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Mobile Kiosk

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Frankly, Ryoga's just flabbergasted that he managed to find his way to Ukyo's cart at all.
Sometimes The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday has a very good reason for disappearing and reappearing at will: it has wheels!

A Mobile Kiosk would be any set-up where the owner sells something with the additional benefit that when business dries up he can pick up and move. As well, if they're unlicensed or selling Black Market items, they can scoot if they see City Guards coming. Perhaps a food truck in a van, a Conman with a collapsible table to sell "Bolex" and Zag Heuer" watches, a bazaar merchant with his jewelry and clothing on a cart, or a hoverskift on Alpha Centauri selling fresh alien fish. See Travel Cool for more odd vehicles such as Fruit Carts.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The theft of a yatai (Japan's version of the trope) meant as a dowry is the driving impetus in Ukyo's back story in Ranma .
  • The elusive "Neko Ramen" stand plays an important role in the first episode of The Tatami Galaxy and shows up from time to time later in the series.
  • The Boar Hat bar in The Seven Deadly Sins is one as it is actually carried upon a giant pig.
  • Yuki of Madoromi Barmaid owns the mobile bar Satellite, popping up here and there in Tokyo with a few seats and an eclectic selection of liqueurs.

  • Bedknobs and Broomsticks: everything in Portobello Road that isn't nailed down. As well as Professor Browne's nifty suitcase act.
  • At one point in Brain Donors, Cloud Cuckoo Lander Jacques produces and expands a collapsible office desk, complete with collapsible computer, collapsible printer, and inflatable secretary.
  • The opening scene of Guys and Dolls has a pitchman and his female accomplice whose pitch is a box with fixed legs.
  • Moving Violations: One of the traffic school students is a puppeteer, but not a very good one. During one of his shows, the kids pull the pin that unhooks his trailer/stage to his vehicle. Subsequently, it rolls down a hill, with him in it, directly into the path of a funeral procession.
    Scott Greeber: I hit a casket with a puppet stage. What am I doing here?

  • Discworld has C.M.O.T. Dibbler, who uses a handcart when business is going well (when it isn't, he just has a tray round his neck). In Making Money, it's suggested that he might want to invest in an actual storefront, but he replies that in his business it pays to keep mobile and in fact, he's there to apply for a loan to buy a wheelbarrow.
    • In Wyrd Sisters, written before Dibbler was created, the narrator speculated that hot-dog stalls incorporate small, gas-powered time machines, enabling them to appear out of nowhere whenever a crowd forms.
    • Dibbler's counterparts elsewhere on the Disc have similar carts or trays. The Ecksian version, Fair Go Dibbler, calls his tray Dibbler's Cafe de Feet, a parody of the famous Sydney meat-pie van Harry's Cafe de Wheels.
    • The Discworld Almanack list of Ankh-Morpork markets includes the Endless Street Fruit, Vegetable and Ferret Market, which is notable in that it never stops; if you want something, you're going to have to keep up with it while it constantly traverses the outer edge of the city. Apparently, this is to take advantage of unspecified loopholes in trading regulations (presumably the one that concerns renting a pitch) that were written on the assumption no one would attempt this.
    • In the countryside, as on our world until the 20th century, professions that are needed occasionally, but not enough that a village would have a shop for it, ply their way between settlements in wagons. As well as peddlers, tinkers, and so on, however, they include teachers, librarians, and accountants.
  • Good Omens (by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman): After a massive highway accident involving multiple vehicles and the Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse, among the crowd of police and firemen is a man selling hotdogs (presumably yet another Dibbler).
  • Dr. Seuss's The Sneetches and Other Stories gives us Sylvester McMonkey McBean and his portable Star-On and Star-Off machines.
  • Ignatius J. Reilly spends time pushing around a "Paradise Vendors" hot-dog cart in A Confederacy of Dunces. He usually eats most of the hot dogs himself, only barely selling enough to make up for his own consumption.
  • In Ciaphas Cain, Zemelda Cleat is introduced selling pies from a combination bike and food cart. She encounters Cain (and subsequently gets recruited into the Inquisition) when she is caught up in an assassination attempt and helps Cain and Jurgen hold off the attackers.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Twilight Zone (1959):
    • In "One for the Angels", Lou Bookman has a mobile pitch: a suitcase with extendable legs. When he finishes a pitch, he collapses the legs back into the suitcase and moves on.
    • In "What You Need", Pedott sells people what they need from his suitcase.
  • In season 3 of The Wire, Bubbles starts selling white t-shirts to the drug dealers and users around Baltimore from a shopping trolley. Later in the season and in season four, he starts to expand his operation, offering cans of paint, pirated DVDs, and other such assorted goods from his trolley.
  • Tin Man: Demilo's ungodly tacky whorehouse-on-wheels.
  • An entire town does this in one episode of The Adventures of Superman, in order to fleece passersby with phony speeding tickets.
  • One of the odder challengers in the Japanese version of Iron Chef was a chef who was cooking out of one of these who brought it into the arena with him. Did fairly well too.
  • In one episode of Get Smart, KAOS uses the old bomb-in-the-snack-truck trick.
  • Kamen Rider OOO's bike, the Ridevendor, transforms into a vending machine that can dispense his helper robots, the Candroids.

    Tabletop RPG 
  • Shadowrun: often has mobile medical care facilities and repair shops for the "don't ask questions" type.

  • In Oklahoma!, Ali Hakim the peddler has one of these.

    Video Games 
  • ANNO: Mutationem: These are found throughout Noctis City with Bilingual Bonus signs selling foods and drinks that provide minor bonus effects that can used in combat.
  • The Magimel Brothers from Shadow Hearts: Covenant own one of those and they put it to good use, seeing how they manage to appear everywhere. From inside the ruins left by an ancient civilization in the deeps of the Earth to an otherworldly fortress summoned by an evil Russian Warlock and a Hell facsimile created by a Japanese Taoist master, you can always bet on those guys appearing one step ahead of Yuri and Co. to offer their services.
  • Wild ARMs: On the world map, merchant caravans can be found in certain areas which serve fittingly as item shops.

    Web Comics 
  • In Girl Genius, there is a Mechanicsburg knife and tool sharpener who runs her business out of a cart. She has been turned into a centaur by a mad scientist so she pulls the thing herself when she wants to move it.
  • A side character of Surprising Octeal named Nancy Gently runs a business called "Secret Noodle" out of a food trailer pulled by a four-wheeler. She is, however, mildly annoyed by the lack of business this theme seems to generate.

    Web Original 
  • Home Star Runner: Every summer, Bubs drives around in a van selling... baloney sandwiches.

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons:
    • When Marge started a pretzel business and drove around with the pretzels in her station wagon, her rivals had a falafel truck.
    • Various times when they go to "ethnic" neighborhoods, and when they flashed back to Homer & Marge when they lived in an apartment.
      "Chiiiipwich for sale! Chocolate chip or oatmeal raisin! Chiiipwich for sale!..."
    • Oh, and the time Homer went to New York City to get his impounded car he bought a bunch of Klauh Kalesh from a street vendor, with crab juice to wash it down.
  • Hoodwinked!: Kirk sells schnitzel on a stick out of his truck, at least, until it's vandalized and his truck's tires are stolen by thieves who install tank treads.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball: The Awesome Store where Richard does all his shopping (buying a 'puppy' that turns out to be a homicidal turtle, a Game Kid that takes over the real world to turn it into a discount Final Fantasy, among others) is a beat-up red van with a mysterious lurker in the dark proprietor.
  • In Baymax!, one of Baymax's patients has a van that sells fish soup, and only fish soup, until he develops an allergy to fish.

    Real Life 
  • The U.S. has trucks filled with various types of food and drink that go around to any place with groups of people (construction sites, office buildings, college campuses, etc.) and sell to the people there. Most common are sandwich trucks and taco trucks (see Cuisines in America for details).
    • This practice is also becoming common in Britain, normally as a sideline run by a local cafe. More elaborate setups offering hotdogs, burgers, etc cooked while you wait tend to be found in lay-bys, the parking lots of retail parks, or dotted around pedestrianised shopping areas. They're also invariably found at markets or county fairs. Food quality ranges from unspectacular but perfectly edible to Orgasmically Delicious.
    • There are also the ever-famous food carts, which typically stay in one place on the sidewalk all day, but can be moved very easily to follow traffic patterns; these are common in cities around the world but are particularly common on the East Coast of the US, and most especially in New York, where they are practically a religion.
  • Bookmobiles, or mobile libraries as they're known in Britain.
  • There are companies out there that will wash your car and/or repair windshields on the spot (well in the parking lot anyway)
  • Ice cream trucks.
  • Also old-time cigarette girls.
  • Most of the alleged doctors in the Wild West would travel by wagon from town to town selling a 'miracle elixir' said to cure whatever ailment they could come up with. These show up in Westerns from time to time.
  • A close relative of this trope is the concept of the mobile MRI scanner, which is built into the trailer unit of an 18-wheeler and rotated between multiple small hospitals in rural areas. Similarly, the Red Cross has the Bloodmobile, basically an RV modified into a blood collection center so they can set up a blood drive anywhere with a parking lot.
  • Those Mexican ice cream men, who literally drag their store around behind them.
  • Japan has the yatai
  • A cycling track was constructed on a series of cantilevered platforms along Cromwell Gorge in New Zealand. Unfortunately there was nowhere to get refreshment, not least because the steep cliffs meant there was nowhere to put a kiosk. An entrepreneur dealt with the cyclists need for a coffee shot by selling coffee off a boat floating on the river that flows through the Gorge.
  • Orthodox Jews of the Chabad-Lubavitch sect sometimes drive around areas with "Mitzvah Tanks", which are Recreational Vehicles that act as basically mobile synagogues (sans a full-sized Torah scroll). Usually they drive to busy sidewalk areas (usually cities) and/or large public events (such as a street festival or fair) and ask passersby "Are you Jewish?" If you give an affirmative to that question; if male you are asked if you have "Put on tefillin today?" (if it isn't a major holiday like Sukkot, where they would have you perform a different ritual), and if you answer in the negative, are invited to perform the Sh'ma prayer while wearing the ritual tefillin either at a table set up outside the "Tank" or within the "Tank" itself; if female, you are given a package of candles, inexpensive candle holders and a booklet teaching you how to perform the Shabbos blessing prior to sundown Friday (Shabbos is each weekend from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown). Also while at the "Tank" you may be provided with other material about the basics of Judaism and/or Chabad-Lubavitch, and they are open to you coming aboard the "Tank" and ask questions regarding the faith. This is done in the hopes of the simple act of a non-Orthodox Jew either performing the rituals and/or learning about their own birth heritage/religion, will convince that person to start practicing as an Orthodox Jew. Other sects of Orthodox Judaism also try to convince non-Orthodox Jews to practice the way they do, called Kiruv (Hebrew: "Bring Close"), but do not seem to employ "Mitzvah Tanks" to do it. However, if you answer that you are not Jewish, they will smile and wish you well while asking others if they're Jewish, as the reason for the "Mitzvah Tank" (and other Kiruv activities) is to convince non-Orthodox Jews-by-birth to start "fully practicing" as Orthodox Jews, not to convince non-Jews to practice and/or convert to Judaism, nor to assist non-Jews who want to convert to Judaism (even if the non-Jew is seeking to convert to Orthodox Judaism).
  • Belorussian headlines from 2017: "Grodno region dweller was riding his moonshine still through Bialowieza Forest reserve." He built it on an old truck.
  • A medical example that has turned up more since the COVID-19 Pandemic is the mobile testing/vaccination truck. Often this is an operation that uses a truck to carry and unpack tents, chairs, and tables to help test individuals for exposure status, but there are just as many that operate out of the vehicle itself, usually a panel truck with the cargo space converted into a mini-clinic. In the pre-COVID era, the mobile immunization truck was sometimes seen in rural areas where doctors may not be readily available or are unable to receive/store supplies of vaccines.