Someone has announced a special event happening near you. When you arrive there, lots of other people have shown up too to participate. But wait, why are there so many heading towards the assortment of snacks put out? Unless that was the whole purpose of some of these people showing up?
In any type of social gathering, whether a contest or a presentation most people are there to participate. But there's also a small percentage of the group who care more about the free snacks than the actual program. They care more about filling their stomachs than their minds and/or lives. A common gag, sometimes leads to Comically Missing the Point.
Can be seen as a form of Not in This for Your Revolution. See also I Was Told There Would Be Cake, Only in It for the Money and Food as Bribe. Compare The Snack Is More Interesting, and Signed Up for the Dental and Working for a Body Upgrade, when the perk of joining isn't merely food, and Just Here for Godzilla, where the audience watches a work of fiction just for a certain character or element in it.
- In Dragon Ball, Beerus spared Earth and continually hangs around on it because he finds the local cuisine to be Impossibly Delicious Food compared to everything else in Universe 7.
- JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Vento Aureo: Secco, a character who acts like a pet, only joined Cioccolata for the treats, wealth, and participation in the slaughter.
- In Runaways, Chamber claims that he only joined Excelsior, the support group for former teen superheroes, because the flyer said that there would be free pizza. The fact that Chamber doesn't actually have a mouth with which to consume pizza probably should be the first clue that he's actually Geoffrey Wilder in disguise.
- A dark version appears in The Desert Peach: when the 469th Halftrack needs a Nazi Party member to speak with a visiting political officer, the only one in the entire unit turns out to be Udo, who joined up at the very beginning. He had no idea what the speechmaker at the rally was talking about and also happens to be Jewish: he just knew the man on the stage was buying the beer.
- In Breaking the Deal, when Spider-Man asks what half the Marvel Universe are doing when providing him with a Big Damn Heroes against Mephisto, Deadpool claims he's there because he was promised "free cookies and a lapdance."
- When Yugi's friends use The Power of Friendship to protect him from Pegasus' mind reading powers in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series, Tristan claims that he's just there for the food.
Zombie Boy: Brains! [I came for the free tacos.]
- And then there's the first "Marik's Evil Council of Doom" video:
Marik: By the way, there are no free tacos. That was a lie.
Zombie Boy: Brains... [Figures...]
- South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut: When the boys are sending out a recruitment letter for "La Resistance", Cartman insists that they include the phrase "punch and pie" for the meeting because more people will come if they think there will be snacks. Sure enough, two of the boys who show up interrupt to ask about it, but they immediately leave when told there isn't any.
- Ever After: Baroness de Ghent, as resentful enough towards her stepdaughter Danielle, often neglects her second-born daughter Jacqueline, and whenever they go into a social gathering, the Baroness often accuse Jacqueline of "only being there for the food." That statement comes to bite the Baroness at the end when Jaqueline sides with Danielle.
Baroness de Ghent: Jaqueline, darling, I hate to think that you had anything to do with this.
Jaqueline: Of course not, Mother. I'm only here for the food.
- Taegukgi: Jin-tae's fiance, Young-shin, goes to communist party meetings for the free food they were handing out. South Korean militias eventually start rounding up and executing suspected communists, which includes anyone that attended those meetings.
- One scene in Dear White People has the Black Students League pausing to recognize their one Chinese-Black member, who replies to their stares with "You guys have better snacks."
- From A Christmas Carol. When traveling into the possible future, Scrooge sees some men from the Stock Exchange taking about a certain person who died and debating on whether to go to his funeral or not. Sprouting these lines:
"It's likely to be a very cheap funeral," said the same speaker; "for upon my life I don't know of anybody to go to it. Suppose we make up a party and volunteer?"
"I don't mind going if a lunch is provided," observed the gentleman with the excrescence on his nose. "But I must be fed, if I make one."
- In Dwayne Johnson's autobiography "The Rock Says...", he describes how as a struggling semi-professional football player, he would attend meetings whether he was supposed to or not because there was always a sub sandwich spread.
- In Little Men, the girls want to have a "ball" (tea party and dance) and invite a few of the boys, but they aren't enthusiastic. They're around ten years old, and the boys don't feel like dressing up like Little Men and engaging in stiff conversation and dancing. It's only the promise of free food that brings them out:
"They have been cooking lots of goodies, I smelt 'em. Let's go," said Tommy.
"We needn't stay after the feast, you know," added Demi.
"I never went to a ball. What do you have to do?" asked Nat.
"Oh, we just play be men, and sit round stiff and stupid like grown-up folks, and dance to please the girls. Then we eat up everything, and come away as soon as we can."
"I think I could do that," said Nat, after considering Tommy's description for a minute.
- In Q & A, when he used to be a Street Urchin, Ram Mohammad Thomas used to go to marriages to get food until he got caught in a violent brawl between the two families.
- Robert A. Heinlein's Sixth Column: After the PanAsians invade and conquer the U.S., most of the surviving Americans are reduced to poverty. When the priests of the god Mota begin holding services, the Americans who attend are there for the free food that's given out after the services are over.
- In the young adult novel What You Hide by Natalie Richards, homeless teenager Mallory always attends the free movie screenings at the local library because of the free pizza that is served at them.
- Inverted in the The Worst-case Scenario Survival Handbook: Work (part of a series of Faux To Guides on unrealistically dangerous situations), which suggests bringing snacks to a meeting you're not meant to be at (but want to be) — nobody will question your presence if you bring food.
- In The Year of the Rat, when Mayor Sharak hosts a ball to choose his second wife, many guests come there mostly for the feast and dances, since the second wife isn't chosen as carefully as the first one and the entrance is free for all girls under twenty and at least moderately well-born.
- This is what brings the Herdman kids to church in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.
- Brooklyn Nine-Nine: The only reason Hitchcock and Scully attend the police union meetings is because of the party subs served there.
- Community: In "Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas", Pierce says the only reason he is attending Abed's intervention was because of the free cookies.
- Crisis on Earth-X: When the various heroes of the Arrowverse assemble for Barry and Iris' wedding, it's all out of genuine love and friendship... except for Heat Wave, who's only there for the open bar and free food.
- Good Luck Charlie: In the episode "Charlie Is 1", Gabe's only reason for attending Charlie's first birthday party is the cake.
Gabe: I'm just here for the cake.
- The IT Crowd: Kicking off the second episode, Denholm succeeds in convincing his employees to go to a presentation about stress by clarifying that there will be free food.
- On the Murder, She Wrote episode "Something Borrowed, Someone Blue", a guest who claims to be a distant relative is really a gatecrasher who went to the wedding for the food.
- In the Parks and Recreation episode "Kaboom": Andy admits to doing various volunteer activities for the free snacks.
- Person of Interest has Reese bring Shaw along while on a stakeout after their POI is a VIP in a public event. Reese tells Finch that Shaw is eating a lot of food, implying that she joined in because the event had a buffet.
- Big Nate: At one point, Nate and Teddy join a library book club purely for the snacks being served during it.
- Pink Panther: Hokus Pokus Pink: Near the end of the game, when the guests leave the Periowinkle mansion one by one without bidding on the Stars Byte collection, Flip admits that he was never interested in the collection from the start. He just came for the free food.
- In Tales from the Borderlands, Yvette apparently mostly hangs around with Rhys and Vaughn to mooch free meals off them in exchange for favors. True to the Borderlands series, she's introduced with a title card, and her caption is 'Lunch Leech.'
- One quest in Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII involves Lightning going to a restaurant with a man in order to get a free meal.
Lightning: How many times do I have to tell you? I'm just here for the steak.
- In his acceptance speech for the 1986 Brownlow Medal (Australian Rules Football's highest individual honor), Robert Dipierdomenico quipped, "I gave myself no chance and only came along for the food".
- In an early arc of Housepets! Grape (a cat) shows up at a "Good Old Dogs club" meeting because she likes the taste of dog biscuits.
- The Order of the Stick: When an inn is threatened by assassins, Quirky Bard Elan uses his Magic Music to lure the patrons outside and away from danger, Pied Piper-style. Outside, he realizes that he was only followed by one man, who asks about the free pudding Elan mentioned.
- The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius: In "Maximum High", Sheen brings the repair man from his apartment in place of his dad to the Parent-Child Games. The repair man immediately asks where the free food is and spends the rest of the episode doing nothing but eating a burger.
- Being Ian: In "Is There An Ian In The House?", Kyle and Korey sneak into a motivational speaker's group because they're offering free coffee and doughnuts which they get after annoying the speaker a lot.
- Bob's Burgers:
- In "Mo' Mommy Mo' Problems", Linda wants to spend her Mother's Day going to open houses on Kingshead Island just for the buffet spreads. It backfires when she gets too involved personally with one realtor.
- In "Brunchsquatch", Linda starts a Sunday brunch at the restaurant, offering "bottomless mimosas". Unfortunately, since she forgot to specify a one-meal-per-customer minimum, the restaurant gets full of "brunch skunks" who only order mimosas.
- In Brandy & Mr. Whiskers, Brandy tries to convince a bunch of animals to abandon their home at a tree in exchange for peanuts (literally, their brain is small), a manatee comes and she asks how he benefits from the tree, he responds that he only wants peanuts.
- The DuckTales (2017) episode "The Golden Lagoon of White Agony Plains!" opens with Scrooge McDuck, Huey, Dewey and Louie attending the opening of a new wing in the museum dedicated to Glomgold, but mostly with the intent to snag banquet snacks for later use.
- In the Fancy Nancy episode "School de Fancy", Nancy gets Rhonda, Wanda, and Lionel to attend her charm school with the promise of popcorn. When they show up, Lionel asks where the popcorn is, and Bree serves it to him with an annoyed look on her face.
- In the Looney Tunes short One Froggy Evening, the man who finds the frog tries to get people to show up to the frog's performance. He writes "Free Admission" and later "Free Beer." The latter gets tons of people to come pouring in.
- Pickle and Peanut: in "America's Sweetboy", Peanut enters Pickle into the America's Sweetboy pageant and finds McSweats participating too, but he tells the duo he's only there for the free taffy and freely admits he has no chance at winning.
- In Robot Chicken, the characters from Punch-Out!! attend Doc Louis' funeral. While some of them gave a eulogy out of respect, Mike Tyson states that he didn't know who Doc was, and only showed up to steal food from the catering table, and he challenged anyone to try and stop him.
- South Park: Part of the reason why Kenny has immortality is because of the Cult of Cthulhu meetings offering free beer, which is the only reason his parents even attended them.
- SpongeBob SquarePants: In "Band Geeks", Mr. Krabs joined Squidward's band audition with the promise of free refreshments.
Mr Krabs: When do we get the free food?
- In Sally Bollywood, one episode had Sally and Doowee inviting some kids from their school over for an invention demonstration. When the device is sabotaged and the two begin investigating, one of their schoolmates, Darshie, admits she only came over because she likes the cooking of Sally's nanny, Mrs. Apu.