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ISO-Standard Urban Groceries
...I really hope that milk came from sea cows.

All grocery bags must contain at least one stick of French Bread.
''Hollywood Rule Book'', Vanity Fair

If a character lives in The City and has just come home from shopping, he or she will inevitably be carrying a single brown paper bag (despite the fact that in many places, paper bags must be specifically asked for these days) from which protrudes a baguette (loaf of French bread) and the greens of a bunch of carrots; neither of these will be separately wrapped or packaged.

If the bag is emptied on-camera (perhaps in a Meet Cute), there will also be a quart of milk and a dozen eggs. Optionally, orange juice and/or a cut of meat may be present.

Also, the astute shopper who purchases a pair of oranges is preparing to drop said sack or have it knocked out of their hands. (These will likewise not be prepackaged or in a produce bag.)

In Japanese media, leeks and/or daikon radishes (a large white, carrot-shaped tuber) are the typical stock groceries.

The trope name plays with the International Organization for Standardization's tendency to establish consistent standards. 'Cause, dammit, it's NOT RIGHT to see someone walking down a city street with a bag filled with Twinkies, Mountain Dew, beer and pasteurized process sandwich spread that's good for at least 20 years. It'll break the Willing Suspension of Disbelief since, hell, that's a really terrible diet.

Because commodity foodstuffs are often sold loose or unlabeled, this trope may have its origins in avoiding Brand X or Product Placement issues. See also Baguette Beatdown. May or may not be related to Villains Out Shopping. Has nothing to do with the other ISOs.

Examples

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    Anime 

  • Played with in the D.N.Angel Anime. The main character's mother and their Maid go shopping on market day and buy a veritable mountain of different goods on sale. When you see them carrying all the bags, there is at least one leek sticking up from every bag.
  • Linna is seen walking around with a bag with a baguette sticking out of it in one episode of Bubblegum Crisis.
  • In F-Zero: Falcon Densetsu, Captain Fa- Bart is seen, twice in the same episode, carrying a grocery bag with a baguette in.
  • In a season 2 episode of Zero no Tsukaima, Siesta is seen carrying a grocery bag with a baguette and, as seen when she drops it, an apple.
  • Yuuki carries a bag with a baguette in the opening of the Silent Möbius TV series.
  • In Tiger & Bunny, Keith is carrying the usual "baguette and carrots" bag when he runs into Cis in episode 15. There's also an apple in there, which he offers to her.
  • In episode 4 of Smile Pretty Cure!, Nao is carrying three grocery bags, a leek protuding from one and a daikon radish from another, when she comes across the panicking Miyuki.
  • Rico carries one of these in the opening for the first season of Gunslinger Girl.
  • In Slayers Amelia, while carrying a large cloth sack of food, (which has two loaves of french bread sticking out the top) tries to save Lina and Gourry from a bunch of bandits by attacking them from a high cliff. She crashes to the ground, which causes the food to fly out, including meat, more bread, and fruit.

    Film 

  • Seen played straight in The Godfather, at least for the oranges part. Except in this case, while the Don is buying said oranges from the fruit vendor, a bunch of thugs show up and shoot him a few times, inevitably causing him to drop the oranges.
    • This is a trope in itself; the producer used oranges to 'brighten up' otherwise grim scenes and dark sets — therefore, you can find oranges in many scenes where someone dies.
      • Which is also a bit of a Genius Bonus referencing the Mafia's original role running protection rackets on Sicilian orange-growers.
  • At the end of The Departed, Sullivan carries one of these bags into his apartment. He gets shot by Dignam, and the groceries do end up all over the floor. The original script even called for the rat that comes out to start nibbling on a fallen bagel.
  • Dana Barret's shopping in Ghostbusters.
  • A baguette is poking out of a bag of groceries brought home by Inspector Clouseau in Return of the Pink Panther. When caught inspecting the front page of a neighbor's newspaper, he is whomped on the head with said bread.
  • In the 2010 Eddie Lebron fan film of Megaman, Dr. Wily, before planning his revenge removes bran flakes and a roll of paper towels from a paper bag, sets them on his kitchen counter, and then sits down to think up his evil scheme...
  • In Taken, Bryan uses one of these bags as camouflage to get into the Paris apartment. The only recognizable food item is not one but TWO baguettes; the greens look like a small ficus plant. (Evidently in France you need more than one baguette.)
    • Also in the same film, Jean-Claude also carries home a baguette for dinner.
  • Exaggerated in Michael Clayton: Michael finds Arthur walking with a paper grocery bag filled with nothing BUT baguettes.
  • April O'Neil is seen with one with a visible baguette when arriving back to her apartment in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret Of The Ooze.
  • Seen in Rumble in the Bronx. The baguette is even wrapped and labeled as such.
  • In the first Death Wish, this is one of the ways the police narrow the search for the vigilante: after a subway mugger is killed they find an abandoned bag of groceries on a seat on the train across from his body with a receipt from D'Agostinos in his neighborhood, in which they (correctly) figure the vigilante bought them at the store near his home.

     Live Action TV  

  • Lampshaded in Dharma and Greg: One episode mentions that every time Greg does the groceries he buys a baguette, even though no one eats it.
  • In Space Precinct, we see that three-eyed aliens in the future still fill their shopping bags with that mandatory baguette.
  • Turns up in Lovejoy tv series, the episode "The Axeman Cometh"; possibly the french loaf sticking out of the bag was to hammer home to the audience that the character holding it was meant to be French.
  • Averted in Highlander 'Deadly Medicine'-Duncan was getting items for an Italian meal, so there were tomatoes, among other things. There was some bread, though, probably for garlic bread. It got knocked to the ground when Duncan was hit by the car.
  • In the Modern Family episode "Baby On Board," Haley comes home with a paper shopping bag full of groceries so she can cook a special dinner for the family. Guess what's in the bag.
  • Parodied in an episode of Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23, when Chloe sets up a Funny Background Event during a walking conversation with James by stealing a baguette from a passing shopper's bag.

     Stand-Up Comedy  

  • Louis C.K. must be aware of this trope. After being told by a driver he cut off to "Go suck a bag of dicks!", he proceeds to wonder what a bag of dicks would look like, and whether the dicks would stick out the top like baguettes.

     This Very Wiki  

     Video Games  

     Western Animation  

  • Mr. Krabs brings home such a bag in the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Wet Painters" (see picture).
  • You will at least see Lois in Family Guy heading home with grocery bags like this such as the episode "Brian In Love" when she unloads the bags out of her car before being hose sprayed by Peter.
  • Brown paper grocery bags with baguettes can be seen in King of the Hill episode "A Rover Runs Through It".
  • Sesame Street features maybe the best known aversion: A very smart little girl marches down the street, constantly reciting, "A loaf of bread, a container of milk, and a stick of butter..." all the way to the store.

    Other 

  • Much of the pin-up work of Art Frahm concerns the unusual theme of women's panties dropping in a number of improbably contrived situations. Most of these occur, for some reason, in the vicinity of a Standard Urban Grocery bag, and, more specifically, in the vicinity of a Standard Urban Grocery Bag containing celery. Lileks has more on the sinister connection.
  • The logo of the U.S. SNAP program (aka the Food Stamp Program) is a grocery bag that contains a loaf of bread, a carton of milk, a carton of eggs, an apple, and something that's green (possibly broccoli).
  • The Sainsbury's Online Shopper logo is a plastic bag showing, among other indistinguishable packaging, a french loaf, a carton of orange juice, bananas and some kind of lettuce or fresh herbs.
  • A commercial for a cable company had the cable installers getting quizzed on various things that happen in movies, including, "In a romantic comedy, a grocery bag will always contain..."


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