Villains Out Shopping

"I find your lack of beef jerky disturbing."

When a felon's not engaged in his employment,
Or maturing his felonious little plans,
His capacity for innocent enjoyment
Is quite as great as any honest man's.
The Pirates of Penzance, "When A Felon's Not Engaged In His Employment" note 

The heroes are on the ropes, the Evil Overlord has been awakened from his ancient slumber and his kung fu is stronger than theirs. While the heroes are licking their wounds, they wonder what unspeakable evil he's plotting, and the camera makes a cut to...(Dramatic Pause!)...the villain trying out some jeans and t-shirts at Hot Topic.

Similar to a Gilligan Cut with an Affably Evil or Punch Clock villain as the Gilligan, Villains Out Shopping is a humorous cut to the villain doing or enjoying a perfectly mundane hobby unrelated to torture or being evil in general. Occasionally, the hero will join in and go Go-Karting with Bowser, and they generally won't attack villains during such activities, if only due to the market being a Truce Zone.

A similar situation is one where the hero has mistakenly concluded that one of the usual villains has committed a crime, when really, it was a different one. The hero will knock down the villain's door to discover...them trying on leather pants. Like we said, a crime. (Unless it's David Bowie wearing them.)

Generally used to humanize the villain. Don't expect the Complete Monster to do this, other than perhaps to try to subvert it.

If someone makes the argument that the villain's actions prove shopping is evil, they're committing the Hitler Ate Sugar fallacy.

See also Bad-Guy Bar, which is an establishment that caters specifically for villains who have off-time. Kingpin in His Gym and Mob Boss Suit Fitting are subversions, as the villains may initially seem to be enjoying some downtime but are actually training for/planning further villainy. Not Me This Time may occur if the heroes attack the villain because they didn't anticipate a shopping trip. A fanfic about the shopping trip is a Curtain Fic.

For the heroic version, see Heroes Gone Fishing.

Example subpages:

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  • A Sherlock Holmes radio drama about Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee had Professor Moriarty detailing to Holmes his exact plans for the day:
    Moriarty: "At four PM, I shall return home for a nap and an early dinner... ...At seven, I shall go the gala at Buckingham Palace and blow the place to kingdom come!''

     Stand-Up Comedy  
  • Eddie Izzard
    • The most famous routine in his stand-up show Circle features Darth Vader vainly attempting to get served with some lunch in the Death Star's canteen. Watch it here.
    • Definite Article gives us a queue of murderers all trying to shop at a late-night petrol station.

     Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons will inevitably have many examples.
  • In the Ravenloft campaign, Vlad Drakov, the cruel Darklord of Falkovnia, practices falconry as a hobby. The incredible irony is, while Drakov is a tyrant with absolutely no respect for human life, he can't bear to see his birds hurt.
  • One of the few universal traits shared by all the Yozi is a deep and masterful appreciation of music. The king of hell even leads city wide song and dance numbers through the streets on a regular basis. This might have practical benefits given the nature of Hell, but still.
  • When not raining plagues and disease on the mortal realms, Father Nurgle enjoys tending his garden. It's a garden devoted entirely to disease, but hey! It's just a garden by another name, right? Nurgle is generally depicted as a kind and generous grandfatherly figure who likes spreading his presents.
  • Frequently inverted in Mage: The Ascension and Mage: The Awakening by the use of fate magic. Wandering around doing errands and deciding where to wander impulsively while idling around is how entropy-manipulation gets you to the person or item you're seeking.
    • Goblin Markets in Changeling: The Lost are strictly enforced Truce Zones chock-full of useful gear and contacts, so it's not uncommon for this trope to come into play, whether it's rival Freehold members buying Christmas presents, Hobgoblin mercenaries on their days off, or privateers auctioning off their catches to the True Fae.