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Going to the Store

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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.

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 are generally quite a bit larger in Japan and sell more kinds of things, so it happens more over there.

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 
  • Great Teacher Onizuka: When Anko goes out to meet Noboru, she tells her mother that she's going to the store. Her mother wonders "You took a shower to go to the store? And is that my perfume?"

    Comic Strips 
  • 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.

    Films — Animated 
  • 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.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 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.
  • Happenstance: Richard's lie to Elsa that he broke things off with his wife leads to Elsa taking him to her parents to introduce her. Richard, in a blind panic, then says he has to step out for cigarettes, and never returns.

  • A variant in American Psycho, where Patrick's go-to excuse for exiting a conversation is "I have to return some video tapes."

    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 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
  • A variation in Bruce Springsteen's "Hungry Heart":
    Got a wife and kid in Baltimore, Jack
    I went out for a ride
    And I never went back

    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.
  • In The Powerpuff Girls (2016) episode "Super Sweet 6", everyone in Townsville is invited to Princess' 6th birthday except for Blossom. Blossom's family decides to stay, but they all (not-so) secretly want to attend. The Professor lies and says he's going to the store to buy water, but he actually went to Princess' birthday bash. This in turn causes Blossom's sisters to use also use excuses to go to the party.
  • Zig-zag: "The Film Fan" stars Porky Pig in his little kid phase who is actually sent to the store for milk and bread but gets distracted at a movie theater with its "kids admitted free" sign out. At the end of the cartoon, it turns out that all the kids in the house were sent to the store by their mothers,

    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.