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Shopping Montage

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A staple trope of romantic comedies, chick flicks and sitcoms. A woman (usually a mother or a mother figure) who wants to spend some Quality Time with her protégé (usually, her daughter) takes the protégé out on a shopping trip, usually to The Mall — buying dresses and makeup, getting their nails done together, etc. The shopping trip is usually shown as a montage, featuring scenes such as:

  • Credit cards being swiped.
  • Characters posing in a variety of outfits.
  • Shoppers talking to the store attendants.
  • The shoppers walking out of a store, carrying heaps of shopping bags and brightly-wrapped packages.
    • If they take a guy along, he'll be the one charged with carrying them, typically in the form of a mountain of boxes. He'll also tend to be rather bored, or perturbed by the amount of money being spent.
  • The shoppers sitting side by side, chatting while the staff does their hair or paints their nails.
  • A Shockingly Expensive Bill at the end.

Often used in Gender Bender stories to exploit the (usually male) transformee's discomfort with the whole process. Also generally follows Retail Therapy, although individuals going through retail therapy generally shop alone.

See also Fashion-Shop Fashion Show. Villains Out Shopping doesn't actually have to involve shopping, but when it does, it's likely that it will involve a montage.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • One of the many, MANY sources of fan anger in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny was such a montage centering on Kira and his friends, run parallel to a pitched battles in which Shinn and his friends were participating, which many fans felt made the Archangel crew look selfish and lazy.
  • Rangiku Matsumoto from Bleach defies her captain's orders, as usual, and instead goes shopping and tries on a LOT of different outfits and buys ALL of them.
  • In Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl, the gender-bent main character goes through this.
  • Happens often in Girl Friends (2006) as the main characters go shopping for beautiful clothes.
  • The '90s Sailor Moon anime has one ending theme animation during SuperS which is the girls having a Shopping Montage with Chibi-Usa.
    Shopping Spree for Satan Spawn? 12000 Yen.
    Toonami Digital Arsenal
  • In episode 16 of Your Lie in April, Kaori has Kousei accompanying her to the mall, shopping various item ranging from clothes to dolls to stationery for her one day out of the hospital. She makes him bring a lot of her belongings and missed his lesson in the process.
  • Pokémon:
    • Serena and Bonnie take Diancie on one in Pokémon: Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction. Ash and Clemont are very bored the whole time.
    • Mallow, Lana, and Lillie drag Ash along for one in Episode 20 of the Sun & Moon anime. Kiawe, Sophocles, and even the Rotom Dex made up excuses to leave, but the girls roped Ash in before he could come up with one.
  • A variant of this happens in Episodes 6 and 8 of Gourmet Girl Graffiti when Kirin and Ryou go grocery shopping together.
  • Episode 4 of Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid has Kobayashi, Tohru, and Kanna going shopping for school supplies after Kobayashi enrolls Kanna in the local elementary school. Given that they come from a fantasy world, Tohru and Kanna express amazement at all the various stationary they see.

    Fan Works 
  • Guys Being Dudes: Arlo has an extended Flashback of him and Candela, among other things, going shopping at a mall when he starts thinking about their past relationship.
  • Pokémon Reset Bloodlines has plenty of this during Chapter 31. Ash and his female companions make use of their recent tournament earnings to buy a lot of stuff for themselves.

    Films — Animation 
  • Used as the set-up for one of the subplots in the "Rhapsody in Blue" stage of Fantasia 2000.
  • All Dogs Go to Heaven (of all places) features an interesting variation. Anne-Marie is shown reflected on a swiveling full-length mirror as she tries on new clothes. Every time the mirror spins, Anne-Marie has on a different outfit.
  • Anastasia has one during the song "Paris Holds The Key (To Your Heart)".
  • In Superman/Batman: Apocalypse, this trope is used to illustrate Kara Zor-El's eagerness to adopt Earth culture.
  • Raya and the Last Dragon: Upon arriving in the Talon nation, Sisu immediately zips around the marketplace buying gifts (without any money, but promising to pay back later) with which she intends to butter up the tribe's leader in exchange for their piece of the Dragon Gem.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Enchanted has a version in which the "protégée" is an adult, and the person who takes her shopping is a six-year-old child.
  • Blank Check: Preston does this after cashing the blank check to stuff his mansion with toys, while "Money (That's What I want)" plays in the background.
  • Something like this was also done in Life-Size, although Lindsay Lohan's character's father also came along. This was when Eve first came and they were at the mall.
  • Hilarious subverted in Wasabi: While his daughter is busy wiping out the store, Jean Reno's character is constantly punching mooks off-screen.
  • Rebecca goes on one in American Dreamer, buying loads of furs and dresses with shoulder pads (this was The '80s), and accidentally billing someone else for it all.
  • In National Lampoon's European Vacation, the Griswolds do this in Italy.
  • Done in the movie Shooter.
  • The Dick Powell film Gold Diggers of 1935 contains one of the earliest examples of this trope.
  • Subverted in Steamboat Bill, Jr. when Steamboat Bill, Sr., drags his "sissy" beret-wearing son (played by Buster Keaton) into a haberdasher's — Buster tries on a dozen hats (including his signature flat porkpie), only for his purchase to blow off as he's walking home.
  • Pretty Woman: Vivian goes shopping on Rodeo Drive, with the help of Edward; she cleans up and buys lots of expensive clothes, and with her new look, she goes back to the store that rejected her and parades her multiple shopping bags to the store clerks who mistreated her.
  • Done in Dr. Jekyll & Ms. Hyde, where Helen Hyde, fresh from the first transformation, goes shopping for clothes while Jean McClain's "Brand New Me" plays. At one point, she attempts to take out a credit card from her wallet, only to pull out Richard Jacks's ID. She quickly puts it away.
  • The Brady Bunch:
    • The Brady Bunch Movie has Mike take the family shopping in celebration of a client approving one of his architectural designs.
      "Put on your Sunday best, kids, we're going to Sears!"
    • A Very Brady Sequel has the Brady kids visit a new shopping center in preparation for their parents' upcoming anniversary party. They end up spending more time dancing around the place than shopping, with antagonist Trevor wanting no part in their numbers.
  • The District 5 team (later known as the Ducks) go on one in The Mighty Ducks after getting enough money for safe equipment.
  • Lily subjects Julius to one when decides to give him The Makeover in Circus: buying new clothes, glasses and hairstyle.
  • Claire treats her best friends Meredith and June to one after she comes into her inheritance in Wish Upon.
  • In Mackintosh and T.J., Mackintosh earns bounty money killing some rabid coyotes. He and T.J. spend the money on new clothes for T.J., kitchen items for their cabin, and root beer floats while country music plays in the background.
  • Combined with Fashion-Shop Fashion Show in Death Walks on High Heels when Robert takes Nicole shopping for clothes in London: Nicole having fled Paris without any luggage.

  • Animorphs: Rachel goes through several of these, as she's The Fashionista of the group.
    • Occasionally done by Rachel to Cassie, much to the latter's chagrin as she has zero fashion sense. In one case, because the school dance was coming up, and Rachel had decided that not only Cassie WOULD go to the dance with Jake, she would look her best doing so (having overheard several other girls contemplating hitting on Jake).
    Rachel had forced me to wear a dress. She had dragged me through the mall, dressing me up like her own personal Barbie doll.
    • One story has her go through an emergency shopping spree for clothes when Erek's hologram stops functioning and he appears as a dog-headed android (including underwear). She got them all in the right size.
    "I am the goddess of shopping."

    Live-Action TV 
  • Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon does this with alarming frequency, even for a Shoujo tokusatsu.
  • Invoked and Subverted on 30 Rock. Tracy and Jenna attempt to get soup for the sick crew, forget, and go shopping together instead. When they try to explain this to Liz the montage begins, complete with "Sharp Dressed Man" playing. But it gets cut off after only a second or two, with Liz saying "Yeah, I get it, you went shopping. I don't need the montage."
  • The Sarah Jane Adventures has this in "The Mark of the Berserker" but given a rare Gender Flip with Clyde and his...up until this point... Disappeared Dad. Also, it would be better to call it a stealing montage because Clyde's father was using a Applied Phlebotinum alien mind control pendant to convince shop assistants to give away stuff for free, and to stop Clyde from being bothered by this.
  • Done in an episode of Stargate Atlantis where the cast think they've gotten back to Earth. Teyla is excited to see Earth, so Sheppard offers to show her (Noble Savage from a pre-industrial planet) around. And inevitably ends up subjected to a lengthy shopping spree. Since the "Earth" they're experiencing is largely constructed from Sheppard's memories, this probably says more about his past dating experiences than her.

  • The "One Short Day" number from Wicked could arguably be this.

    Web Comics 
  • In Questionable Content, Hilarity Ensues when Hanners's mom stops by and has no idea how to relate to her daughter. Faye suggests they do this, and Hanners's mom agrees. This leads to Hanners's mom forcing her hyper-neurotic daughter to try on some clothes, which very quickly leads to them getting kicked out of the mall. Instead, they fulfill the usual bonding aspect of this trope by going to a bar and getting incredibly drunk.
  • This Girl Genius has Agatha and Zeetha doing a shopping montage for armor.
  • In Savestate, Kade and Nicole go to a mall, with Kade hoping to buy a PS4, which turns up out of stock. They eventually end up in a fragrance store where Kade is knocked unconscious by overwhelming scents.
    Kade: If you had a boyfriend you wouldn't have to drag me into places like this.

    Western Animation 
  • Such a montage is also featured in an episode of The Proud Family, when Penny gets a credit card and promptly burns it out shopping with her friends.
  • The Boondocks when Robert takes his new girlfriend Cristal shopping all while Kanye West's "Gold Digger" plays throughout.
  • Hilariously parodied several times in a Clone High episode, including one sequence in which Joan of Arc and Cleopatra purchase prom dresses and lingerie, then buy some Uzis and rob a bank.
  • Done in Batman: The Animated Series with Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, and Bruce Wayne carrying the bags. He's under the effects of Ivy's mind-control pollen.
  • King of the Hill when Luanne's mother is using Bill to buy what she wants. Sales receipts display on the screen showing how much Bill spent. The montage also show problems with Hank and Luanne.
  • It happens in an episode of Rocko's Modern Life when Rocko goes overboard with his credit card, and buys more than he could possibly afford.


Ratty and Moley at Tesco

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