Going to the Store


A subtrope of Room Shuffle.

A stock excuse for going out, when a character either doesn't want to give the true reason or is leaving not to return, is "I'm going to the store". In Manga, Anime and other Japanese media, the store in question is likely to be referred to as the konbini; i.e., the local convenience store open at practically all hours.

One reason this trope is a lot more prevalent in Japanese media is that they don't have a lot of space in their homes for storage, and convenience stores sell more kinds of things, so it happens more in Japan.

In the U.S., though, going to get cigarettes or milk or "the paper" is often a convenient excuse to get a character away from the others for a while, and as there are convenience stores that are open 24 hours a day, too, it's not a major expedition, so one character may go alone.

See also I Need to Go Iron My Dog and Parent Never Came Back From The Store.


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    Anime and Manga 

  • In the comic strip Stone Soup, Joan's ex-husband Leon went to the store for some milk and didn't come back. Rumor has it that the store was in the Bahamas.

  • Betelnut Beauty: Fei-fei, about to run away from home, claims she's going to the convenience store to get past her mother.
  • In Corrina, Corrina the titular character's husband left to the store to get cigarettes and never came back. The little girl, upon being told this, is afraid this might happen to her dad, who smokes.
  • In Cinderella II: Dreams Come True, Anastasia tries to improvise a reason for visiting Dimitri the baker by grabbing some bread from the pantry, tossing it out the window, and telling Lady Tremaine that she has to go buy some more.

    Live Action TV 
  • Jackie uses this excuse in one episode of That '70s Show (she actually goes to make out with Hyde).
    Jackie: Um, you know, I just remembered that I have to go to the mall because they're having this big Monday Madness sale.
    Donna: Jackie, it's Tuesday.
    Jackie: See? Total madness!
  • It was a cliché in mysteries for a long time: "What really happened to your husband, Mrs Quigley?" "He went out to get cigarettes six years ago, but he never came back!"
  • iCarly uses this quite often. One of the more blatant examples is shoving Sam out to buy meat, so that Carly and Freddie can discuss the face he's not had a real First Kiss. Only for Sam to realise she has no money, and come back and overhear the conversation.
  • While slipping out for some slaying in "Living Conditions", Buffy tells her college roommate that she's going for coffee. In the middle of the night.
  • In Are You Being Served? Again! (aka Grace and Favour) we are told that Mrs Slocombe's husband went out 45 years ago to get some slightly salted butter and never came back.

  • In their live cover of The Doors' Roadhouse Blues, the Blue Öyster Cult front man Eric Bloom uses his trip to the store to set up the key line in the song, first by namechecking Los Angeles (huge roar from crowd), then rapping on checking into the hotel, finding out room service was closed, and being forced to go out to find an open seven-eleven. He gets back to the room and falls asleep before he can consume his purchases. What did he do?
    I woke up this morning and I got myself a beer!
  • Carly Rae Jepsen does a variation of this on "Store" (from her E•MO•TION: Side B EP). Unlike most uses of this trope, it's from the point of view of the person who's leaving.
    Oh, I can't talk about it, can't talk about it cause
    I'm just goin' to the store, to the store
    I'm just goin' to the store
    You might not see me anymore, anymore
    I'm just goin' to the store

    Stand Up Comedy 
  • Ray Romano discussed how he would volunteer for chores if he needed to leave the house. These included stopping by the DMV or applying for jury duty.
  • Similarly, Louis CK has a story that starts: "Once, my wife sent me to the store to get toilet paper. Because we were out of toilet paper. Because I had thrown it all in the garbage so I could get out of the house."

    Western Animation 
  • In The Fairly OddParents!, Cosmo's mother didn't approve of his relationship with Wanda. To hide their marriage, Cosmo had to give her an excuse to leave. He told her he was going out to get milk. Cosmo and Wanda have been married for 10,000 years.
  • Jem: Craig's bandmates make an excuse and leave the room when Craig introduces his sister Stormer to his girlfriend in a way that makes it look like Stormer is his wife.

    Real Life 
  • This is a Christmas Dead Horse Trope (or possibly a Dead Unicorn Trope) in Sweden. On Christmas Eve, the father in the family uses the excuse of "I'm going to the store to buy a newspaper" to sneak off and dress up as Santa Claus.
    • Played for laughs in a Christmas special where Santa ended his visits by going to the local store to tell all the dads they could go home now.