History Main / StepThreeProfit

27th Aug '13 10:16:02 AM SeptimusHeap
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[[quoteright:350:[[WesternAnimation/SouthPark http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/underpants-gnomes-business-model.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:WhatCouldPossiblyGoWrong]]
->''We have it all figured out! Step One: we land the Exodar. Step Three: we defeat the [[TheLegionsOfHell Legion]] and go home. There is only one detail missing....''
-->-- Male draenei joke from ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft''

A hilariously ill-conceived scheme that lacks the "[[ZanyScheme scheme]]", or at least a well thought out one. Often, it's not even clear how the plan is supposed to work -- but the planner thinks it's [[CrazyEnoughToWork such a good idea]], it ''has'' to work ''somehow''.

Doesn't actually require the final step to be "financial profit". Variations include "I get the girl", [[EvilScheme "world domination"]], and "win". The point is that it contains a specific first step, a final step that benefits the planner, but misses a way to connect the two ends.

The implementation of the scheme is sometimes, but not always, [[CutLexLuthorACheck ridiculously more expensive than any money they could hope to make]] on the off-chance the scheme is successful. Sometimes, it just flat out does not make sense -- but due to the UnspokenPlanGuarantee, if [[OnlySaneMan anyone points this out]] it will of course [[GoneHorriblyRight succeed without a hitch]]. Can be an EvilScheme, used by the villains.

See also CutLexLuthorACheck for when the intellect and hard work used to advance the plan would be far more profitable to the character if he just did an honest day's work, rather than work on his EvilScheme. When the character develops the middle steps as he goes along, it becomes an IndyPloy. Compare also the SlipperySlopeFallacy (which is sort of like "Step three: loss"). MurderTheHypotenuse is an extreme example of "then I get the girl"-style StepThreeProfit. When Steps One and Two are all nice and clear but Step Three (the actual goal) is lacking, see AndThenWhat

A subtrope of NonSequitur.

[[noreallife]]
----
!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:{{Anime}} and {{Manga}}]]
* InvokedTrope in ''LightNovel/HatarakuMaousama''. [[http://mangafox.me/manga/hataraku_maousama/v01/c001/41.html Climb the economic ladder in MgRonald's. Conquer the World!.]]
* The SOS Brigade's Valentine's Day chocolate-making meeting in {{Haruhi-chan}} had the following steps:
-->Phase 1: Make chocolate.
-->Phase 2: Powder chocolate.
-->Phase 3: Wrap chocolate.
-->Phase 4: Unwrap and eat chocolate.
-->Phase 5: ?
-->Phase 6: Profit.
* [[KurageHime Kuranosuke's]] plan to stop the tearing down of the Amamizu-kan café:
-->Phase 1: [[SheCleansUpNicely Clean up nicely]] the Sisterhood.
-->Phase 2: ?
-->Phase 3: Amamizu-kan saved
* The title character of ''ShinryakuIkaMusume'' has come up with a TakeOverTheWorld plot which goes like this:
-->Phase 1: Turn Lemon Beach House into a home base.
-->Phase 2: ?
-->Phase 3: Conquer Earth.
* Buried under [[GambitPileup half a dozen]] {{plan}}s in VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'s official manga ''Silent Sinner in Blue'' are two protagonists and one vampire who have unabashedly embraced the StepThreeProfit:
--> 1. Go to the Moon
--> 2. ?
--> 3. Profit
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* The villains in ''ComicBook/ChickTracts'' can sometimes fall into this, such as the gay rights group who wanted to make sure their children wouldn't be bullied by infecting the Red Cross' donor blood supply (which was kept in a huge vat) with AIDS.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* ''Film/TheAvengers'':
--->Step 1: MacrossMissileMassacre the alien dragon to get its attention.
--->Step 2: ???
--->Step 3: World saved.
** Lampshaded by Tony in that same scene. "Right. What was step 2 again?"
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* In the ''Series/{{Friends}}'' episode "The One In Vegas", Joey is convinced he's found his "identical hand twin", and that this will make his fortune. Somehow.
* At a [[TheOffice Dunder-Mifflin]] shareholder meeting, Michael attempts to pacify the crowd with a 45-day, 45-point plan for staving off bankruptcy, to be generated during a 15 minute break.
--> Day 45, company saved. Day 44, go. What do we got?
** The business plan of the short-lived Michael Scott Paper Company basically amounted to this too, considering they had no real capital or paper to sell. (At some point they got some, although it's not explained how).
* ''Series/SaturdayNightLive'' had a sketch where a bank just made change, nothing else. When asked how they managed to stay in business, the spokesman replied, "Volume".
* Taken to another level on ''MyFamily''
-->'''Nick''': I’m going to become a dot-com millionaire.
-->'''Ben''': Really? That’s great. So, shouldn’t you, like, get a good idea first?
-->'''Nick''': But it is a good idea. Dot-com millionaire.
* The "Money Momentum" scam sketch from ''TheKidsInTheHall'', with ThoseTwoGuys targeting senior citizens.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:New Media]]
* The format has become a bit of a [[MemeticMutation meme]] in certain parts of the internet. Can be combined with almost anything, and be any length as long as the last two steps are "????" and "Profit". Example using tropes:
-->Phase 1: Launch EvilPlan
-->Phase 2: Do EvilLaugh
-->Phase 3: ????
-->Phase 4: Profit
** Another good example of this form is in LoadingReadyRun's [[http://loadingreadyrun.com/videos/view/468/How-to-LRR How To LRR]], where the ?, step 10, was a fake buffer error.
* Ladies and Gentlemen: [[http://piccsy.com/2010/08/how-to-draw-an-owl/ How to Draw an Owl]].
* [[DNAKpts4tv Kpts4tv's Death Note Abridged]] changes [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKcyXL0iQx4&t=9m18s Light Yagami's]] grand scheme to:
-->1: Kill celebrities.
-->2: Distract the media with their deaths.
-->3: ???
-->4: Become god of the new world.
* A variant is presented in [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mdu9oNxGSEE this video]]:
-->First you start the Skype call
-->Then you grab a beer
-->Then you start recording, and...
-->Something Kirby race!
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Newspaper Comics]]
* [[http://www.sciencecartoonsplus.com/gallery/math/math07.gif “I think you should be more explicit here in step two”]]
* This was a running gag in ''{{Doonesbury}}'' comics during the DotCom Boom. A character started a DotCom company and began Step One by finding venture capitalists to invest in his company. He was so successful at this that he never got around to figuring out what Step Two was supposed to be. To his great amazement the company actually developed a Step Two on its own but he does not find out what they were actually selling until the very end when Microsoft forced them out of business.
* In ''FoxTrot'', Jason also had at least one arc where his plan amounted (as many other examples here) to Step 1: Create a DotCom company; Step 3: Profit when investors come running.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* {{Troll}}s on the ''{{Runescape}}'' forums use this quite a bit on "How do I make money" threads. Step 1. Cut willows. Step 2. ? Step 3: Profit (Willow logs are very cheap, around 13 GP each, and as a reference, 2 million GP is considered broke by many players.)
* ''RecordshopTycoon'' references this trope: Under the "The Office > Marketing Menu > Prices", you see a convenient illustration: Step One: Karma and Average Selling Price. Step 2: ? Step 3: Profit
* Utsuho, the FinalBoss of ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}} Chireiden ~ Subterranean Animism'', has one of these as her "grand plan", with Step One being "Reignite the Hell of Blazing Fires" and Step Three being "TakeOverTheWorld!". Entirely justified though, as even before she went [[WithGreatPowerComesGreatInsanity mad with power]] she was deeply stupid.
** This applies to pretty much every Touhou game.
--> Step 1: See a problem\\
Step 2: Blow up youkai\\
Step 3: ??\\
Step 4: Profit (or lack of...)
* Dr. Ned in VideoGame/{{Borderlands}} indicates he is going to do evil for the sake of profit. Evil seems to be raising the undead for recreational use. Later on he admits that step two never materialized and he's broke.
* VideoGame/TheSimsMedieval has a quest in which one of your heroes intends to learn the secret of creating life. The description ends with "...And somehow profit from it".
* The Apprentice from ''VideoGame/OrcsMustDie'' sometimes says this gem when placing a coinforge, an item that increase the monetary reward of any mob killed on it:
** "Step 1, Put down coinforge. Step 2: Something with orcs but I forget. Step 3: Profit!
* A long-running joke among those who know ''ResidentEvil'' is that the EvilPlan of the Umbrella Corporation is always:
-->Phase 1: Zombies!
-->Phase 2: ???
-->Phase 3: Profit.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/{{Shortpacked}}''
** Galasso, appears to have the following long-term plan: "1. Dominate the toy store market, 2. ?, 3. TakeOverTheWorld."
*** His DumbingOfAge counterpart seems to be attempting the same with a pizza parlor.
** Another ''Shortpacked'' example appears in [[http://www.shortpacked.com/2008/comic/book-8/03-message-to-upper-management/thelight/ this strip]], where Ethan is trying to run the store. "1. Lie. 2. ??? 3. Profit."
* Ganondorf's master plan from the ''ZeldaComic'' is shown at one point to be "Step I. Punch Link, Step III. Rule World." [[http://www.zeldacomic.net/episode-189-triforce-with-wisdom/ Brilliant!]] To hell with step 2, man; he's busy!
* ''Webcomic/EightBitTheater'':
** In [[http://www.nuklearpower.com/2003/02/08/episode-247-early-to-bed-early-to-destruction/ this]] Red Mage's escape plan consists entirely of "Jail, Action/Hijinx, Freedom!"
** Another plan is a variant on the theme. He reasons that the logic of his previous plans was their flaw (since a failure at any one step meant the whole thing fell apart), so he devises a plan utterly devoid of logic; that way, even if one step goes tits up, it didn't actually have any connection to the next step, so the plan as a whole could soldier merrily forward regardless.
* When Freddie the Flying Fetus asks BobTheAngryFlower to fill in the missing steps in his plan, he actually does so. [[http://www.angryflower.com/bigpla.gif Sort of]].
* In ''Webcomic/{{Freefall}}'', [[CorruptCorporateExecutive Kornada's]] "plan" seems to go like this:
-->1. Make the RidiculouslyHumanRobots download [[DeadlyUpgrade GITD]].\\
2. [[KillThemAll Lobotomise them]].\\
3. ?\\
4. [[http://freefall.purrsia.com/ff1700/fc01661.htm Profit]].
** Kornada has an excuse, by the way. He's a high-ranking management official for the company, and based on the way corporations seem to be run in the Freefall universe, [[KickedUpstairs it's unlikely he was ever competent at anything]].
** He ordered a robot to make the plan. There is a step three. He just doesn't understand it.
** [[http://freefall.purrsia.com/ff2200/fc02176.htm Step three apparently involves somehow getting himself power of attorney over all the lobotomized robots (As they are no longer capable of handling their own affairs), which includes control of any bank accounts the robots have access to.]] The exact details of how haven't been mentioned.
* In [[http://the-qlc.com/loserz/go/423 this strip]] of ''Webcomic/{{Loserz}}'', in-comic:
--> 1. FORCE people to get fat.\\
2. ???\\
3. Profit!
* ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'':
** Torg runs into this problem [[http://www.sluggy.com/comics/archives/daily/19980518 once]].
--> '''Torg''': There's another one of me running around?
--> '''Riff''': You sound excited.
--> '''Torg''': Two of me! Think of the possibilities!
--> ([[BeatPanel ...]])
--> '''Riff''': Nope. Can't think of anything.
--> '''Torg''': We could do a really cool Doublemint commercial!
** Also [[http://www.sluggy.com/comics/archives/daily/20050418 Riff]]:
--> '''Torg''': How would that "save" us?
--> '''Riff''': It's big and clunky, better for head smacking!
--> '''Torg''': What about the other two guys with guns?
--> '''Riff''': I dunno. [[IndyPloy Hit them with a chair or something?]] Do I have to think of everything?
* ''{{Erfworld}}'' has a variant. Wanda admits she doesn't know what the missing step is but also firmly believes YouCantFightFate so she is going through with the plan anyway.
* In ''RustyAndCo'', Madeline actually has a full plan. All the odder in that she's TheDitz.
-->''1. Find Baddies.\\
2. Smite Baddies.\\
3. Profit!''
* Ask Webcomic/AxeCop [[http://axecop.com/comic/ask-axe-cop-75/ #75]] has a race of gill-men who want to remove all the land from Earth, but even they aren't sure how.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* The Underpants Gnomes from ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'', as seen in the image (and thus are the TropeNamer). They go around at night collecting vast quantities of underwear, which they will use to profit. Somehow. As shown, the chart has become a MemeticMutation. Note the element of BeamMeUpScotty. Every gnome figured that some of the other gnomes knew what step two was, and that it was being kept secret for a very, ''very'' good reason, which is why they didn't question it.
* Some of the plots of the Legion of Doom in ''SuperFriends'' ran this way. They were foiled every time, of course, but their schemes would include an often equally expensive escape plan.
** They would go to some ridiculous expense to get some item that would brainwash the Super Friends into walking into a volcano, thus clearing the way for the Legion's conquest of the world or something.
** One time, Cheetah and Bizarro turned people into Cheetah- and Bizarro-people, for no adequately explored reason.
* ''WesternAnimation/EdEddNEddy'':
** Parodies this trope by having Eddy start a smalltime corporation with the cul-de-sac kids that was only focused on "going up". Once people realize that the corporation was basically doing nothing, and that everybody was working without pay, everybody left except the Eds (which of course, is TruthInTelevision).
** In the episode where Ed makes a scam, the plan goes from [[ZanyScheme zany]] to ridiculous and disjointed.
-->Phase 1: Put the rock on the [[strike:'X']] 'Q'.
-->Phase 2: Dress Eddy and Double D outlandishly.
-->Phase 3: Have Double D give Eddy the pancakes.
-->Phase 4: Paint a cement mixer like an Aztec temple.
-->Phase 5: Steal teddy bear.
-->Phase 6: Bite into teddy bear's stomach.
-->Phase 7: ???
-->Phase 8: Curse of Evil Tim (Profit?)
** Many of Eddy's plans could probably be summed up as this, especially ones where he actually seems to go out of his own way to sabotage, such as randomly putting a bowling pin in a cream puff they were selling (to make it bigger maybe?)
* In one episode of ''[[GeorgeOfTheJungle Super Chicken]]'', a villain named "The Geezer" attempts to steal the geyser "Old Facefull" from Yellowstone National Park. The narrator questions his motivation:
-->'''Geezer:''' There's a million things you can do with a geyser!
-->'''Narrator:''' Such as?
-->'''Geezer:''' Uh ... I'll think of ''something!''
** Eventually, The Geezer does come up with a use for Old Faceful: He opens a car wash.
* One episode of ''WesternAnimation/TaleSpin'' had Rebecca [[CompressedVice coming up with a number of get-rich-quick schemes of this variety]]. The missing step two seems to be "get brutally slaughtered by hostile natives".
* The villain of ''[[WesternAnimation/PoundPuppies1980s Pound Puppies and The Legend of Big Paw]]'' takes this to an extreme:
-->'''Phase 1:''' Steal a MacGuffin that allows humans and dogs to understand each other
-->'''Phase 2:''' ?
-->'''Phase 3:''' WORLD DOMINATION
** As an added note, here's his backup plan:
--->'''Phase 1:''' Use a MirrorMoralityMachine to turn all dogs into [[AngryGuardDog vicious attack dogs]]
--->'''Phase 2:''' ?
--->'''Phase 3:''' WORLD DOMINATION [[note]]Arguably, this plan made more sense[[/note]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/DanVs.'', Dan's plan to overcome the terrible traffic in [[UsefulNotes/LosAngeles LA]]:
-->Procure monster truck.
-->Crush all cars in way.
-->Live HappilyEverAfter.
** Dan is very prone to doing this. Chris even mentioned one time that his current plan was more of a goal than a plan, so Dan changes it to something more like a checklist.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Freakazoid}}!'' [[LampshadeHanging Lampshades]] this in a fight against a giant snake:
--->'''Phase 1:''' Loud [[ConanTheBarbarian Conan]] warcry
--->'''Phase 2:''' Charge and grab giant snake by the neck
--->'''Phase 3:''' Make something up
** The Lobe once had a machine that could turn people into clowns, which he thought would help him take over the world because "Everyone likes clowns". Freakazoid ends up just talking him out of it by pointing out that ''no one'' likes clowns. After a dejected Lobe leaves, Freakazoid admits that it was an awesome plan.
* Brain's plans from ''WesternAnimation/PinkyAndTheBrain'' usually follow this route. He explains them as "implement some bizarre technological gizmo and rise to power in the ensuing confusion", never actually explaining how he was planning to seize power.
* ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb'': Doofenshmirz' plans to take over the Tri-State Area often involves publicly humiliating his brother, the mayor, hoping this will create a power vacuum that he can use to his advantage. An example:
--->Phase 1: '''Doof''': I know it sounds complicated, but [[BlatantLies I've thought this one through]]. [[MakesSenseInContext Babies cry, everyone's unhappy]]...
--->Phase 2: ???
--->Phase 3: '''Doof'''...and I somehow take over. [[WhatCouldPossiblyGoWrong It's foolproof!]]
* [[WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons Homer Simpson]] has probably run through quite a few, but usually they're more [[ZanyScheme Zany Schemes]] than this; however, he once ran an online business whose business plan was something like:
--->Phase 1: The Internet.
--->Phase 2: ???
--->Phase 3: Profit. (Still gets bought out by Microsoft, though.)
** The internet dot com bubble basically ran on this exact plan, pets.com being the poster child of an ill-defined business plan relying on the mystical powers of the internet to make money when conventional business savvy dictated to look elsewhere. In fact, one business magazine cover questioning the viability of this model at the time even used the Simpsons as an illustration, showing Bart wearing a T-shirt advertising his internet start-up [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast (bucks2bart.com)]] and Mr. Burns hefting a huge sack of money he was evidently [[AFoolAndHisNewMoneyAreSoonParted planning to invest in it]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Other media]]
* One of the MIT Mystery Hunt puzzles in 2008 featured this as a puzzle device.
* Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman [[LampshadeHanging explicitly mentioned]] this [[http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/19/steve-roach-goes-batty/ in his blog]], referring to [=MorganStanley=] Asia Chairman Steve Roach's critique of his ''[[AmericanNewspapers New York Times]]'' op-ed earlier that week.
--> I really don't understand Roach's argument here; he seems to have subscribed to the Underpants Gnomes theory of trade balances:
--->1. Increase savings
--->2. ???
--->3. Exports!

[[/folder]]
----

to:

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%% Comedic examples only, please.
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%%
[[quoteright:350:[[WesternAnimation/SouthPark http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/underpants-gnomes-business-model.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:WhatCouldPossiblyGoWrong]]
->''We have it all figured out! Step One: we land the Exodar. Step Three: we defeat the [[TheLegionsOfHell Legion]] and go home. There is only one detail missing....''
-->-- Male draenei joke from ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft''

A hilariously ill-conceived scheme that lacks the "[[ZanyScheme scheme]]", or at least a well thought out one. Often, it's not even clear how the plan is supposed to work -- but the planner thinks it's [[CrazyEnoughToWork such a good idea]], it ''has'' to work ''somehow''.

Doesn't actually require the final step to be "financial profit". Variations include "I get the girl", [[EvilScheme "world domination"]], and "win". The point is that it contains a specific first step, a final step that benefits the planner, but misses a way to connect the two ends.

The implementation of the scheme is sometimes, but not always, [[CutLexLuthorACheck ridiculously more expensive than any money they could hope to make]] on the off-chance the scheme is successful. Sometimes, it just flat out does not make sense -- but due to the UnspokenPlanGuarantee, if [[OnlySaneMan anyone points this out]] it will of course [[GoneHorriblyRight succeed without a hitch]]. Can be an EvilScheme, used by the villains.

See also CutLexLuthorACheck for when the intellect and hard work used to advance the plan would be far more profitable to the character if he just did an honest day's work, rather than work on his EvilScheme. When the character develops the middle steps as he goes along, it becomes an IndyPloy. Compare also the SlipperySlopeFallacy (which is sort of like "Step three: loss"). MurderTheHypotenuse is an extreme example of "then I get the girl"-style StepThreeProfit. When Steps One and Two are all nice and clear but Step Three (the actual goal) is lacking, see AndThenWhat

A subtrope of NonSequitur.

[[noreallife]]
----
!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:{{Anime}} and {{Manga}}]]
* InvokedTrope in ''LightNovel/HatarakuMaousama''. [[http://mangafox.me/manga/hataraku_maousama/v01/c001/41.html Climb the economic ladder in MgRonald's. Conquer the World!.]]
* The SOS Brigade's Valentine's Day chocolate-making meeting in {{Haruhi-chan}} had the following steps:
-->Phase 1: Make chocolate.
-->Phase 2: Powder chocolate.
-->Phase 3: Wrap chocolate.
-->Phase 4: Unwrap and eat chocolate.
-->Phase 5: ?
-->Phase 6: Profit.
* [[KurageHime Kuranosuke's]] plan to stop the tearing down of the Amamizu-kan café:
-->Phase 1: [[SheCleansUpNicely Clean up nicely]] the Sisterhood.
-->Phase 2: ?
-->Phase 3: Amamizu-kan saved
* The title character of ''ShinryakuIkaMusume'' has come up with a TakeOverTheWorld plot which goes like this:
-->Phase 1: Turn Lemon Beach House into a home base.
-->Phase 2: ?
-->Phase 3: Conquer Earth.
* Buried under [[GambitPileup half a dozen]] {{plan}}s in VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'s official manga ''Silent Sinner in Blue'' are two protagonists and one vampire who have unabashedly embraced the StepThreeProfit:
--> 1. Go to the Moon
--> 2. ?
--> 3. Profit
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* The villains in ''ComicBook/ChickTracts'' can sometimes fall into this, such as the gay rights group who wanted to make sure their children wouldn't be bullied by infecting the Red Cross' donor blood supply (which was kept in a huge vat) with AIDS.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* ''Film/TheAvengers'':
--->Step 1: MacrossMissileMassacre the alien dragon to get its attention.
--->Step 2: ???
--->Step 3: World saved.
** Lampshaded by Tony in that same scene. "Right. What was step 2 again?"
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* In the ''Series/{{Friends}}'' episode "The One In Vegas", Joey is convinced he's found his "identical hand twin", and that this will make his fortune. Somehow.
* At a [[TheOffice Dunder-Mifflin]] shareholder meeting, Michael attempts to pacify the crowd with a 45-day, 45-point plan for staving off bankruptcy, to be generated during a 15 minute break.
--> Day 45, company saved. Day 44, go. What do we got?
** The business plan of the short-lived Michael Scott Paper Company basically amounted to this too, considering they had no real capital or paper to sell. (At some point they got some, although it's not explained how).
* ''Series/SaturdayNightLive'' had a sketch where a bank just made change, nothing else. When asked how they managed to stay in business, the spokesman replied, "Volume".
* Taken to another level on ''MyFamily''
-->'''Nick''': I’m going to become a dot-com millionaire.
-->'''Ben''': Really? That’s great. So, shouldn’t you, like, get a good idea first?
-->'''Nick''': But it is a good idea. Dot-com millionaire.
* The "Money Momentum" scam sketch from ''TheKidsInTheHall'', with ThoseTwoGuys targeting senior citizens.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:New Media]]
* The format has become a bit of a [[MemeticMutation meme]] in certain parts of the internet. Can be combined with almost anything, and be any length as long as the last two steps are "????" and "Profit". Example using tropes:
-->Phase 1: Launch EvilPlan
-->Phase 2: Do EvilLaugh
-->Phase 3: ????
-->Phase 4: Profit
** Another good example of this form is in LoadingReadyRun's [[http://loadingreadyrun.com/videos/view/468/How-to-LRR How To LRR]], where the ?, step 10, was a fake buffer error.
* Ladies and Gentlemen: [[http://piccsy.com/2010/08/how-to-draw-an-owl/ How to Draw an Owl]].
* [[DNAKpts4tv Kpts4tv's Death Note Abridged]] changes [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKcyXL0iQx4&t=9m18s Light Yagami's]] grand scheme to:
-->1: Kill celebrities.
-->2: Distract the media with their deaths.
-->3: ???
-->4: Become god of the new world.
* A variant is presented in [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mdu9oNxGSEE this video]]:
-->First you start the Skype call
-->Then you grab a beer
-->Then you start recording, and...
-->Something Kirby race!
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Newspaper Comics]]
* [[http://www.sciencecartoonsplus.com/gallery/math/math07.gif “I think you should be more explicit here in step two”]]
* This was a running gag in ''{{Doonesbury}}'' comics during the DotCom Boom. A character started a DotCom company and began Step One by finding venture capitalists to invest in his company. He was so successful at this that he never got around to figuring out what Step Two was supposed to be. To his great amazement the company actually developed a Step Two on its own but he does not find out what they were actually selling until the very end when Microsoft forced them out of business.
* In ''FoxTrot'', Jason also had at least one arc where his plan amounted (as many other examples here) to Step 1: Create a DotCom company; Step 3: Profit when investors come running.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* {{Troll}}s on the ''{{Runescape}}'' forums use this quite a bit on "How do I make money" threads. Step 1. Cut willows. Step 2. ? Step 3: Profit (Willow logs are very cheap, around 13 GP each, and as a reference, 2 million GP is considered broke by many players.)
* ''RecordshopTycoon'' references this trope: Under the "The Office > Marketing Menu > Prices", you see a convenient illustration: Step One: Karma and Average Selling Price. Step 2: ? Step 3: Profit
* Utsuho, the FinalBoss of ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}} Chireiden ~ Subterranean Animism'', has one of these as her "grand plan", with Step One being "Reignite the Hell of Blazing Fires" and Step Three being "TakeOverTheWorld!". Entirely justified though, as even before she went [[WithGreatPowerComesGreatInsanity mad with power]] she was deeply stupid.
** This applies to pretty much every Touhou game.
--> Step 1: See a problem\\
Step 2: Blow up youkai\\
Step 3: ??\\
Step 4: Profit (or lack of...)
* Dr. Ned in VideoGame/{{Borderlands}} indicates he is going to do evil for the sake of profit. Evil seems to be raising the undead for recreational use. Later on he admits that step two never materialized and he's broke.
* VideoGame/TheSimsMedieval has a quest in which one of your heroes intends to learn the secret of creating life. The description ends with "...And somehow profit from it".
* The Apprentice from ''VideoGame/OrcsMustDie'' sometimes says this gem when placing a coinforge, an item that increase the monetary reward of any mob killed on it:
** "Step 1, Put down coinforge. Step 2: Something with orcs but I forget. Step 3: Profit!
* A long-running joke among those who know ''ResidentEvil'' is that the EvilPlan of the Umbrella Corporation is always:
-->Phase 1: Zombies!
-->Phase 2: ???
-->Phase 3: Profit.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/{{Shortpacked}}''
** Galasso, appears to have the following long-term plan: "1. Dominate the toy store market, 2. ?, 3. TakeOverTheWorld."
*** His DumbingOfAge counterpart seems to be attempting the same with a pizza parlor.
** Another ''Shortpacked'' example appears in [[http://www.shortpacked.com/2008/comic/book-8/03-message-to-upper-management/thelight/ this strip]], where Ethan is trying to run the store. "1. Lie. 2. ??? 3. Profit."
* Ganondorf's master plan from the ''ZeldaComic'' is shown at one point to be "Step I. Punch Link, Step III. Rule World." [[http://www.zeldacomic.net/episode-189-triforce-with-wisdom/ Brilliant!]] To hell with step 2, man; he's busy!
* ''Webcomic/EightBitTheater'':
** In [[http://www.nuklearpower.com/2003/02/08/episode-247-early-to-bed-early-to-destruction/ this]] Red Mage's escape plan consists entirely of "Jail, Action/Hijinx, Freedom!"
** Another plan is a variant on the theme. He reasons that the logic of his previous plans was their flaw (since a failure at any one step meant the whole thing fell apart), so he devises a plan utterly devoid of logic; that way, even if one step goes tits up, it didn't actually have any connection to the next step, so the plan as a whole could soldier merrily forward regardless.
* When Freddie the Flying Fetus asks BobTheAngryFlower to fill in the missing steps in his plan, he actually does so. [[http://www.angryflower.com/bigpla.gif Sort of]].
* In ''Webcomic/{{Freefall}}'', [[CorruptCorporateExecutive Kornada's]] "plan" seems to go like this:
-->1. Make the RidiculouslyHumanRobots download [[DeadlyUpgrade GITD]].\\
2. [[KillThemAll Lobotomise them]].\\
3. ?\\
4. [[http://freefall.purrsia.com/ff1700/fc01661.htm Profit]].
** Kornada has an excuse, by the way. He's a high-ranking management official for the company, and based on the way corporations seem to be run in the Freefall universe, [[KickedUpstairs it's unlikely he was ever competent at anything]].
** He ordered a robot to make the plan. There is a step three. He just doesn't understand it.
** [[http://freefall.purrsia.com/ff2200/fc02176.htm Step three apparently involves somehow getting himself power of attorney over all the lobotomized robots (As they are no longer capable of handling their own affairs), which includes control of any bank accounts the robots have access to.]] The exact details of how haven't been mentioned.
* In [[http://the-qlc.com/loserz/go/423 this strip]] of ''Webcomic/{{Loserz}}'', in-comic:
--> 1. FORCE people to get fat.\\
2. ???\\
3. Profit!
* ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'':
** Torg runs into this problem [[http://www.sluggy.com/comics/archives/daily/19980518 once]].
--> '''Torg''': There's another one of me running around?
--> '''Riff''': You sound excited.
--> '''Torg''': Two of me! Think of the possibilities!
--> ([[BeatPanel ...]])
--> '''Riff''': Nope. Can't think of anything.
--> '''Torg''': We could do a really cool Doublemint commercial!
** Also [[http://www.sluggy.com/comics/archives/daily/20050418 Riff]]:
--> '''Torg''': How would that "save" us?
--> '''Riff''': It's big and clunky, better for head smacking!
--> '''Torg''': What about the other two guys with guns?
--> '''Riff''': I dunno. [[IndyPloy Hit them with a chair or something?]] Do I have to think of everything?
* ''{{Erfworld}}'' has a variant. Wanda admits she doesn't know what the missing step is but also firmly believes YouCantFightFate so she is going through with the plan anyway.
* In ''RustyAndCo'', Madeline actually has a full plan. All the odder in that she's TheDitz.
-->''1. Find Baddies.\\
2. Smite Baddies.\\
3. Profit!''
* Ask Webcomic/AxeCop [[http://axecop.com/comic/ask-axe-cop-75/ #75]] has a race of gill-men who want to remove all the land from Earth, but even they aren't sure how.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* The Underpants Gnomes from ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'', as seen in the image (and thus are the TropeNamer). They go around at night collecting vast quantities of underwear, which they will use to profit. Somehow. As shown, the chart has become a MemeticMutation. Note the element of BeamMeUpScotty. Every gnome figured that some of the other gnomes knew what step two was, and that it was being kept secret for a very, ''very'' good reason, which is why they didn't question it.
* Some of the plots of the Legion of Doom in ''SuperFriends'' ran this way. They were foiled every time, of course, but their schemes would include an often equally expensive escape plan.
** They would go to some ridiculous expense to get some item that would brainwash the Super Friends into walking into a volcano, thus clearing the way for the Legion's conquest of the world or something.
** One time, Cheetah and Bizarro turned people into Cheetah- and Bizarro-people, for no adequately explored reason.
* ''WesternAnimation/EdEddNEddy'':
** Parodies this trope by having Eddy start a smalltime corporation with the cul-de-sac kids that was only focused on "going up". Once people realize that the corporation was basically doing nothing, and that everybody was working without pay, everybody left except the Eds (which of course, is TruthInTelevision).
** In the episode where Ed makes a scam, the plan goes from [[ZanyScheme zany]] to ridiculous and disjointed.
-->Phase 1: Put the rock on the [[strike:'X']] 'Q'.
-->Phase 2: Dress Eddy and Double D outlandishly.
-->Phase 3: Have Double D give Eddy the pancakes.
-->Phase 4: Paint a cement mixer like an Aztec temple.
-->Phase 5: Steal teddy bear.
-->Phase 6: Bite into teddy bear's stomach.
-->Phase 7: ???
-->Phase 8: Curse of Evil Tim (Profit?)
** Many of Eddy's plans could probably be summed up as this, especially ones where he actually seems to go out of his own way to sabotage, such as randomly putting a bowling pin in a cream puff they were selling (to make it bigger maybe?)
* In one episode of ''[[GeorgeOfTheJungle Super Chicken]]'', a villain named "The Geezer" attempts to steal the geyser "Old Facefull" from Yellowstone National Park. The narrator questions his motivation:
-->'''Geezer:''' There's a million things you can do with a geyser!
-->'''Narrator:''' Such as?
-->'''Geezer:''' Uh ... I'll think of ''something!''
** Eventually, The Geezer does come up with a use for Old Faceful: He opens a car wash.
* One episode of ''WesternAnimation/TaleSpin'' had Rebecca [[CompressedVice coming up with a number of get-rich-quick schemes of this variety]]. The missing step two seems to be "get brutally slaughtered by hostile natives".
* The villain of ''[[WesternAnimation/PoundPuppies1980s Pound Puppies and The Legend of Big Paw]]'' takes this to an extreme:
-->'''Phase 1:''' Steal a MacGuffin that allows humans and dogs to understand each other
-->'''Phase 2:''' ?
-->'''Phase 3:''' WORLD DOMINATION
** As an added note, here's his backup plan:
--->'''Phase 1:''' Use a MirrorMoralityMachine to turn all dogs into [[AngryGuardDog vicious attack dogs]]
--->'''Phase 2:''' ?
--->'''Phase 3:''' WORLD DOMINATION [[note]]Arguably, this plan made more sense[[/note]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/DanVs.'', Dan's plan to overcome the terrible traffic in [[UsefulNotes/LosAngeles LA]]:
-->Procure monster truck.
-->Crush all cars in way.
-->Live HappilyEverAfter.
** Dan is very prone to doing this. Chris even mentioned one time that his current plan was more of a goal than a plan, so Dan changes it to something more like a checklist.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Freakazoid}}!'' [[LampshadeHanging Lampshades]] this in a fight against a giant snake:
--->'''Phase 1:''' Loud [[ConanTheBarbarian Conan]] warcry
--->'''Phase 2:''' Charge and grab giant snake by the neck
--->'''Phase 3:''' Make something up
** The Lobe once had a machine that could turn people into clowns, which he thought would help him take over the world because "Everyone likes clowns". Freakazoid ends up just talking him out of it by pointing out that ''no one'' likes clowns. After a dejected Lobe leaves, Freakazoid admits that it was an awesome plan.
* Brain's plans from ''WesternAnimation/PinkyAndTheBrain'' usually follow this route. He explains them as "implement some bizarre technological gizmo and rise to power in the ensuing confusion", never actually explaining how he was planning to seize power.
* ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb'': Doofenshmirz' plans to take over the Tri-State Area often involves publicly humiliating his brother, the mayor, hoping this will create a power vacuum that he can use to his advantage. An example:
--->Phase 1: '''Doof''': I know it sounds complicated, but [[BlatantLies I've thought this one through]]. [[MakesSenseInContext Babies cry, everyone's unhappy]]...
--->Phase 2: ???
--->Phase 3: '''Doof'''...and I somehow take over. [[WhatCouldPossiblyGoWrong It's foolproof!]]
* [[WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons Homer Simpson]] has probably run through quite a few, but usually they're more [[ZanyScheme Zany Schemes]] than this; however, he once ran an online business whose business plan was something like:
--->Phase 1: The Internet.
--->Phase 2: ???
--->Phase 3: Profit. (Still gets bought out by Microsoft, though.)
** The internet dot com bubble basically ran on this exact plan, pets.com being the poster child of an ill-defined business plan relying on the mystical powers of the internet to make money when conventional business savvy dictated to look elsewhere. In fact, one business magazine cover questioning the viability of this model at the time even used the Simpsons as an illustration, showing Bart wearing a T-shirt advertising his internet start-up [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast (bucks2bart.com)]] and Mr. Burns hefting a huge sack of money he was evidently [[AFoolAndHisNewMoneyAreSoonParted planning to invest in it]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Other media]]
* One of the MIT Mystery Hunt puzzles in 2008 featured this as a puzzle device.
* Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman [[LampshadeHanging explicitly mentioned]] this [[http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/19/steve-roach-goes-batty/ in his blog]], referring to [=MorganStanley=] Asia Chairman Steve Roach's critique of his ''[[AmericanNewspapers New York Times]]'' op-ed earlier that week.
--> I really don't understand Roach's argument here; he seems to have subscribed to the Underpants Gnomes theory of trade balances:
--->1. Increase savings
--->2. ???
--->3. Exports!

[[/folder]]
----
[[redirect:MissingStepsPlan]]
3rd Aug '13 12:33:13 PM LinTaylor
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Added DiffLines:

* Ask Webcomic/AxeCop [[http://axecop.com/comic/ask-axe-cop-75/ #75]] has a race of gill-men who want to remove all the land from Earth, but even they aren't sure how.
27th Jul '13 2:26:29 AM Alman
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Added DiffLines:

* A long-running joke among those who know ''ResidentEvil'' is that the EvilPlan of the Umbrella Corporation is always:
-->Phase 1: Zombies!
-->Phase 2: ???
-->Phase 3: Profit.
24th Jul '13 5:54:11 AM Vir
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->''We have it all figured out! Step One: we land the Exodar. Step Three: we defeat the [[LegionsOfHell Legion]] and go home. There is only one detail missing....''

to:

->''We have it all figured out! Step One: we land the Exodar. Step Three: we defeat the [[LegionsOfHell [[TheLegionsOfHell Legion]] and go home. There is only one detail missing....''
11th Jul '13 10:44:05 AM j21
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** The business plan of the short-lived Michael Scott Paper Company basically amounted to this too, considering they had no real capital or paper to sell. (At some point they got some, although it's not explained how).
9th Jul '13 5:36:10 AM Kinswaous
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* ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb'':

to:

* ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb'':''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb'': Doofenshmirz' plans to take over the Tri-State Area often involves publicly humiliating his brother, the mayor, hoping this will create a power vacuum that he can use to his advantage. An example:
3rd Jul '13 4:30:45 AM SeptimusHeap
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%%
%%
%% Comedic examples only, please.
%%
%%
%%
%%



An ill-conceived scheme that lacks the "[[ZanyScheme scheme]]", or at least a well thought out one. Often, it's not even clear how the plan is supposed to work -- but the planner thinks it's [[CrazyEnoughToWork such a good idea]], it ''has'' to work ''somehow''.

to:

An A hilariously ill-conceived scheme that lacks the "[[ZanyScheme scheme]]", or at least a well thought out one. Often, it's not even clear how the plan is supposed to work -- but the planner thinks it's [[CrazyEnoughToWork such a good idea]], it ''has'' to work ''somehow''.



* ''OnePiece'' offers us Luffy's brilliant plan to become Pirate King, behold:
-->Phase 1: Get on a boat (survive drowning because of a miracle)
-->Phase 2: Gather a crew through a series of coincidences.
-->Phase 3: Go to the Grand Line.
-->Phase 4: Travel the length of the Grand Line to reach Raftel.
-->Phase 5: Find One Piece.
** What the hell is One Piece, anyway?
-->Phase 6: Profit



* The King's plan in ''DragonHalf'' appeared to be something like this:
-->Phase 1: Murder Mink
-->Phase 2: ?
-->Phase 3: Marry Mink's mother



* ComicBook/BruteForce:
-->Phase 1: Build army of cyborg animals with machineguns.
-->Phase 2: ?
-->Phase 3: Environment is saved



* Harry Osborn's apparent plan in ''[[Film/{{Spider-Man}} Spider-Man 3]]'':
-->Phase 1: Force MJ to dump Peter.
-->Phase 2: ?
-->Phase 3: Spider-Man is destroyed!
** Harry was only following in dear old Dad's footsteps, considering that (after offing some business rivals -- that at least made ''some'' sort of sense) his plan in the first movie boiled down to:
-->'''Plan A:'''
--->Phase 1: Fight and tie up Spider-Man.
--->Phase 2: ?
--->Phase 3: Spider-Man is at my side! Profit
-->'''Plan B:'''
--->Phase 1: In the event Plan A fails because Spider-Man won't cooperate despite the fighting and the tying, kill him instead.
--->Phase 2: ?
--->Phase 3: Profit
** It makes more sense than that in both cases. In Plan A, step 2 is to point out to Spiderman that the public will turn against him. And in Plan B, if he kills Spiderman, he has no real obstacles to continuing what he was doing (destroying people who were inconvenient to his business aspirations.)



[[folder:Literature]]
* Subverted in ''{{Mistborn}}'', where for the first bit of the first book the plan seems to be:
--> Step 1: Overthrow ancient empire
--> Step 2: ??
--> Step 3: Profit
** Then Kelsier turns around and explains that Step Two is to rob the EvilOverlord's treasury and steal his {{Unobtanium}} reserves. [[spoiler:And it turns out it was never about profit anyway]].
* Not about profit, but in ''Literature/PrisonersOfPower'' by The Creator/StrugatskyBrothers (aka ''Inhabited Island''), Kammerer's plan to deal with the situation arguably goes like this:
--> Step 1: Destroy Control Towers
--> Step 2: ??
--> Step 3: MarySuetopia
** Surprisingly, we are later told it worked.
[[/folder]]



* The plots of the Umbrella Corporation in ''Franchise/ResidentEvil, as stated by WebAnimation/ZeroPunctuation:
--->1. Kill own staff
--->2. Make zombies
--->3. Get city nuked
--->4. Legal proceedings
--->5. Bankruptcy
--->6. Something else
--->7. Profit



* In ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'', one of the Draenei jokes is an ultimate plan for the victory over evil:
-->Phase 1: We land the Exodar
-->Phase 3: We defeat Legion, and go home.
-->There's just... one thing missing...
** Also, a gnomish oil rig in Borean Tundra has a note on the wall with a StepThreeProfit plan. Step 1 is "build oil rig", if you're wondering.
** One of the goblin jokes is "Skip to step three: Profit!"
** In the Sunken Temple, Itharius sends you to kill three different troll leaders; the third leader is the Prophet Jammal'an. The quest to kill him, naturally, is called "[[IncrediblyLamePun Step Three: Prophet.]]"
* ''VideoGame/DayOfTheTentacle''. It's not meant to lead to profit, but Step Two could still use some work:
-->'''Dr. Fred:''' Step one: Find plans! Step two: Save world! Step three: ''Get out of my house!''
** Step Two is actually fairly clearly defined at other points in the game. Unfortunately, it's quite ASimplePlan...



* The instructions for the Kongregate game Effing Worms reads as follows:
-->Step One: Eat
-->Step Two: Grow
-->Step Three: ????
-->Step Four: Profit
* Lampshaded in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'' when the Champion calls Isabela out on not having a plan to find Castillon. She responds that the plan was 'step 1, find his henchman, step 2, something exciting happens, step 3 profit.'
* [[VideoGame/{{Portal}} Aperture Science]] seems to pretty much run on this at first glance. It only gets [[FridgeHorror scarier]] when you realize that they actually have a very solidly formulated business model; it's the EXECUTION that goes completely off the rails, and in a very meta way half the steps THEMSELVES become a StepThreeProfit plan. Ergo:
-->Step One: Design potentially world-changing technology.
-->Step Two: Use it to test another, slightly-less-world-changing technology.
-->Step Three: Apply the second technology in completely implausible ways. Example: Propulsion Gel, a material that accelerates objects moving across it. The ideal use for it? As a food additive that will make objects travel through the body too fast to digest, so you can lose weight while still eating!
-->Step Four: Continue spending time and money "testing" things in more and more unnecessarily elaborate ways looking for more and more obtuse ways to make them "useful".
-->Step Five: Sell the other, "lesser" products (that still serve a primary function as part of the testing process.) to finance continued testing of the original product.
-->Step Six: Profit.
** Bonus points for step seven: using hyper-advanced, brain-mapped (and dangerously [[AIIsACrapshoot unstable]]) AI and robots to ''eliminate the need to hire humans you can't afford to keep replacing because the tests kill them''. And just to make the point further, the AI itself was an outgrowth of a plan to build a de-icing system for fuel lines. Yes, they created a sentient computer and can't think of anything better to do with it than put it in charge of testing in the hopes it can make their other failed products ''better'' though ''more'' testing.
*** Step eight, by the way: Shower curtains. Yeah. Aperture started out producing shower curtains and never officially changed its business model. Cave Johnson was convinced that eventually every last thing they made, from mobility gels to quantum tunneling to mantis men to sentient computers, came back to making better shower curtains.
** Hilariously subverted by one of the alternate Cave Johnsons from "Perpetual Testing Initiative", who somehow managed to buy out the Black Mesa of his universe and correctly deduced that Mesa's experiments would lead to the end of the world. It's likely that this Cave Johnson did manage to figure out step 2 along the way, which allowed him to actually profit off of his inventions and gain the money to buy out Black Mesa in the first place.



* The Apprentice from VideoGame/OrcsMustDie sometimes says this gem when placing a coinforge, an item that increase the monetary reward of any mob killed on it:

to:

* The Apprentice from VideoGame/OrcsMustDie ''VideoGame/OrcsMustDie'' sometimes says this gem when placing a coinforge, an item that increase the monetary reward of any mob killed on it:



* ''[[WebComic/EightBitTheater 8-bit Theater]]'':

to:

* ''[[WebComic/EightBitTheater 8-bit Theater]]'':''Webcomic/EightBitTheater'':



* The CorruptCorporateExecutive villains on ''CaptainPlanet'', when they're not just doing it ForTheEvulz. Maybe they're trying to sell pollution...?
-->Phase 1: Pollute the Planet,
-->Phase 2: Kill off endangered species
-->Phase 3: Destroy natural habitats.
-->Phase 4: ???
-->Phase 5: Profit
** WordOfGod is that this was intentional. The whole point was a GreenAesop, but they just couldn't bring themselves to use realistic people with realistic motivations as villains. Too many kids with parents in those fields watching, you see.
** And the VerySpecialEpisode about HIV/AIDS takes it UpToEleven:
-->Phase 1: Spread misinformation about AIDS.
-->Phase 2: ???
-->Phase 3: World domination



* ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'': "All I have to do is... figure out what I have to do. But after that, no problem!"
** This was pretty much [[TheSmartGuy Sokka's]] plan for submarines. His plan involved what looked like getting in a whale. No explanation was given to ''how'' the plan would work. Good thing [[GadgeteerGenius the Mechanist]] was there to properly design the subs.
1st Jul '13 12:50:30 PM elanW
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Added DiffLines:

*** His DumbingOfAge counterpart seems to be attempting the same with a pizza parlor.
10th Jun '13 4:32:27 PM henry42
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* ''Film/Plan9FromOuterSpace'':
-->Phase 1: Raise a few members of Earth's dead[[hottip:* :All of three people in small town California, to be precise]] as zombies from [[SpecialEffectFailure your flying saucers powered by strings]].
-->Phase 2: ?
-->Phase 3: Earth is no longer attempting to split the photon, and the universe doesn't explode.
5th Jun '13 2:13:43 PM Ulkomaalainen
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* ''KeroroGunsou'' has this with Keroro's occasional hair-brained schemes to raise money for invasion funds, like his plan to sell ''ikinari-dango'' instead of chocolates on Valentine's Day.
** Theres tons of them when its all about their Invasion Plans. But one of Giroro's plan takes the cake :
-->Phase 1 : Make Weapon
-->Phase 2 : Invade
-->Phase 3 : ????
-->Phase 4 : Invade sucessful



** The best part about this is that it's ''intentional''. Luffy wouldn't be doing it if he actually had any concrete idea of how to accomplish it.
--->'''Luffy''': ''We are NOT asking him where the treasure is hidden!!! We're not even asking him whether there IS any treasure or not!! I'm not sure, but... ...everybody set out to sea, risking their lives to search for it!!! If you ask this old man anything about it here and now... Then I'll quit being a pirate! I don't want to go on a boring adventure like that!''
* Anime/{{Pokemon}} has Team Rocket's plans pre-''Best Wishes'' revolve around giving the bossa Pokemon for [[MundaneUtility something simple.]] One gag actually had them plan to give the boss a Pokemon. Like their kidnapping of Togepi. When they present it to their boss, the first thing he asks is what it does. The two have no idea, eventually settling for the rather unimpressive "It would make an excellent paperweight!"



* Appears as a visual aid in ''LightNovel/JinruiWaSuitaiShimashita'' due to picking the wrong people for the job:
--> 1. Living chickens
--> 2. ?
--> 3. Delicious meat



** Keep in mind, this is the plan of the protagonist, not the villains.



* A ScroogeMcDuck story has an example of two such plans that are successfully executed and ''still'' remain in this status, because it's never explained what the heck is going on. The story involves Scrooge going to the centre of the Earth to fetch the Key of Time, whatever that is, in which process Donald also gains a positive briefcase, whatever that does. Scrooge's plan is:
--> Step 1: Obtain Key of Time
--> Step 2: Operate on all time zones at once = ???
--> Step 3: Profit!
** It turns out he can't actually keep doing that because of the [[MakesJustAsMuchSenseInContext invisible negative briefcases]] he was given, but Donald can use the positive briefcase to win the lottery... somehow.
--> Step 1: Have positive briefcase
--> Step 2: ???
--> Step 3: Repeatedly win the lottery



* In ''Film/{{Spaceballs}}'':
-->'''Lone Star''': Step one, we reverse that thing and blow the air back onto the planet. Step two, we destroy that thing.
-->'''Princess Vespa''': Isn't that dangerous?
-->'''Lone Star''': Extremely. And more importantly, I don't even know how I'm gonna do it.



* As [[http://www.cracked.com/article_18643_6-evil-corporations-in-movies-with-terrible-business-plans.html this]] Website/{{Cracked}} article shows, the Weyland-Yutani Corporation continuously has some plans involving the ''Franchise/{{Alien}}'' - a killer machine which can never be controlled, and usually escapes traps. What are they intending to do?!
** Subverted in [[Film/AlienResurrection the fourth film]], where one character mentions numerous applications, such as the BizarreAlienBiology being used to create vaccines, etc. [[WhatCouldPossiblyGoWrong Also, military applications.]]
*** Both Weyland-Yutani and the military-industrial complex intended to use the xenomporphs for military purposes. The problem with each film is that both are implied to basically rule the Earth and have pretty much everyone in the series working for them in one way or another, and there is never any hint as to who their rivals are, if any, in what is more or less a future where these xenomorphs seem to be the only type of "alien" life that is out there. In other words, who the hell are these "weapons" supposed to be used on anyway? Especially given just how impossible it is to control the damn things.



* Most of [[HonestJohnsDealership Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler's]] schemes in ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' novels are like this. It gets fully explained in ''Discworld/MovingPictures'':
--> Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler was one of those rare people with the ability to think in straight lines.\\
Most people think in curves and zig-zags. For example, they start from a thought like: I wonder how I can become very rich, and then proceed along an uncertain course which includes thoughts like: I wonder what's for supper, and: I wonder who I know who can lend me five dollars?\\
Whereas Throat was one of those people who could identify the thought at the other end of the process, in this case ''I am now very rich'', draw a line between the two, and then think his way along it, slowly and patiently, until he got to the other end.\\
Not that it worked. There was always, he found, some small but vital flaw in the process. It generally involved a strange reluctance on the part of people to buy what he had to sell.
** There was another one in ''Discworld/NightWatch'', that almost gets to "profit", but trails off with "7. You're looking at me funny, Sarge. 8. Are we gonna get in trouble for this, Sarge? 9. Sorry, Sarge..."



* In the ''Series/StargateAtlantis'' episode "Midway" the Wraith plan seem to be:
--->Phase 1: Invade earth, the stronghold of the people who have weapons that can [[CurbStompBattle destroy our warships in one shot]], using a method that makes it impossible for us to bring any warships with us.
--->Phase 2: ?
--->Phase 3: Eat the defenseless humans!
* On ''Series/TheLarrySandersShow'', nobody else shares Hank's unique vision for "Hank's Look-Around Café," a revolving restaurant. At street level. With no view.
--> '''Hank''': Where you, and your food, go on an adventure!



** The best he can come up with is a website with a clock on it. He hadn't noticed there was one in the corner of the computer screen.



* ''Franchise/StarTrek'' is deliberately vague as to how Roddenberry's utopian Earth of the future is achieved. We see Step One in ''Film/StarTrekFirstContact'' and Step Three in ''Series/StarTrekEnterprise'', but not how humanity stopped itself from reverting back to its bad old ways once the initial euphoria of FirstContact had worn off.
* In ''Series/DoctorWho,'' the ''hero's ''plans seem like this to most people around. "We're going to go to the lair of the OmnicidalManiac and his whole army, stop the impending doom without getting reduced to chop suey, and be back in time for supper (chop suey sounds delish.) What's that you say? How the hell do I plan on doing that? No idea, I'll think of something." His confidence gets people to go along with him, and in the end, he always does. Though sometimes it doesn't turn out as well as he intends.



* In a ''FoxTrot'' story arc, Roger Fox falls for a get-rich-quick scheme in an infomercial. He pays $200 for a pamphlet supposedly containing information on getting rich, but it amounts to telling him to invent a product, sell it for $200 and sucker 5,000 people into buying it.
** Jason also had at least one arc where his plan amounted to Step 1: Create a DotCom company; Step 3: Profit when investors come running.

to:

* In a ''FoxTrot'' story arc, Roger Fox falls for a get-rich-quick scheme in an infomercial. He pays $200 for a pamphlet supposedly containing information on getting rich, but it amounts to telling him to invent a product, sell it for $200 and sucker 5,000 people into buying it.
**
''FoxTrot'', Jason also had at least one arc where his plan amounted (as many other examples here) to Step 1: Create a DotCom company; Step 3: Profit when investors come running.



* ''VideoGame/StarFox Assault''. When Team Star Fox finds an Aparoid Core Memory that could show them the location of the Aparoid homeworld, Pigma Dengar nabs it. [[YouWillBeAssimilated That doesn't turn out well for him.]]
--> Step 1: Steal this weird thing that Star Fox wants\\
Step 2: [[FamousLastWords I won't turn a profit by obeying them!]]\\
Step 3: ??\\
Step 4: Profit
* ''RecordshopTycoon'' plays this trope straight: Under the "The Office > Marketing Menu > Prices", you see a convenient illustration: Step One: Karma and Average Selling Price. Step 2: ? Step 3: Profit

to:

* ''VideoGame/StarFox Assault''. When Team Star Fox finds an Aparoid Core Memory that could show them the location of the Aparoid homeworld, Pigma Dengar nabs it. [[YouWillBeAssimilated That doesn't turn out well for him.]]
--> Step 1: Steal this weird thing that Star Fox wants\\
Step 2: [[FamousLastWords I won't turn a profit by obeying them!]]\\
Step 3: ??\\
Step 4: Profit
* ''RecordshopTycoon'' plays references this trope straight: trope: Under the "The Office > Marketing Menu > Prices", you see a convenient illustration: Step One: Karma and Average Selling Price. Step 2: ? Step 3: Profit



---> '''ZUN:''' Even a fool that possesses great power can't do much harm.



* In the ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}'' DLC ''The Pitt'', [[spoiler:Wernher's plan was essentially "Step 1. Kidnap Ashur's baby, Step 3. FREEDOM!" At least Ashur and his wife have the scientific knowledge to make some form of progress to the cure while keeping Marie safe. Wernher however has no such resources at his disposal. Of course, he's using the slave rebellion as a power-grab than anything.]]
** On the other hand, [[spoiler:Ashur's plans aren't the most well thought-out either. Before Marie's birth, it was essentially: "Step 1. Get steel mill situated in a highly toxic and unlivable area up and running, Step 3. Make a nation." After Marie's birth and her chance immunity to radiation, an addendum was added as: "Step 1. Find cure for trog disease, Step 3. End slavery in the Pitt."]]



** Even the turrets, which at first glance seem to have a straightforward use that they are apparently sold for, fall victim to this. Expanded materials include a schematic for one that indicates it's run by an AI that has a chip for producing empathy, right next to a chip for ''suppressing'' empathy, and a third chip to resolve the stalemate the first two chips create....
* VideoGame/MegaMan's Dr. Wily's plan for world Domination can be expressed as:
-->Step 1:Create as many as 8 battle robots
-->Step 2: [[TooDumbTolive Make sure all the robots have weaknesses to each other's weapons]]
-->Step 3:Unleash the robots across an undisclosed city to cause havoc
-->Step 4:????
-->Step 5:WORLD DOMINATION!!!
** Step 2 makes at least a little sense if we assume it was Willy trying to plan for potential rebellion. If any of his eight robots betrayed him, he'd need to have another robot on hand designed to counter them. And assuming the ability to salvage and reproduce the powers of a defeated robot master isn't unique to Mega Man, it makes more sense. So long as Willy retained the loyalty of one of the set of robots, he could counter a rebellion from the others by basically doing exactly what Mega Man does in every game.
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http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=Main.StepThreeProfit