"Slug killers, killer slugs, road drills, ear plugs..."
— 'We Sell Everything', Leon Rosselson
Ever wonder what those stores that buy anything
do with the random stuff they accumulate?
It might be a little drug store down by the corner. It might be an expansive, labyrinthine mega-mart so large it has its own zip code. However, when you walk in, you can be assured of one thing: It sells everything.
Absolutely everything. (Except, if you happen to be a Butt Monkey
, the one thing you're looking for.)
It sells things you would never expect to see in the same store together—such as, say, baseball bats, frying pans, instant ramen, and cold remedies
. The smaller the store, the more specialized you would expect it to be, so the more unlikely this seems—why is a tiny general store out in the middle of the sticks offering fine art?
Sometimes, the stuff for sale there shatters the bound of all logic—where on earth (or the moon) did they get their hands on a lunar lander?
Lord only knows who their suppliers are. If the shop is little and out-of-the-way, it may come bundled with a possibly insane, Q-like
proprietor who is quick to suggest all manner of goods to his or her customers. If the shop is enormous, expect to need a map just to find your way to the microwave popcorn.
Also quite common in video games, due to the fact that the gameplay tends to be sculpted around the hero's quest
. If you find a shopping district full of these then you are in a Bazaar of the Bizarre
. Oftentimes, even the far reaches of the unknown
are populated with tiny tent stores that boast a huge selection
despite no one shopping there (in fact, being so far into the game, they're likely to have more
Contrast with Severely Specialized Store
. Compare with We Buy Anything
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Anime & Manga
- The rental shop Nine Dragons in Nerima Daikon Brothers always has what the main characters need to take down the episode's target, which over the course of the series included bazookas, vegetable costumes, a heat-seeking enema, a drill machine, a VHS of Dog of Flanders, and a golden microphone, among other things.
- The Kourindou, ran by Rinnosuke, in Touhou Doujins. He sells a lot of stuff, usually taken from the world outside the boundaries of Gensokyo (Earth itself). Justified, though. When your supplier is Yukari Yakumo, getting a hold of miscellaneous object is very easy.
- In the Anime Magical play, there is an episode with a market were you buy anything, and when you run out of money, theres a stand that sells money too!
- Any frontier town's general store in Lucky Luke will sell everything. Lampshaded when Luke has a fistfight with some outlaw in one of them, and the owner lists out loud all the items that get broken.
- In another story, the store owner stated that there is a two week delivery time for the impossible.
- In a Tintin comic, the first appearance of merchant Oliveira da Figueira somewhere in the Middle East is announced by natives as "The white man who sells everything". He then proceeds to sell Tintin a random collection of objects, including for instance skis and a parrot.
- In a Spirou and Fantasio comic happening in Africa, the heroes discover a shop in the middle of the jungle, whose drunken owner claims he can sell everything. They are indeed able to find camping gear, guns with hypodermic needles, and yellow paint in his shop.
- The Scott Pilgrim comics feature a battle scene at Honest Ed's, a multi level discount store that takes up an entire city block in downtown Toronto.It's a real place.
- A "The Lighter Side Of..." cartoon in MAD had the owner of a drugstore extolling the range of goods his store sold, including aeroplanes. The customer then said he wanted to get a prescription filled to which the owner's response was "What are you? Some kind of wise guy?".
- Store Wars had Bloggs' corner shop, which sold anything and everything and was next door to a Superstore which did no business as a result.
- This trope is played with in the 2000AD Judge Dredd stories. People in the mega-city live in huge skyscraper "blocks" each of which is effectively a self-contained city including all shops and services ever required. You can be born, live and die in the same "block" and never have to leave it.
Films — Live-Action
- The drive-through mall scene in The Blues Brothers.
Jake: There's pants and burgers.
Elwood: Yeah, lots of space in this mall.
Jake: Disco pants and haircuts.
Elwood: Yeah...Baby clothes.
Jake: This place has got everything.
- "The new Oldsmobiles are in early this year."
- Idiocracy's Costco actually has its own subway system and university.
- Jack Jeebs' pawn shop in Men In Black sells the usual assortment of items, including plenty of stolen gold chains, but also a range of alien weapons.
- In Tremors, Chang's general store sells a sufficient range of products that when Rhonda loses her pants and shoes, replacements in her size can be found right there on the shelves. This, for a shop that supplies a valley that's home to less than twenty people. Probably justified because it's literally the only store for miles around.
- In Last Chance To See, Douglas Adams describes shopping in Zaire:
Most of the other shops were in fact impossible to identify. When a shop appeared to sell a mixture of ghetto blasters, socks, soap and chickens, it didn't seem unreasonable to go in and ask if they'd got any toothpaste or paper stuck away on one of their shelves as well, but they looked at me as if I was completely mad. Couldn't I see that this was a ghetto blaster, socks, soap and chicken shop?
Eventually, after trailing up and down the street for half a mile in either direction, I found both of them at a tiny street stall which also turned out to sell biros, airmail envelopes and cigarette lighters, and in fact seemed to be so peculiarly attuned to my needs that I was tempted to ask if they had a copy of New Scientist as well.
- Robert Asprin's Myth Adventures series has the Bazaar at Deva, which sells "anything you can imagine and a few things you can't." Deva is a planet/dimension occupied by the Lawful Evil Deevels who specialize in commerce and trade. Like Coruscant meets Wal-Mart, the entire planet is the bazaar. One hopes they made the moon a parking lot or something. The most bizarre thing the characters ever bought there is probably their headquarters, which is a small tent with the interior of a mansion; only the entrance is on Deva, while the rest is located in a parallel dimension populated by Friendly Neighborhood Vampires.
- Deveels aren't so much Lawful Evil as they are fantasy-style Ferengi.
- Also, the Bazaar does not actually take up the entire planetary surface. It's just that there's no longer anything else worth noting on the planet (such as signs of life, bodies of water or landmarks), and all dimensional coordinates to go to Deva get remapped to in-Bazaar locations. Between this and the way the entire Bazaar shifts about, no ordinary visitor would ever become aware that the place has a boundary, and nobody in Deva and not in the Bazaar is likely to stay that way for long.
- In one of his books Dave Barry has this to say...
In Los Angeles, I went into a Long's drugstore where the product on display at the cash register was: a sofa. Really. Suspended ominously right behind the cashier's head was a full-sized sofa, priced at $499. Apparently, this is for the harried shopper who gets to the cashier and goes, "Let's see ... dental floss, aspirin, and ... Ohmigosh! I almost forgot the sofa!"
- The Last Chance General Store in A Series of Unfortunate Events, although (as the name implies) it is a smallish shop in the middle of nowhere, fits this trope. They even have telegraph service as well as fiber-optic cables.
- In Dav Pilkey's Captain Underpants, when the main characters need fabric softener, they go to the nearby supermarket, named "Everything Except" something they can't remember. It's Everything Except Fabric Softener, of course. As the name implies, there's only one thing you can't buy there.
- In The Pendragon Adventure, Quillian's Blok put everyone else out of business, and took over Quillian.
- Tom from Deltora Quest sells "everything for the traveller". His wares include (but are far from limited to) such weird things as slippers for sore feet, a pipe that blows glowing bubbles, beads that start fires when broken, objects that can swallow up water and expand to create temporary bridges across bodies of water, and much more. When the protagonists first visit his store, they have to desperately restrain themselves from wasting all their money. Naturally, almost everything they do buy ends up being a Chekhov's Gun.
- Risky on Everybody Hates Chris always has whatever the characters are looking for and can be purchased from the trunk of his car or from the inside of his jacket. The purchases usually end badly for the consumer; for instance, scalped tickets to a basketball game or concert are usually in nosebleed sections or a toaster will burn the toast.
- The 80's British sketch-comedy Assaulted Nuts did a bit set in a small dingy shop whose owner (played by Wayne Knight, of all people) explicitly offered this service: supply absolutely anything you need, and if he doesn't have it, you can marry his wife. A customer tries to prove him wrong by asking for ever-more-outlandish things, which are all instantly produced. (One being a multilayer cake supported by plastic frogs topped with a model of the crown of Scotland.) The owner finally gets fed up, and asks if the customer actually wants something. The customer asks for a can of beans. The owner sighs, and his hideous wife appears, eating the beans.
- On Northern Exposure, the general store seemed to have everything (so long as Joel wasn't looking for something New York-ish). "Left-handed noodle strainer? Let me look in the back."
- Corner Gas has a store that sells both liquor and insurance of all things. The eponymous store also is pretty well stocked for a gas station.
- In the Norwegian spoof adventure series Brødrene Dal, the local gas station can easily provide you with everything you need to build a time machine. Hilarious in Hindsight, since the series was produced in the early eighties, and since then, most Norwegian gas stations has become all-purpose convenience stores that just happens to sell gas as well.
- The eponymous Puttnam's Prairie Emporium was a five-and-dime store that sold absolutely anything you could think of; one of its patrons would come in and ask for outlandish products like mosquito kneepads, which Mr. Puttnam would always have available.
- Food and Stuff from Parks and Recreation.
- Much of the Sliders episode "Season's Greedings" takes place in a mall that contains not only shops but also housing, schools, hospitals, etc. I suspect the only thing you can't get at the mall in this episode is freedom.
- The eponymous shop of "Weird Al" Yankovic's song "Hardware Store." Any hardware store that sells automatic circumcisers...
- Well, better automatic than manual. You want to do that by hand?
- Another example of this trope being the same singer's "eBay", which features examples of would-be strange purchases on the eponymous website. (See the Real Life section for the sort of thing he's sending up.)
- The setting of "Dixie Rose Deluxe's Honky Tonk, Feed Store, Gun Shop, Used Car, Beer, Bait, BBQ, Barbershop, Laundromat" by Trent Willmon.
- The campus vending machines in GURPS: IOU con distribute almost anything. And we do mean anything.
- In RPGs like Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy, it's common to have a weapon store, an armor store, and an Everything Else store, selling food, healing items, traveling items, collectible items... and occasionally weapons and armor too. Ultima, the granddaddy of them all, had perhaps the most bizarre example in a vehicle store where you could buy horses, boats, flying cars, and starships.
- Tom Nook's store in Animal Crossing. Want your very own asteroid to go along with your new pet gerbil and samurai sword? How about you pick up a can of paint and some medicine on the way up! And don't forget a birthday card for Curt, even though his birthday was a week ago! Their spotlight item announcements take the cake: "Dear shoppers! If you've ever wanted the moon, now's your chance!"
- Later games would split up the shops more, for instance moving the clothes and accessories over to the Able Sisters' shop. In New Leaf, there are actually two separate shops that sell furniture.
- In EarthBound, the drug stores somehow found themselves stocking a lot of non-pharmaceutical items, like baseball bats, frying pans, and broken equipment. Pretty much averted later on in the major cities, where there are large shopping malls which have individual shops with different specialties, of which drugstores with slightly more reasonable stock are a recurring component; obviously the malls still sell everything, but there's a reasonable reason for it this time.
- Some The Elder Scrolls shops have kitchen sink inventories, especially in Morrowind which kept track of its inventory in excruciating detail. All shops - with the exception of General Stores and Pawn Shops - had specifically stocked items in Daggerfall; but, after Daggerfall, all shops have bought any kind of item you have to sell, with the exception of illegal items and some quest items.
- Skyrim returns to the Daggerfall method. Stores will only buy what is relevant to their business. So blacksmiths will not buy clothes.
- Unless you picked the "Merchant" perk in the Speech skill, in which case you can sell any vendor anything (like selling cabbages to blacksmiths or something).
- The first two Lufia games have a store on Forfeit Island that let you buy back anything you've sold in any other shop in the world. And not only everything you've sold, but also anything you've fed to your pet monsters.
- In the main Pokémon games, the biggest city in each region always has a department store. In RBY, one floor sold the usually-rare evolution stones! Good thing you get an Eevee in Celadon...
- Shin Megami Tensei games are often particularly bad about this, since the store that sells EVERYTHING, up to and including voodoo-dolls, ancient coins and magical gems, is a pharmacy. And not a fantasy-ish pharmacy either, the modern-day kind where you'd go to get a refill for your aspirin. And, apparently, everything else you need for basic demon-hunting.
- Persona 3 has a police officer who sells armour and weapons, such as guns, bows and swords, to the teenaged protagonist for a modest sum. The game encourages you not to think too much about the implications of a policeman with 'connections' handing over lethal weaponry to underage schoolchildren. He also has a bitchin' selection of shoes and swimsuits. It also has a pharmacy, but it only sells healing items - the voodoo dolls, magic gems, and whatnot come from the antique store next door, whose owner is explicitly trained in some interesting forms of magic (and only accepts precious stones as payment).
- Justified in Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey. There isn't a "store" per se, but a materials laboratory aboard the Red Sprite that you take raw materials to, and then "spend" Macca (energy units used by demons as currency) to manufacture equipment. The lab thus becomes an item factory for nearly anything the protagonist could ever need. The reverse is also justified in this manner, because the lab can take the protagonist's items and dispose of the materials to salvage leftover Macca.
- Inverted in X-COM, where you are the one who sells everything, from weapons and ammunition to spacecraft and tanks to alien corpses.
- Hilariously lampshaded in a fan fiction piece that notes how an underwater base (Terror from The Deep) that had to deal with Lobstermen frequently ordered higher-than-average amounts of butter. Go figure...
- Subverted in Sam & Max (first and second seasons, at least.) At Bosco's Inconvenience, Sam asks for everything a convenience store would never have, and some things a convenience store should have, but none of it is available. However, Bosco always has in stock one arcanely useless item necessary to solving a puzzle later in the game, for an improbable sum that Sam will acquire by solving another puzzle.
- But in the final episode of season one, Sam asks Bosco for items that would've resolved the problems in all previous episodes, and it turns out Bosco has all of them! If only they'd asked sooner...
- Besides the usual RPG fare We Sell Everything-ism, Tales of Symphonia has the Lezareno Company, which makes, sells, and does everything. Handcuffs, cologne, iron maidens, trick iron maidens, and more. In addition, it has a disaster-relief branch and is singularly responsible for the existence of its own city/resort, and that's just the stuff that gets mentioned over the course of the two games' stories.
- Your shop in Recettear can stock whatever items you can get your hands on, from weapons and armor, to food, to insect traps, slime gel, books, statues, flooring, wallpaper... Gameplay mechanics actually enforce this.
- Variously played straight and averted in Fallout: New Vegas: There are a few "general stores" that sell most items, but in small amounts, but most merchants specialize in selling a lot of one thing: guns, medical supplies, food, liquor, are found in greatest quantities in specialty stores that sell only one kind of thing.
- Fallout 3 has traveling merchants who specialize in various kinds of equipment, including one whose speciality is... miscellaneous junk. Anything in the game that isn't a weapon, piece of clothing or consumable, Crazy Wolfgang's your guy.
- Averted in the X-Universe series. Factories will only sell their end product. Equipment docks, trade stations, and shipyards only sell the items on the stock list.
- In The Sims Medieval, the Village Shoppe sells various types of food, weapons and equipment, but also sells some quest-specific items. Sometimes, some very weird quest-specific items too. Looking for crab perfume? Well, obviously the village shop has it! (They also buy everything, including pond scum.)
- The merchant from Resident Evil 4 will sell you just about anything, but to unlock the really cool stuff you've gotta replay the game. A rocket launcher with unlimited ammunition? Got it. A laser cannon that'll melt the Big Bad when used on the lowest setting? No problem stranga'.
- Homestar Runner: Pretty much anything can be obtained from Bubs's concession stand, including items that are either impractical for a place that small to stock (such as hot tubs or fancy leather chairs) or something that is difficult to imagine anyone ever wanting (such as a hobby kit with only dangerous items inside). Justified because he has the only shop within city limits, as far as the viewers know.
- Not to mention that several other operations were based out of the concession stand at different times. Among other things it's also the source of Strong Bad's internet, served as both a veterinary clinic and an (illegal) hospital, the base of shady illegal dealings... in quality goods, and an insurance company.
- Mega-Lo-Mart from King of the Hill.
- The ACME company, which the characters of Looney Tunes constantly use products from, stands for 'A Company that Makes Everything'. Possibly a backronym that is actually derived from the Greek akme, meaning "best."
- Buy n' Large from WALL•E - their stores could dwarf Idiocracy 's version of Costco and their president is CEO of Earth. Heck, their website reveals that they bought the weather (with satellites controlling it) and the direction North (rebranded BnL North).
- Orange Blossom runs one of these stores in the 2009 Strawberry Shortcake series.
- The Stuff-Mart of VeggieTales.
- The Wall2Wall-Mart from The Fairly Oddparents literally sells EVERYTHING, including military helicopters armed with computer-guided missile-launching systems.
- Justified by the setting; if kids can wish for anything, what do they do with the non-sentimental stuff when their godparents leave? Also, that world lacks common sense.
- All-in-One Mart, "the store big enough to swallow your town!", only appeared in one episode of Arthur, but the loudspeaker announcements make it clear that they sell just about everything from bizarre food items to army-surplus jet turbines (the announcer suggests they'd make good house fans).
- Clerks: The Animated Series has Jay and Silent Bob enter this profession because they can't sell marijuana on a prime time network show. Typically the merchandise is of some extremely absurd and obscure nature pulled from the endless recesses of Silent Bob's coat. The pilot episode also introduces the Quicker Stop, which is called a convenience store but functions more like a mega-mall.
- Kim Possible has Smartymart, which has everything from naked molerats to discount capri pants.
- Johnny Bravo has the Dollar Three store, which not only sells everything but sells it for one dollar and three cents. Including komodo dragons.
- One of the 1960s Popeye cartoons has a man who happens to find Popeye in the huge store turn to him and say, "Excuse me, sir, can you direct me to the exit? I've been trying to find it for sixteen years."
- Phineas and Ferb demonstrates this trope with their quintessential song.
- The real Costco is a Real Life example of this.
- A somewhat obscure saying goes that you can buy everything you'd ever need at Costco except "the textbooks you study from, the tuxedo or gown you're married in, the house you live in, and the coffin in which you're buried."
- Except they do sell coffins.
- And wedding gowns! Costco is the place you want to be when there's a Zombie Apocalypse.
- Big-chain superstores such as Wal-Mart or Tesco often fall under this. A memorable cartoon in Private Eye showed anti-Tesco protestors buying their "No to Tesco" protest signs and T-shirts...from Tesco, while remarking "They really do sell everything!"
- A lot of real-world Dollar Stores seem to take a We Sell Everything Crappy approach.
- Also suburban "pharmacies" in the United States, which sell grocery staples, office supplies, and seasonal merchandise as well as prescription and OTC drugs, and grooming products. This arguably makes the aforementioned EarthBound example slightly more Truth in Television.
- Don't forget how pharmacies everywhere in the US all sell cigarettes, and usually sell alcohol (if the laws of the state allow it).
- In Japan, otherwise purely electronics stores also sell ties and umbrellas.
- In Japan, Britain and probably many other places, it's common for every shop to suddenly start selling umbrellas and furry hats as soon as it starts raining or snowing heavily, simply because they know people will run in to the nearest door and buy them.
- You'd be surprised what you can find in ethnic stores, especially those Asian supermarkets, like Super 88.
- Harrods, an upmarket department store in London, once claimed to sell anything, "from a packet of fern seeds to an elephant".
- Urban legend has it that a man determined to disprove the claim that Harrod's could get their customers anything went in and asked for an elephant. The sales attendant, completely unfazed, replied with the follow-up question: "Would that be African or Indian, Sir?"
- The Tuuri Village Shop in Finland, claimed to be the largest little village store in the world, and sells pretty much anything that one can hope to need. Just for comparison, the village it stands in has 500 residents. The shop gets 5,8 million customers yearly.
- eBay is an online version of this trope. After a bit of searching, you start to realize that there is someone on Earth selling the most random crap. Selling human beings, weapons, and anything that simply cannot be sold legally is out. Beyond that... It gets weird.
- Hatching eggs are salable... go on, bid on some Rhode Island Reds, they get Fed Exed to you, and you put them in the incubator and they hatch in a suitable time frame.
- You cannot sell purely intangible things, such as your soul, but you can come awfully close— you could, for instance, sell a certificate that turns over ownership of your soul to the buyer.
- One concrete example of coming pretty close— Hemant Mehta sold the right to determine where he would attend worship services; the book ended up titled "I Sold My Soul On eBay" because of the spin media commentators put on it.
- While you can't sell living beings, there was this one guy who actually sold advertising space on his own body in the form of tattoos.
- Where on earth (or the moon) did they get their hands on a lunar lander? Well maybe an eBayer has yet to sell a lunar lander, but the sale of a titanium fuel tank◊ from the command module of Apollo 18 begs a similar question.
- Even the things that actually can't be sold, people still try regularly; the auctions just get yanked. There are recorded instances of people trying to sell organs, souls, themselves...
- 100 kilogram pure cocaine. The auction, landing at something like 5000 US dollar, was deleted after 18 hours.
- And weirder, a man actually MANAGED to sell his house, his wife and his two children but for what price is unknown. Apaprently the Admins overlooked that auction.
- Hell, forget houses, sometimes people auction off entire TOWNS.
- At one point, a man managed to sell his life. This included his house, his car, his job, his wife and children, and his friends.
- Although a bit on the small side (the entire store could fit inside Costco's freezers), the Tooth of Time Traders at Philmont Scout Ranch claims that you can walk in with nothing but a credit card and walk out entirely outfitted for the backcountry. To date only our treks from Japan have tried (BTW, Thanks guys.)
- True of many Trading Posts at many Scout Camps. Need a thermal blanket? Go past the slushies and the decks of cards, they should be right next to the frisbees and sweatshirts.
- Soon after Mall Of America opened, and was revealed to include every conceivable sort of shop or service from an attached hotel to classrooms hired out by overcrowded schools, jokes started circulating that all it needed was an obstetrician and a funeral home, and no one would ever have to leave the building.
- The Canadian North West Company is a chain of stores in northern Canada and Alaska that sells everything from groceries to Inuit art to furs and general merchandise. Obviously with the remoteness of Alaska and Canada's northern territories, as well as the small population, there's not much point in having larger store chains that all sell different things.
- Small towns in general typically have stores that sell a wide variety of things because there aren't enough people in town to specialise.
- Ikea — as Jonathan Coulton puts it, "Everything for your home, and if you don't have a home, you can buy one there..."