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Mobile Kiosk

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Sometimes The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday has a very good reason for disappearing and reappearing at will: it has a motor!

A Mobile Kiosk would be any device where the owner sells something with the additional benefit that when business dries up he can pick up and move. Perhaps a conman with a collapsible table, a bazaar merchant with his store on a cart, or a hoverskift selling fresh alien fish. See Travel Cool for more odd vehicles such as Fruit Carts.



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    Anime and 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 ½.
  • 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.
  • A good majority of the story of Chef! takes place in one of these.
  • 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?

  • Jean Merrill's children's book The Pushcart War. Pushcart vendors vs. monster trucks!
  • 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 that were written on the assumption no-one would attempt this.
  • 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.

    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 passerby 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.

    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 
  • The Magimel Brothers from Shadow Hearts Covenant own one of those and they put it to good use, seeing how they manage to appears 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 head of Yuri and Co. to offer their services.

    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.
    • In The Simpsons 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.
  • Aiden Subtract works out of one of these, hawking his inventions in the Galaxy Rangers episode "Rainmaker"
  • 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, and 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.

    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.
  • Those Mexican ice cream men, who literally drag their store around behind them.
  • Japan has the yatai


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