’ve got to see this! It’s a plastic vase that you can stick on your refrigerator. So cool.” Or, “Dear, you won’t believe this! A collapsible stool that can hold 350 pounds.” Or, “A dancing robot!” Or “mini drones you can play with in the house… a battery operated chain saw… Baby Yoda made out of Legos… a remote-controlled excavator… do-it-yourself snow cone maker… and… and… and…”

Anyway, thank you for listening to my story. I’m feeling much better now that I have admitted I have a problem. And I promise, as 2020 melds into 2021, I will avoid Pinterest purchases and be a better guy…

Wait! My phone just dinged. A 27-piece grilling tool set just went on special. Comes with a strap-on headlamp for night cooking. Gotta run! 


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