Someone with authority or power (or think they have) uses it to command or force people to do mundane or simple tasks for him/her.
Usually the person ordered may eagerly oblige, having expected a more serious and/or dangerous task or being threatened if refused, though possibly with initial disbelief.
Alternatively, it could be a mundane reward or offer from performing a service, especially if the people needing it are poor or even extravagantly rich.
The reasons for the mundane needs are:
If there is a series of demands, you can expect the last one
to be this.
When the boss sends people to do important things, then sends one to do something mundane, that's You, Get Me Coffee
Compare Mundane Wish
, Mundane Utility
, and Comically Small Bribe
Anime and Manga
- In 3×3 Eyes, Haan's requested payment from Yakumo for teaching him beast magics is ... to introduce him to a Japanese girl.
- Early on in Samurai Champloo, Mugen is approached by a Yakuza leader after outclassing every thug in town. The Yakuza boss gives him a job offer, promising Mugen anything he wants if it means he will sign up. Mugen's request? Cooked crabs.
- In the German movie "Der Raeuber Hotzenplotz" (1962), Petrusilius Zwackelmann is a sorcerer who can theoretically do anything with his powers, but the one thing he can't do is peel potatoes, so he forces a captured boy he bought from Raeuber Hotzenplotz to do it for him.
- The voted-out politician in Robocop held city council hostage, demanding three things: "I want a recount. And then I want my old job back." Which would make the recount superfluous. And, of course, he also wanted the new 3000 SUX.
- Ephialtes in 300 makes a few demands of Xerxes when betraying the Spartans, the last of which is a uniform. However, for him it's symbolically the most important: being born deformed, he can't be part of an uniformed army (the Spartans' tactics requiring each man to be of similar heights and builds so their shields overlap. Ephialtes can't lift his above waist level).
- Xerxes' herald asks the Spartans for a token gift of 'water' and 'earth' to avoid annihilation. Of course despite its trivial size, it is an enormous symbolic gesture.
- Sneakers: at the end of the movie the protagonists are making demands of a group of NSA agents before giving back the "black box". The demands so far have included a Winnebago RV and a multi-nation vacation trip.
Carl: The young lady with the Uzi, is she single?
Martin: Carl. This is the brass ring. You gotta think bigger thoughts.
Carl: I just want her telephone number.
- Several Hume Lake films, such as We Like Sheep and Xenoviv, had a bonus Gainax Ending where one of the characters turned evil and killed everyone with an army of robots. After killing them all and piling their bodies into a huge stack, he'd climb to the top and yell "I'm the king of the world! Somebody bring me a pecan pie!"
- Infamously in Austin Powers, time-traveling villain Dr. Evil plans to hold the world ransom in exchange for "one million dollars!" However, he is then advised to up the amount to 100 billion dollars, because he was unaware that inflation had increased since the 60s.
- Inverted in the second film, where he returns to the 60s and demands 100 billion dollars, only to be informed that amount of money doesn't exist yet.
- Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants: after shrinking Jerome Horwitz Elementary School and the people inside to hold them hostage from his Humongous Mecha, Professor Poopypants makes his first demand for a pencil from the reporter reporting on the incident.
- In Reamde, the middleman Wallace 'tasks' Peter with getting him a drink as a test: will Peter accept a junior role from him. Dodge happens to be watching and explains what Wallace is doing and why to Zula.
- In the children's book Big Max by Kin Platt, the King of Pooka Pooka offers Big Max a room full of diamonds, a room full of emeralds, or a room full of gold for finding Jumbo, his prize elephant. But when Big Max does find Jumbo (he was at his birthday party), all he asks for is a slice of the cake. (No wonder the illustration of Big Max's apartment doesn't have any furniture...)
- In an episode of NYPD Blue a suspect promises to confess his crime (a rather grisly murder) for two 2-liter bottles of Coke. It has to be Coke though: not Pepsi, not RC, not Diet Coke.
- Fire Emblem Awakening: Gaius' only demand upon being recruited is that he be provided with candy. It probably helped that he didn't really appreciate the goals of the group he was with at the time.
- In Red Meat, Papa Moai is an omnipotent transdimensional being who resembles an Easter Island statue. He usually speaks portentously of transcending time and space, but has more minor and immediate concerns like finding decent tobacco, or filling in a crossword with the help of the other characters.
- In an episode of the Sam & Max cartoon the duo bust a terrorist group holding a TV studio hostage. The Terrorist's demands? To make the programming nothing but figure skating.