Buying furniture seems like a really fun idea until you go to the counter, put your credit card down and hear this sentence: "Okay so, delivery in… six weeks?"
This spiel also involves, "No, we can't give you an exact time you'll just have to cancel all your plans and become a prisoner in your own home for the day."
Which is why we all go to Ikea.
But the Swedish homewares giant is not without its faults. Here are 10 thoughts you'll inevitably have as you try to make it through the maze to the market hall.
1. They have all the furniture, and I can just take it home today!
Yes, you can 'take it home today' but that also means spending the evening in a cold sweat building your own furniture, and the next six months drowning in the cardboard packaging because you missed the hard rubbish collection by one week.
You visit at 10am on a weekday, hoping to avoid the crowds. Everyone else has the same idea.
2. Why is everyone here? Don't people have better things to do?
Let me be clear: I don't have better things to do, because I am an expert consumer, but doesn't everybody else have a proper job? It's 10am on a Tuesday and the whole of Australia is wandering zombie-like through Ikea. Who's running things while we're all trapped in here?
3. I don't need a bag, I'm just grabbing a kitchen rail for my utensils and heading straight to the checkout
The ultimate rookie mistake. No one, but no one, just grabs one thing at Ikea. Just accept you'll end up needing a trolley, a free pencil and a form to keep track of the pickup locations for everything you'll end up buying. The free tape measure is moot because you didn't measure that empty corner in your living room before you came.
4. Those Kallax storage shelves look really practical, I might get some
Spoiler alert: those iconic square storage shelves are not practical. Firstly, they come in very long boxes that do not fit sideways into a sedan. Secondly, if you want to actually store things in them, you'll have to fork out extra cash to buy 12 storage baskets (which will also require assembly). As the final kicker, anything that goes into the storage baskets will never be seen again because baskets that slide out without drawer runners are hell to use.
5. I think that loft bed is the answer to all of our small-bedroom issues
In the showroom, loft beds look like the answer to everyone's medium-density-housing prayers. But when you build them yourself at home, they're a creaking, swaying house of cards that could expose your inferior construction skills at any moment.
6. I'm hungry. I might get some meatballs to tide me over
The Ikea food hall sounds perfect for lunch. Until you get in there, slide a tray along the bain marie, spy the scrambled eggs set into a solid cube, and start getting flashbacks to The Shawshank Redemption.
You WILL end up with a collection of branded pencils and measuring tapes.
7. I'll just take this shortcut through the Market Hall...
This is a trick. There is no 'shortcut' through the Market Hall. There is only a labyrinth of cushions, cheap scented candles, novelty watering cans and last-gasp DIY garden gazebos.
8. A paper floor lamp for $19? I want one!
Trust me, you don't. Ikea floor lamps come with teeny tiny light bulbs that emit only enough light for a mouse's slumber party. Plus, the 'specialty' lightbulbs are not available at supermarkets, so you'll be forever condemned to returning to Ikea to buy replacements.
9. I might just grab 10 packets of these cute little serviettes before I head to the checkout
Don't bother – they have zero absorbency. It's like wiping your mouth with a piece of waxed paper.
10. Hang on, was it Aisle 15 Location 5, or Location 15 Aisle 5?
This is the point where you realise you should have:
a) grabbed one of those forms and written stuff down
b) picked up that kitchen rail you actually came in here for.
In any case, you're so happy to see the exit that you abandon your trolley – sending it wheeling away into Aisle 15 – and make a break for it. Now you just need to remember where you parked the car six hours ago.
Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.