If you know anyone in the tech industry, or anyone who has worked in a call center, you have probably heard of PEBCAK, which stands for "Problem Exists Between Chair and Keyboard," i.e., the problem is with the person using the equipment, not the equipment itself. (Stories of clueless PC users confusing a cd drive for a cupholder come to mind.) I think producers and consumers of yarn sold online need a similar acronym: PEBEM, or "problem exists between eyes and monitor." Sometimes, for whatever reason, yarn just does not photograph well, or the seller's monitor isn't properly calibrated, or the buyer's monitor isn't properly calibrated, or the browser does weird things to certain colors (I've heard that this can happen with Firefox, anyway), or any number of other things can interfere with the correct communication of color.
Until now, I've never had any catastrophic misinterpretations of yarn colors. I've bought a few things which turned out to be a little darker or lighter, or more or less intense, than how they appeared -- but nothing too dire. Usually, if it looks like the photo has been heavily manipulated, or not taken in great light, I just skip buying altogether until I can see some of whateveritis in person. It's just not worth it. But Sundara's yarn photography is usually really accurate, in my experience, so I was pretty surprised when the Aran Silky Merino I ordered earlier this month turned out to be green and reddish-brown, when the photo I remember was of a goldish/ochreish/orangeish yarn. Very weird. It's so different, I'm thinking I should email Sundara just to see if she can compare my photo (which is really accurate, on my monitor anyway) with the one she put up when she sold it, just to make sure that some sort of mislabeling didn't occur. Because the color I got, while pretty, is probably not going to be as flattering on me as the color I thought I was going to be getting, and I am really kind of tired of going through the whole destash rigamarole. We'll see how that goes.
So tell me -- have you had any truly terrible PEBEM experiences?