It’s not surprising that pictures often present reality in a much more glamorized way than what’s really in front of the lens. Whether it’s a heavily filtered Instagram photo or an expertly lit meal picture, we constantly advertise our lives in a stylized way, and the same goes for the things being advertised to us. Because of this, it’s hard to trust a photo for what it is, especially when it’s our only preview before making a decision.
Take it from these people, who certainly shouldn’t have been so trusting with the visuals presented to them.
From online shopping fails to photos whose misleading nature had comic conclusions, here are 25 times the picture was much better than the reality.
1. Online shopping is always a gamble, but when a price seems too good to be true, it’s because it probably is. This guy thought he scored by finding an affordable embroidered carpet. The carpet may have come as pictured, but it was certainly not the size he was anticipating. At least, according to that one five star review, someone was happy with their doll-size shag.
2. When you hire an entertainer for a child’s birthday party, you only hope that the costume will light up the kids’ faces. This family, however, ended up receiving the poor man’s SpongeBob, a haunting DIY creation which will surely haunt party-goers for years to come. The use of actual sponges here is admirable, but you’d think it would be easier to buy an actual SpongeBob costume, especially as an investment in your career.
3. If a product uses blatant Photoshop in the marketing, it’s probably safe to assume that it won’t work as advertised. This person decided to take a risk in hopes that they’d have a Bob Ross bust with a full head of chia. However, what they got instead was something much more bedraggled.
4. Ever since Disney’s Frozen enchanted audiences everywhere, Elsa has become a birthday party staple for young girls. However, this ambitious Elsa cake did not turn out as it was ever so optimistically pictured. Instead, what arrived looked more like Elsa’s estranged aunt who showed up to the party as a ruse to ask for money.
5. Most of us rely heavily on the box image when doing a puzzle for direction, which makes you wonder just how long did it take these puzzle makers to realize that these pieces had nothing to do with marine life. While this was most likely just a manufacturing blunder, it certainly amps up the difficulty.
6. A graffiti artist painted a wall with a Road Runner tunnel on it, which proved to be a little too inviting for one driver. If the cartoonishness of the tunnel wasn’t enough, you’d at least think the addition of the Road Runner himself would have been a dead giveaway. Turns out the Road Runner can fool more than just Wile E. Coyote.
7. When Colleen ordered flowers that form the face of an adorable lion, she didn’t expect to get a googly-eyed face of fear and bewilderment. Let’s just hope that Colleen’s reason for sending flowers wasn’t in the wake of a somber occasion because this bouquet isn’t going to do much to cheer someone up.
8. When you’re choosing where to stay when traveling, you really have to trust the pictures advertised on the Internet. It can be pretty disheartening when you arrive only to discover the photos must have been from when the place first opened. The only one who will find this swampy pool inviting is Shrek.
9. Usually when you see a model sporting the piece of apparel you’re purchasing, it’s safe to assume that the article of clothing will fit a human body. However, that was not the case for this person who received an XXXS size. Disappointment all around from Christy, her daughter, and their cat.
10. Teddy bears are supposed to bring joy and comfort to children, but this person ended up receiving what looks like the rotting corpse of a stuffed animal. One would hope that they at least included some stuffing for whoever bought this. Who knows? Maybe “Go stuff yourself” is this toy company’s motto.
11. This woman may have thought she was going as Princess Leia for Halloween, but she ended up looking more like Ebenezer Scrooge. At least that’s the beauty of Halloween. You can really be anything — just not always what you were anticipating to be. If that’s the dress, you can only imagine what the wig and belt must look like.
12. There’s no way that the model in that photo was wearing this same dress. It’s like the dress in the advertised picture expired upon delivery. Usually when you order a dress like this, it’s for a special occasion. Let’s just hope this buyer had enough time to find something else.
13. From the four Photoshopped kids having the time of their lives, you’d think that you’d have your own personal water park in the backyard. Unfortunately, it looks like this thing can’t hold more than a pitcher of water and the sad excuse for a slide isn’t going to provide much of a thrill.
14. Microwavable meals rarely end up looking like the promise on the package, but at least they usually resemble some sort of edible meal. This lasagna, however, did not turn out anywhere close to how it was pictured. In fact, it looks more like a digested version of the advertised meal.
15. Poppy from Trolls radiates a good time, but this unnerving ball version of the happiest troll ever born looks like she misbehaved on her way through Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. It’s safe to say that this little girl does not have the same joyous reaction as the girl pictured on the packaging.
16. Keyword: surplus. This vintage puffer did not end up skimping on the puff factor. This may not be what this girl pictured when she ordered this jacket, but there are some benefits to what she ended up getting. This coat is perfect for sneaking in a variety of items somewhere and also ideal if you ever feel like jumping in a game of bubble ball.
17. It’s a special type of lazy to need a chair that can fit in your pocket, but apparently, it also requires a special type of pocket. This portable mini chair would have been a challenging fit even if they were cargo short pockets. Not sure what kind of denim the person pictured on the packaging is wearing.
18. Who wouldn’t want a staircase that looks like it came straight from a video game where each plank falls after you’ve stepped on it? Well, anyone who thinks logically really. This is definitely a case where the picture is more appealing than the reality. Having to go down or up these planks would require some serious focus.
19. It’s hard to deny the visual excitement of this baked potato from hell, but this is probably one that’s best appreciated in picture form only. There are bad cooks and then there are cooks who should avoid kitchen appliances for the sake of everyone else’s well being. It might be time for this person to invest in a timer.
20. Now here is one surefire way to get your kid over their Barney obsession. You can only imagine the reaction of the parents when this poor excuse for a costume shows up to entertain their party. This resembles more a child’s bad drawing of Barney than it does the real thing.
21. This Chili Spaghetti concoction does warn consumers that the cheese is not included. However, what it doesn’t warn buyers that the picture is most likely of a completely different meal. They would have been better off using a stock photo of worms writhing around in the dirt if they wanted to accurately depict what’s inside.
22. Apparently, kids’ water toys are truly designed to help your little one understand disappointment at an early age. There’s absolutely no way that you’re going to fit three kids in that sad excuse of a pool. This little girl would probably be better off swimming in a filled water cooler.
23. The whole reason one would buy these balloons is for their unique shape. However, it turns out that these are just regular balloons with alien faces on them that could easily have been done with a Sharpie. I guess there are some things that can only be done by the talent of Carnies.
24. It’s safe to assume that when you’re getting an ice cream version of a cartoon character, it probably won’t be the perfect representation of the toon you know and love. However, this frozen SpongeBob takes a lot of creative liberty. You can only imagine what this thing will look like when it starts to melt.
25. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with this intricate hairstyle, and it’s bound to produce a couple of compliments. However, this is one ‘do that’s probably best for a quick pic and not for real life. It wouldn’t take much more than a gust of wind to make this braid look a lot less aesthetically pleasing.
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