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Umpteenth Customer

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Spamton G. Spamton, Deltarune

Congratulations! You're the one millionth customer of Honest John's Dealership! Or maybe you're the ten thousandth customer of the Malt Shop! As their hundredth/thousandth/millionth/billionth customer, YOU are the lucky person that forms a milestone of their history— and what better way to show their appreciation than to shower you in confetti, fame, and fortune?

Since fictional characters Never Win the Lottery, the prize will be something that causes more trouble to the characters than its actually worth. This can occur in the form of conflict over the prize, particularly when a group of persons walked into the store in close succession. Alternately, the impromptu celebration may delay the character from going somewhere important, or the undesired publicity might blow his cover when he needs to remain inconspicuous.

This is a Discredited Trope that is never used seriously. How a store could accurately keep count of individual customers' entrances, particularly when they are open to the public and anyone could walk in multiple times, is always ignored. As is the legality of using someone's image for marketing without their consent.

May come with a Year's Supply Prize.


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  • Spoofed in this '70s ad for Volkswagen.
  • Also spoofed in this Ally Bank commercial.

     Anime And Manga 
  • Zig Zagged a bit in the MegaMan NT Warrior manga. There's a scene where Lan is told he's the one millionth customer of a restaurant, so he won a free helicopter ride as a prize. At this point, he and his friend Chaud are on the run from the government because of MegaMan's new powers, which they fear. Once Lan goes up in the helicopter, he reveals that he knows that this whole "millionth customer" was a sham, and that this is an attempt to kidnap him and draw MegaMan out, but he's willing to do it so that he'll see MegaMan again. Immediately turned around, as he really has won the trip and this is a genuine prize, and the pilot has no idea who Lan is.
  • In Pokémon the Series: XY, Ash and Serena have to go to another city to shop for gifts for their Pokémon. On their trip back, Ash becomes the 1 millionth rider on the monorail, and was awarded with a commemorative ribbon. Said ribbon becomes part of Serena's new outfit in the following episode, as a little gift from Ash.
  • In Train to the End of the World, Yōka was chosen to activate the 7G network due to being the 77,777th person to arrive. Exactly what this count represents was not explained.

     Asian Animation 
  • BoBoiBoy: When he's supposed to buy new weapons for Adu Du, Probe sell Adu Du's spaceship (their only base of operation) to Bago Go for an Electric Spatula. Luckily, he turned out to be the tenth buyer of Electric Spatula and thus earned Mukalakus.

  • In a Peanuts Sunday Strip, Charlie Brown goes to the movie theater because it's offering free candy bars to the first 1,500 children in line. He lets Lucy cut ahead of him... and she, naturally, turns out to be #1,500. This strip was based on a real event that happened to Charles M. Schulz.
  • A Running Gag in Archie Comics seems to be that Jughead would always be this whether it's a restaurant or a grocery store. Thanks to Juggie being a Big Eater, chances are those stores would wind up bankrupt at the end of the day. In one story, during which Jughead suffers mishaps due to being in the wrong place at the wrong time, he and Archie enter a department store when erupts in cheers. Jug being the Umpteenth Customer wins a date with a beauty pageant winner, whereas Archie, as the customer after Jughead, wins one of the more expensive goods. Being a He-Man Woman Hater, Jughead isn't happy with this arrangement—and neither is Archie.
  • In a Retail Sunday strip, a store has confetti, balloons and a fanfare for their billionth customer, but...
    Customer: Um... what happens now?
    Sales clerk: That'll be $19.95.
  • This happens to Gladstone Gander all the time as a manifestation of his outrageous luck. Picture the difference between entering a store and entering a store and being the millionth customer who gets an expensive prize, and you'll know what his life is like.

     Fan Fic 

     Films — Live-Action 
  • In Amazon Women on the Moon, a boy who goes to a drug store to buy condoms (discreetly) for his date not only wins a prize... but becomes their spokesman, much to his horror.
  • In How to Marry a Millionaire, a philandering married businessman attempts to drive his would-be paramour into Manhattan, via an out-of-the-way route so that nobody in his social circle will see them. While crossing the George Washington Bridge, the couple are intercepted by a group of motorcycle cops... who led them straight to a waiting crowd of reporters and photographers, ready to publicize them for occupying the five millionth vehicle to cross the bridge.
  • In Larceny Inc, Edward G. Robinson's character gets rid of a customer at the luggage shop he's using as The Convenient Store Next Door by telling him he's the store's millionth customer and can have the bag he wants for free.

  • Inverted in A Song for Arbonne by Guy Gavriel Kay, where every ninth person to enter an inn during the beginning-of-book festival gets thrown in a dunk tank. (Ultimately the joke's on the innkeeper — his regulars filled the dunk tank with his champagne...)
  • The Dandee Diamond Mystery: In this interactive book, if the reader/protagonist gives up on the search for the eponymous Diamond, they'll enter a fast food restaurant, become the millionth customer and receive one million dollars and all hamburgers they can eat.

     Live-Action TV 
  • The Doctor Who episode "Delta and the Bannermen" begins with the TARDIS being the umpteenth vehicle to pass through a hyperspace tollbooth; not only is the toll waived, the Doctor and Mel are awarded free places in an alien tour group going to visit 1950s Earth.
  • In Kamen Rider Decade, Tsukasa ends up getting a choice of wife, a modeling job, a gig as a manager, and more simply for being an umpteenth customer. Turns out it was all a plot to make him love the world and stay.
  • Parodied in a That Mitchell and Webb Look sketch, in which a group of eccentric businessmen wait for the millionth visitor to their website, only to find that he completely ignored all the banner ads and pop-ups telling him this.
  • In Psych, one of the cold opens begin with young Shawn as the one millionth customer of a super market.
  • One Supernatural episode involves a rabbit's foot that grants increasingly good luck until it is lost, at which point it grants increasingly bad luck that ends with death. During the good luck run, Sam wins free meals for life at a restaurant. While eating, he loses the foot to a savvy thief. As Sam's luck turns bad, some people are out to kill him—those who can't find him see the press release of his award and know immediately where he is.
  • Trigger Happy TV:
    • They once set up a "Millionth Customer" extravaganza outside an adult bookstore and surprised one of the unsuspecting chaps leaving the shop. Said customer hauled ass rather quickly after that.
    • Another had them set it up outside a public loo. The woman who emerged had a very hard time keeping a straight face while graciously accepting her award and congratulatory bottle of bubbly.
    • Another sketch had them set before they entered the shop, saying they had 60 seconds to pick all the groceries they could and take them away for free. Of course by the time they came back everybody had left.
  • The Tonight Show: One magician was doing tricks disguised as a supermarket cashier. One of his tricks was to declare someone the millionth customer, then take down a large box with the prize. The box would contain exactly what the customer was purchasing.
  • A Laverne & Shirley episode has Laverne becoming a supermarket's one millionth customer and winning a free shopping spree.
  • A Dennis the Menace episode revolves around Mr. Wilson attempting to become the 50,000th customer at a drugstore to win a shopping spree. Dennis ends up beating him out, naturally.
  • One episode of Newhart had a subplot in which the Inn was one customer away from being a certain-milestone number.
  • In the first part of the Married... with Children two-part episode "You Better Shop Around", the Bundys take refuge in the local Foodies supermarket after their cheap air conditioner shorts out power for the entire neighborhood. After being threatened with eviction by the store's owner for loitering, Al cuts in line in front of Marcy in order to buy a stick of gum, surprisingly making him the store's millionth customer and entitling him to a $1,000 shopping spree. Marcy challenges Al's claim since he cut in line, so the owner declares a contest: both the Bundys and the D'Arcys get the shopping spree, but only the first family to finish with $1,000 in groceries gets to keep it.
  • Kickin' It: Phil tries to fake this contest by having his sister become the millionth customer at his falafel place but Rudy beats her into becoming the umpteenth customer. Because of the attracted publicity, Phil must let Rudy eat for free. When Phil declares he had enough, Rudy decides to boycott Falafel Phil's and eat at Captain Corndogs', where he also becomes the umpteenth customer and ends up going to a hospital for eating too many corn dogs.
  • In the Only Fools and Horses episode "The Longest Night", the Trotters are shopping when they're asked to go to the manager's office. They see a sign saying the millionth customer will get a thousand pounds, and assume that's them. Instead, they're accused of shoplifting. And then held hostage along with the manager and store detective by an armed robber. It eventually transpires that this was all a plot by the manager and detective to take the money, with Del, Rodney and Albert as independent witnesses, but went wrong because the robber's watch (bought from Del) was slow, so he missed the safe's time lock. After everything's been resolved with no harm done as long as the Trotters don't spill the beans, Del suggests to the manager that maybe they will turn out to be the millionth customers after all...
  • In one Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode, Quark declares Major Kira his "One Millionth Customer" as part of a scheme to scan her image for a custom holoprogram without her knowledge. Prizes include free dabo spins, champagne, and an hour in the holosuite (the scan has to be taken there) that she transfers to an ensign whose birthday is coming up.
  • Tales from the Crypt: In "Dead Right", Gold Digger Cathy wins $1,000,000 when she becomes the one millionth customer of the automat chain. Unfortunately for her, this triggers the Prophecy Twist.
  • The Brittas Empire: In "Not A Good Day...", a single mother and her child becomes the one-thousandth customers to visit the leisure centre, which nets them a free meal in the canteen. This proves to be important when it contributes to the nice day that they had at the centre, which they thank Brittas for in the end.
  • The Golden Girls: One episode has Dorothy befriending a man with agoraphobia. She eventually convinces him to leave his apartment and go grocery shopping with her. He's nervous, of course, but does okay until he crosses the store's threshold, where there had apparently been a sensor counting the number of shoppers. Balloons and confetti rain down, lights start flashing, buzzers go off, and a banner reading "10,000th Customer" drops from the ceiling. The manager rushes over to congratulate him and present his prize, but he runs out of the store terrified and holes back up in his apartment, vowing never to leave it again.

  • The "Weird Al" Yankovic song "Hardware Store":
    And they're doing a promotional stunt
    They got a big purple sign out front that says
    Every twenty-seventh customer will get a ball-peen hammer free!

     Video Games 
  • In Simon the Sorcerer 2, a tattooist gives a free tattoo to his 100th customer. Since your character has no money, you need to talk to another character to go first so that you can get the tattoo done free.
  • In The Last Story, following a fortune teller's advice to visit a certain shop on your first day in the city will reveal you to be the owner's 1000th customer, netting you your first equipment upgrade on the house.
  • Happens in a New Quack City level in Fur Fighters. Where the player enters a gun store and is given 60 seconds to run around collecting ammo and new weapons.
  • The vending machines for Marcus Munitions in the Borderlands series occasionally play with this. One of the randomly selected statements, when you buy from one, is, "You're my millionth customer! Don't let it go to your head."
  • Pokémon X and Y: When the player first enters the Cyllage City Bike Shop, they are told that they are the ten thousand and first customer. Apparently, if they were the ten-thousandth, they would have gotten a free bike, although they still only have to answer a short quiz to get one anyway.
  • Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town: This happens at the beginning of a cutscene involving Jack, the oldest child of the family who owns the general store, who reveals the Player Character is the store's 10,000th customer ever if they enter the store while being past a certain point in his Romance Sidequest. It gets subverted when Jack's younger sister Cindy reveals that he's been faking this with various people all week as an excuse to give away snowglobes he hasn't been able to sell. The snowglobe becomes one of the many items that can be set up as a countertop decoration.


     Web Video 
  • This clip shows prank done at a Dutch shopping center where they parade the 10,000's shoplifter.
  • Kitboga is a scambaiter popular on Twitch and YouTube. One of his favorite tactics is to pretend on a call to be a rival scammer named Daniel using his own voice. In "Scammer Wastes Entire Day Expecting My $2,000," a popup has a phone number to call for virus cleaning. Daniel the scammer claims that it's a 1000th customer promotion.

     Western Animation 
  • In one episode of Arthur, Arthur picks up a Sci-Fi Shoot 'Em Up video game from a store simply for being an umpteenth customer. His life promptly goes down the drain as he struggles with addiction to the game.
  • Happens from time to time to Donald Duck's extremely lucky cousin Gladstone. In the DuckTales (2017) episode "The Phantom and the Sorceress", when his luck gets stolen, he's bewildered when he enters a store and it doesn't happen.
  • In "Doug's Lost Weekend", the eponymous character enters what looks like a video game store and looks around, only to discover that he's the one millionth customer and has won a Super Pretendo. Of course, this was the setup for the episode's Aesop.
  • On SpongeBob SquarePants, a customer gets this for giving Mr. Krabs his millionth dollar earned. He gets no prize; he and the others just get thrown out so that Krabs can enjoy the dollar in peace. Krabs does reward his workers, though... with a fishing trip. The guy who gave him the dollar didn't even get his food. Krabs basically stole from him.
  • In the Hop-o'-My-Thumb adaptation from Once Upon a Time (1995), the father keeps trying to abandon his children at a theme park only to be foiled by the youngest finding his way back with a trail of popcorn that he left behind. The third time, a dog eats the trail, leaving the boy wandering the park until he is picked out as the millionth visitor and given a bunch of gifts that causes his father to reclaim him.
  • In The Weekenders, Carver orders from the snack vendor and won some prizes for being being the one millionth customer. Tino asks for napkins and end up being the one million and first customer. He won two passes to their favorite band which leads to the episode's plot deciding who to take to the concert.
  • In The Simpsons, Homer bought the one millionth ice cream cone resulting in him appearing on Kent Brockman's talk show.
  • On Daria, the eponymous character was the 10,000th customer at the Doo Dad Shop, which sells various novelties. She was annoyed by this, because a.) it counted as any sort of attention, and b.) she didn't even want a "Doo Dad," she just got a free coupon.
  • The Fireman Sam episode "Bronwyn's Millionth Customer" is about Bronwyn preparing for this. And then there's a fire.
  • Camp Lazlo: "Lumpus vs. the Volcano" has Lazlo, Raj, Clam, and Slinkman buying a chicken pot pie for Lumpus after Lumpus sacrificed his pie at a volcano. They became the millionth buyer and for their prize, Deputy Doodle Doo has them star in his new commercial.
  • The Rotten Ralph episode "Point of No Return" had Sarah's dad learn that he is the ten thousandth customer of the video rental store. Unfortunately for him, his cash check is quickly taken back by the store owner and he's left with just three cents due to the prize money being used to cover the fine caused by Ralph neglecting to return the tape of Bongo Bob: The Movie.

     Real Life  
  • A great many pop-up/banner ads on the Internet - including, embarrassingly, on tvtropes itself - will say, "Congratulations! You are the one millionth visitor! Click here to claim your prize!" (Protip: don't click these.)


Video Example(s):


"Shop Pink Spree"

Pink Panther is the one millionth customer at a grocery store and wins a free shopping spree. Big Nose, envious because he lost his chance to be the one millionth customer by his own fault, makes up a heavily falsified story where Pink Panther rudely pushed him out of the way to get into the store. No one believes him.

How well does it match the trope?

4.67 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / UmpteenthCustomer

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