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Undisclosed Funds

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Ted: How much a year do you spend on suits?
Future Ted: (narrating) Kids, I won't bother you with the number, but it was a crapload.
Barney: (present) Around one crapload.
Ted: That much? Aren't you concerned about your future?
Barney: Nope. Especially since Robin is massively wealthy.
Robin: Barney!
Ted: What? You're rich? Like how rich?
Robin: It's my family's money, not mine, I don't really know how much—
Ted: How much is her family worth?
Barney: Six thousand craploads. Canadian craploads.
Ted: That much?

Large sums of money tend not to be specified on TV. They are written down on pieces of paper, whispered in people's ears, etc. Commonly involves characters blatantly stating "That's a lot of money!" or making a statement about a large number of zeros, though other variations exist.

There are a few reasons to do this:

Silent Offers are frequently measured in Undisclosed Funds.

A common variant is when a character inquires about the price of an expensive luxury item, only to be met with the response, "If you have to ask, you can't afford it."

Sub-trope to Take Our Word for It. Compare Silent Offer, Zillion-Dollar Bill, Fiction 500. Contrast On the Money.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • An episode of Naruto where, upon finding Jiraiya's checkbook, Naruto opens it and exclaims "Woah! That's a lot of zeros!" Apparently, writing erotic novels can pay pretty well...
    • Word of God says that Tsunade's gambling debts are around that high.
    • Averted after the timeskip, when it is stated that Chiriku has a bounty of 30 million ryo on his head, and it is stated that one ryo is ten yen, and ten ryo is approximately one dollar, and databooks specify the rewards for missions.
  • At one point in D.Gray-Man, characters are discussing the amount of damage caused by "Phantom Thief G." When someone holds up a piece of paper with the number on it, it's pixellated out. Of course, what with Komui's reaction, this is probably more to do with the Rule of Funny than anything else.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist has Ed give Sheska his pocket watch and a figure to take from his research budget for recreating a book for him. Cue stunned "That's a lot of money!", with a stunned Maria Ross standing by for emphasis. "Who is this kid?!" indeed.
  • Asteroid in Love has an unusual example in that the undisclosed amount is implied to be very low. When Mira and Ao take a look at the budget for the merged Earth Science and Astronomy club, they're quite disappointed to see the amount, but never specify how much it is.
  • Whenever money is brought up in Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans, one character brings up a number on a tablet and shows it to some others. The audience never actually sees the number, only the other party's reaction in regards to how large/small it is.
  • In Accel World, points, which are gained by fighting players or defeating Enemies, and lost by dying, can be used as money or experience(since players can choose when to level up). When Centaurea Sentry shows Silver Crow her in-world house, Silver Crow asks how many points it costs, but Sentry declines to tell him, lest he be shocked at how much.
  • Downplayed by Splatoon: Squid Kids Comedy Show when Hit plans to stream online. He goes to the shop to buy a camcorder, only to find out how expensive it is. 17 digits can be seen of the price before the rest of the number goes off the page.

    Comic Books 
  • Mega Man (Archie Comics): Dr. Light apparently got a very healthy sum to design combat robots for the military after Blues' demonstration. It was this money and what he made selling Sniper Joes to the army that helped to fund Light Labs in the first place.
  • PS238: The Revenant believes that cash is the greatest superpower of all, so he tends to use this trope a lot.
    Revenant: And this is a cash card. Use it only for necessities.
    Flea: I love this. How much money is on it?
    Revenant: Enough.
    Flea: Do you mean "family vacation" enough or "Hannah Montana" enough?
  • Disney Ducks Comic Universe: The exact mount of Scrooge's McDuck's fortune is never specified (among other things, it keeps increasing), so the writers went the Eleventy Zillion route of just making up numbers for it.

  • Near the end of Earth and Sky, a wealthy dragoness offers to invest in Twilight and Rarity's flying machine company. We don't learn how much she plans to invest, but the sum is impressive enough to make Rarity foam at the mouth and pass out when she hears how much.
  • The exact amount of money Ash has on his account in Pokémon Reset Bloodlines is not defined other than by Ash's surprise he has as much as he does, though this might also be because the money is not handled by him and thus the sources of it are something he isn't aware of. The closest estimates we get are when he goes on a shopping spree with the girls, and still has a lot of money afterwards.
  • Earth's Alien History: When Girani Ziyal is recruited to design parts of Concourse — the dead planet being hollowed out and converted into a ship to serve as the Shield Alliance's new mobile headquarters — to be habitable for Bajorans, she asks to know what her budget is. We're not shown what it is, but when she sees it she almost faints from shock.
  • In A Cell of a Good Time, Imperfect Cell (or rather, a normal person in his body) allows STAR Labs to run some tests on him in exchange for money and once they get a preliminary read on his unique biology, he's given a check with an unknown amount that he compares to a phone number.
  • After their business takes off in The Art of the Deal, Naruto hands Anko a check with enough zeroes that she compares it to "several S Rank missions with hazard pay", telling her that it's her half of the profits. Then he tells her his plan to expand their business.
  • In the Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony doujin, "Long, Long Distance," Tenko goes clothes shopping with Himiko. Tenko offers to pay, but ends up being horrified when Himiko shows her the price tag, and decides that she'll put her master into debt if that's what it takes to buy the clothes.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In the 1954 film White Christmas, Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby) gets the estimate on how much the Christmas show is going to cost over the phone. His reaction: "Wow!", which leads to an exchange with Phil Davis (Danny Kaye):
    Phil: How much is "wow"?
    Bob: Right up there between uh, "ouch" and "boing".
    Phil: Wow!
  • The stake at the beginning of the 1997 film The Spanish Prisoner is not shown to the audience, but is presumably an impressive sum.
  • In The Game (1997), the bill for the eponymous game is left unrevealed, yet it is apparently enough to leave two millionaire brothers quite surprised.
  • Used at the end of the movie Small Soldiers. The father of the family nearly killed by dangerous action figures yells at the CEO of the company that made them, saying something like "Not even you have enough money to make up for this." His secretary then, silently, prints out a check. The father reads it, and then says something like "OK... I guess you do..." The audience never sees just how much the check was for.
  • In Clean Slate, the Dana Carvey character is given a check as a bribe not to testify against a local crime boss. We don't see the amount, just Carvey's reaction and his question "is that a comma?"
  • Flubber uses the "I've never seen that many zeros!" variety when Robin Williams sells the flying car to a car company.
  • Played straight in Moneyball, when Billy Beane is given an unspecified offer to become GM of the Red Sox... until the epilogue ten minutes later, which tells us the exact amount: 12.5 million. Probably done for dramatic effect more than anything else.
  • In Scarface (1983), crooked cop Mel Bernstein corners Tony at a club and tries to force him to set up a regular bribe payment. He writes the amount on a napkin and shows it to Tony who just comments "Big number." The novelization specifies it as being $25,000.
  • A Fairly Odd Summer: Mr. Turner's boss tasks him with hiring dancers for the company's luau and gives him a check to pay the dancers. The check has "a lotta money" written on the space reserved for the check's value.
  • In The Departed, when Billy is hired for the undercover job, Da Chief Queenan writes a sum on a piece of paper and hands it to him. We never get to see how much he was offered, but we can assume these are the $30,000 "insurance money" Billy later claims to have received for his mother's death.
  • A running gag in Entourage is exactly how much Turtle has made from the IPO of his tequila company with Mark Cuban. Johnny admits Turtle hasn't directly told even his closest friends and family, but it's enough to have a beach-side mansion all the characters live in, and be able to put up $8 million dollars to help Vincent's latest film as a personal loan.
  • In Miracle on 34th Street (1947), Mr. Macy gives Kris Kringle a bonus for his work in increasing company goodwill. The amount isn't shown, but Kris does a Double Take and says, "Ooh, that's quite a lot of money!" Macy's rival Gimbel observes, "I didn't think you were that generous!" In a slight subversion, though, the check is not quite enough to pay for the gift Kris plans to buy with it, giving Gimbel the opportunity to offer him a generous discount of his own.
    • According to this site, in 1947 the x-ray machine would cost $2,500, which converts to about $30,000 today.
  • In Big Hero 6, a tech company executive offers to buy the Teen Genius protagonist's invention for "more money than any 14-year-old can imagine".
  • Forrest Gump's shrimping business was already pretty successful, but it shoots to this after Lt. Dan invests in "some kind of fruit company" - to put it in perspective, Bubba's mother is shown receiving the share originally intended for her son, and it's enough for her to faint in shock before moving into a much nicer residence, complete with her own private cook.
  • In The Car: Road to Revenge, Rainer and Daria visit an information broker and are haggling over the price. Getting sick of this of this, Daria scribbles something down on a card, says this is their final offer and hands it to the broker. The broker glances at the card and immediately agrees.
  • A variation in A Matter of Life and Death about much more than money. When the heavenly court rules that the defendant may continue living, the Judge takes the form containing the man's scheduled death date, and writes in a new date. He shows it only to the defense counsel ("Very generous, milord") and the prosecutor ("That's a bit much, isn't it?")
  • In Timecop, it is explained to a government oversight committee that the proposed agency to police time travel will cost "a lot". When asked to clarify how much "a lot" is, the man presenting the proposal replies "more than a little and less than too much."

  • In Mostly Harmless Ford Prefect "names a figure" as a tip for the bar singer (strongly implied to be Elvis Presley). The figure causes the barman to faint, but Arthur Dent doesn't react because he doesn't know how much it's worth. Ford says it would buy you "roughly... Switzerland."
  • Older Than Radio: At the end of A Christmas Carol, Scrooge whispers to the two gentlemen from the story's beginning (the ones asking for charitable donations) how much he will give, causing them to react in amazement.

    Those film and theatre adaptations that do name a figure give a value that in those days was roughly equal to the salary of a semi-skilled laborer... for three or four years (For example, Scrooge has Scrooge pledge 100 guineas, or £120. For most of the film, Bob Cratchit was supporting a family of seven on £39 a year).
  • Early in the Anita Blake series, Anita needs to question a prostitute in order to get some information on her case, and she has to buy the time. All we know is that Anita's shocked at the amount (well, and that the prostitute was fully convinced Anita was just using an Unusual Euphemism).
  • In the Quantum Gravity series, money is never mentioned with an explicit number. Whether it is merely called a lot of money or about to be told and then cut off as a curse might be varies. Given that this is a universe where our universe essentially exploded and mixed very thoroughly with five others, and the currency is likely something no reader would recognize anyway, the amounts would be...complex.
  • Harry Potter:
    • The wizarding world uses a Fictional Currency anyway, so the numbers that do come up still fall into this trope because there's no way to account for what they actually mean. The only real reference point for translating relative buying power ever shown is that a weekday newspaper costs 5 Knuts.
    • The title character comes into quite a bit of gold as the heir to the Potter family fortune as well as the Black fortune after Sirius dies, but just how rich he is isn't specified. We're only told that he has "piles" of gold in a very big vault, but apparently those he inherited from never had to work a day in their lives.
    • The price of the top-of-the-line Firebolt is only stated to be "price on request," something that Harry understands to mean "more than I'd be willing to pay for it." Harry speculates that his vaults do in fact contain enough money to buy the thing, if he was insane enough not to leave anything to pay for his schooling.
  • When the eponymous character of The Dresden Files asks what it would cost to hire Professional Killer Kincaid as backup for a raid, the answer is "a sum that made the amount in my savings account look very small indeed".
    • An estimate is later given. "The life savings of an exiled prince of a clan of vampires that own the porn industry. All of it."
  • This is an issue for Robert B. Parker's Spenser novels because of their use of Comic-Book Time. When Spenser first appeared in the early 70s, his daily rate was specified as $100 a day. Later that became $200 a day. Eventually Spenser would seem say, as narrator, things like, "I told the client how much I charged, we argued about it, they complained it was too much, I told them to bite me, and finally they paid me what I had asked for in the first place."
  • In Atlas Shrugged, when Dagny and Quentin discuss compensation for researching Dagny's Lost Technology find, Quentin's cut of potential profits is handled this way, from the mention to Dagny's reaction:
    "That is skinning me alive and it will be worth my while."
    • Given the fact that the discovery will revolutionize transportation and power generation even 1% of the profits would be a fortune.
  • Played with in All the Wrong Questions. The Bombinating Beast statue is described as being worth "upwards of a great deal of money". In fact, amounts of money are never given in the series.
  • During an extended flashback in The Day of the Triffids, a somewhat shady individual is proposing to acquire the seeds of a Soviet-developed cash crop for a British corporation. The CEO of the corporation, idly doodling on a blotter-pad as he discusses the matter over the phone, asks for a specific price. Said shady individual, "named a figure that stopped his doodling abruptly." But since the oil this plant produces is going to take a huge chunk out of their bottom line then they stump up anyway.
  • Orson Scott Card's "The Originist": The amount of money in the Forska fortune is never given a specific number. Leyel's funds are only described in terms of what is cheaper or more expensive, rather than how much it costs to do any of the near-magical things it can do, like the hundreds of undercover bodyguards shadowing him, to grant the illusion that he has none. When this fortune is seized by the government, he describes it as an amputation, leaving him with only the same number of limbs as any normal person.
  • My Year of Rest and Relaxation: The narrator is a rich White Anglo-Saxon Protestant privy to a sizable inheritance. It's never clarified how much, but she has people to manage her estate while she sleeps, her father paid for an Ivy League education with no problem, has a closet full of designer goods she never wears, and she can afford to live in a well-furnished apartment located in the Upper East Side of Manhattan for years after college despite being either unemployed or getting paid a little over $20,000 a year.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Alma Gêmea, characters constantly demand or offer "a good amount" of money and often give each other large amounts of banknotes. Bills, cheques and similar documents also appear frequently. However, the actual numbers are never revealed. Examples include the price of Madalena's dresses, Olívia's bills, the price of the rose planation's lands, and Cristina's absurdly high separation proposal.
  • On The Big Bang Theory, when Sheldon mentions that Raj's parents are rich, the most detail he goes into is that they're "Richie Rich"-rich, which is apparently "halfway between Bruce Wayne and Scrooge McDuck."
  • In the Black Mirror episode "Nosedive", the weekly fee for the Pelican Cove occupancy is shown directly to Lacie and not revealed to the audience, but it's high enough to shock Lacie.
  • Bridgerton: No exact figures are ever cited, but the Bridgerton fortune is large. Anthony easily pays for the living expenses of his seven siblings and mother, his four sisters' dowries, and multiple family properties and bachelor pads. Benedict and Colin don't have to work to support themselves (which was common for second sons of the gentry at the time), while a dowry isn't even on the list of factors Anthony considers on the wife hunt.
  • On Buffy the Vampire Slayer, after a long series of episodes where Buffy is shown needing money, the problem is abruptly solved with some money from Giles. The money is implied to be a large amount, but its value (true to this trope) is never shown.
  • Columbo: In "Lovely, but Lethal", a cosmetics executive writes an offer to industrial spy on the back of a magazine and hands it to him. He laughs at it, so she writes a second offer on the magazine. The magazine later becomes an important clue (it arrived that day, so the figures must have been written not long before he died).
  • Doctor Who: In "The Ghost Monument", the prize money for the victor of the last Relay of the Twelve Galaxies is said to be "3.7 trillion krin". The Doctor, unfamiliar with that currency, asks how much that is, and Angstrom and Epzo list off its equivalent in various other currencies... which the Doctor has also never heard of. They eventually settle on the prize being enough to set someone up for life.
  • No sum is ever given for the cost of hiring (renting?) a doll from the Dollhouse, but it costs at least six figures if not seven. In "Epitaph One", we learn that Rossum is now charging "a nine-figure sum" for a full body transplant.
    • A hundred mil every sixty or so years for true immortality? That's a steal!
  • Subversion: On The Drew Carey Show, Millionaire Mrs. Louder is trying to buy out Drew's house in a land-grab, but Drew doesn't want to sell. Mimi has a solution, but wants to be paid for providing it. Mrs. Louder offers $650, and when questioned on why that specific sum, replies that her corporation has spent millions of dollars scientifically calculating that exact amount as the minimum sum that poor people think is "a lot".
  • In Friday Night Lights' first season, the Street family's lawsuit's settlement is for a number written down on a piece of paper, after a whole scene of debating between two opposing, also never-spoken-aloud amounts.
  • Friends:
    • Inverted in season one when Rachel gets her first paycheck from Central Perk and is visibly disappointed by the amount. Her friends assure her it's perfectly decent amount for a first job before tipping her generously.
    • In another episode, Chandler tries to quit his job over the phone. Judging by Chandler's end of the phone call, his boss offered Chandler bigger and bigger raises until Chandler changed his mind.
    • Chandler, who has been covering both his and Joey's expenses for years, moves in with Monica and warns Joey that he'll have to provide for himself financially from now on. He shows him their monthly bills and Joey is so shocked by how much they pay for electricity that he immediately turns off the lights.
    • After their engagement, Chandler cuts short of telling Monica how much money he has in his bank account, writing it down and showing her instead; in context, this is because he doesn't want to say it in front of Rachel and Phoebe, but Monica shows them the figure anyway. It's described as "the budget of Wedding Scenario A", to give the audience a general idea of how much it must be. Of course, Chandler is skeptical about spending all of his bank savings on the wedding.
    • In season eight Joey becomes mad at Chandler for falling asleep at the premiere of his movie and attempts to pay Chandler back for all the money he's lent him over the years so he won't owe him anything. However, Joey is spooked when he calculates the full amount and quickly tells Chandler he forgives him for falling asleep.
  • In Full House, Jesse looks for an engagement ring with a traveling salesman. He's able to find a genuinely good one, but when the salesman calculates the cost...
    Jesse: Have mercy I hope that's your telephone number.
  • Gilmore Girls sets up its fundamental conflict (independent-minded Lorelai is forced to accept the help of her parents in order to provide for her daughter's elite education):
    Lorelai: [on phone] Yes, I read your letter, and gee, that is an awful lot of zeros after that five...
    • This trope was later toyed with when Lorelai and Sookie are opening their own inn. They have cash flow issues during construction, and Lorelai borrows $30,000 from Luke. While the amount is state aloud, the terms of the loan (interest, schedule, etc) are working out on a napkin so that diner patrons won't overhear.
  • Grey's Anatomy: When the President's commission to map the human brain is trying to recruit Derek. He refuses to turn the paper over, much to their frustration.
  • On Happy Endings the Car Czar is so impressed by Jane's negotiating skills that he offers her a job with proposed salary written on a slip of paper. Jane counters with her own slip of paper which she keeps on her at all times.
  • Subverted in The Honeymooners: a rich old widow who Ralph had befriended dies, and leaves Ralph "my fortune" in her will. Ralph gets excited about the riches coming his way, but it turns out she meant Fortune, her pet parrot.
  • How I Met Your Mother:
    • Lily asks for the price of a wedding dress on a scale of "never" to "never ever". She receives a response of "never ever ever ever ever times infinity". This is then subverted later in the episode when she tells her fiance she accidentally destroyed it. It was worth $8000.
    • A corporate lawyer a tries to get Marshall away from the environmental group he dreamed of working by writing down his starting salary on a napkin.
      Marshall: Okay, here we go. This is the big number that's supposed to impress me... (looks at napkin) Woah, that is a big number.
    • In Season 8, Marshall and Lily are looking for a nanny for Marvin and find one they love. When they ask what her weekly salary is, the answer leaves them sobbing on the couch. In any case, later that episode Barney offers to pay for the nanny.
    • When telling his kids about Barney finally revealing how much money he spends on suits each year, narrator Ted only refers to it as a "crapload". Later in the episode we find out that when Barney became a corporate executive his starting salary was "16 craploads" a year. It is also revealed that Robin's family is very rich and has a net value of "6,000 Canadian craploads".
  • Subverted on Leverage in "The Juror #6 Job" when Sophie writes $100,000,000 in the guy's Zen sand garden.
    • Also subverted on the pilot where the payout is printed on the check as $32,761,349.05.
  • On Life, the amount of money included in Charlie Crews's settlement for his wrongful imprisonment is undisclosed by court order.note 
  • The first season of Luke Cage (2016) has Cottonmouth asking how much he has to pay for the Judas Bullets, one of the only things capable of killing Luke. His associate Shades writes down a ridiculous (and unseen) number on a piece of paper for Cottonmouth to read. It was the price of one Judas Bullet.
  • In Mad About You, Jamie makes a huge bet on a horse race; we only see Paul's reaction when she shows him the betting slips. The horse wins at very long odds, which presumably means the Buchmans won a small fortune, but this fact isn't even brought up.
  • The whole inflation deal is parodied in a Muppets Tonight sketch, in which a character inherits a "fortune" of "eighty-five dollars." (Miss Piggy: "What!? I've got more than that on me!")
  • In NewsRadio, Mr James shows Dave the amount he was offered for the radio station, written on a piece of paper, and we don't see it. Dave thinks it's not excessively generous until Mr James points out he has to unfold the paper.
    • Played with in another episode, when Mr James is trying to convince Dave and Lisa to get together and he writes down something on a piece of paper in order to sweeten the deal.
      Lisa: This paper says 'please'.
      Mr James: I'm willing to say that out loud if that's what it takes.
  • In Night Court, after being informed of a citizenship applicant's net worth, Dan Fielding's stunned comment is: "My Social Security Number isn't that big!" (To non-US tropers, an American SSN is 9 digits long, though it is possible for it to start with one or more zeroes.)
  • In Nip/Tuck, Sean sells his share of the practice for "a lot of money."
  • In one episode of The Office (US), Darryl asks Michael for a raise. Michael has him write down how much he wants on a piece of paper (hidden from the camera) because "that is the way these things are done in films". Darryl laughs when he sees the amount, even though it's equivalent to just a ten percent raise. It turns out that the raise would put his income higher than Michael's, who has never asked for a raise in the fourteen years he's worked at the company. Darryl then spreads the information regarding Michael's income to their colleagues who mock him for his comparatively paltry earnings.
  • In Parks and Recreation, Ron Swanson's hidden cache of precious metals and gems is valuable enough that it shocks an estate attorney, and even 5% of it is still an absurd number.
  • In Person of Interest, it is never stated exactly what Finch is paying Reese to save the Irrelevant Numbers, but according to the second season finale, Reese is able to live quite comfortably in a very expensive apartment on that salary — after giving 90% of it to charity.
  • Rumpole of the Bailey: The amount that Rumpole received from the Bugle (a lawyer-friendly version of the Sun) in "Rumpole and the Bubble Reputation" was sufficiently large that Henry revealed the amount to Rumpole by showing him the file (at which point Rumpole's eyes widened). Averted in part, as we do learn that the refresher for the brief was £500/day (about £1200 in today's money).
  • A similar device is used in one episode of The Sarah Silverman Program, in which the eponymous character is asked by a nurse how many times she has had unprotected sex. Rather than say it out loud, Sarah writes it down on a piece of paper. The nurse seems more confused by the fact that there are two numbers on the piece of paper ("One's for the front") and that they are both identical ("I'm kind of OCD about that") than surprised at the size of the figure, but given the content of the rest of the scene, it can be assumed that the number is very high.
  • In Seinfeld, Jerry buys a suede jacket with an unnamed but astronomical price which he refuses to tell to George. It's at least implied that the jacket costs something north of a thousand dollars.
    • Another example would be in "The Cadillac", where Jerry earns enough money to buy a Cadillac, from a single gig.
  • A sketch on The Sketch Show played with this, which a woman discusses with a repairman his prices using onomatopoeia (whistles for high prices, "eh" for low prices, etc.) At the end of the sketch, the woman asks how much it would be if she helps install it, and he replies, "£50".
  • In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Past Prologue" Lursa and B'etor have asked Garak what the bounty on a Bajoran terrorist would be. Garak types his figure on a PADD, and Lursa calls the amount insulting.
  • In a Will & Grace episode, Karen laments that her husband has put her on a strict budget. When Grace looks at the figures Karen wrote out, she replies that if Spain can live on that amount, so can she.
  • A Wings episode has Joe and Helen meeting with the insurance adjuster after the loss of their house and all its contents in a fire. The meeting goes poorly, to say the least, and ends with the adjuster saying "I'm sorry, but we can't do any better than this", at which point he writes down a figure on a piece of paper and leaves. Joe and Helen look at the paper with trepidation, shrug for a moment, then begin dancing with joy. "We're rich! We're rich!"
    • In a later episode, Joe and Helen are selling the dilapidated house they were trying to build, so they can buy a perfect new house instead. Their only potential buyers are a sweet but gullible young couple, all too eager to pay immediately. When Joe looks at the amount they're ready to offer, he almost collapses.
  • WKRP in Cincinnati: Johnny gets a settlement check for his unlawful termination from his previous DJ gig. The exact amount is never revealed; when Venus is shown the check, he cheerfully comments "Look at all those zeroes!"

  • Midst: It's never specified exactly how much Valor Moc Weepe receives when he creates his account, but it's the single largest payment that the Notary's ever handed out, and the machine runs out of beads halfway through. He's last seen carrying his new abacus back home in a sack. He's so richly rewarded, in fact, that he isn't even happy about the size of the reward: he's terrified.

  • At the end of the Absolute Power (BBC) episode "Big Brother", when Martin gets the firm their Downing Street retainer back:
    Charles: "This is to confirm that Prentice McCabe are retained by the Prime Minister's office to give political and public relations advice as required at a fee of..." Good lord!
    Well, we can afford dinner at the Ritz.
    Martin: My dear Charles, we can afford to buy the Ritz.
  • In the original radio series of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1978), the following exchange takes place in the fourth episode, regarding the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything:
    Frankie Mouse: (addressing Arthur Dent) Your agent has suggested that both you and the Earth girl, as last generation products of the computer matrixare probably in an ideal position to find the question for us and find it quickly. Go out and find it for us and we'll make you a reasonably rich man.
    Zaphod: We're holding out for extremely rich.
    Frankie Mouse: All right, extremely rich. You drive a hard bargain, Beeblebrox.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The World of Darkness has the Resource stat, indicating in vague terms how much wealth (be it in cash, properties, stocks, holdings, etc.) a character has at their disposal, and what kind of lifestyle they can maintain. One dot means they can subsist at working class level, and five dots indicate an obscene amount of dosh. Zero dots, to the dismay of any player who didn't bother with the stat for whatever reason, means the character is flat broke and likely lives as a hobo.
  • Subverted in the Divine Blood RPG. While it uses the same resource stat system as World of Darkness...each point represents 'able to comfortably afford X dollars of stuff.' 0 points is $5, and each level is about 4-5 times that. So, someone with a resource of 4, is comfortably able to burn $1,600.00. Someone with resources of 6...can pay for college without taking out a loan.
  • Rogue Trader has Profit Factor which is an abstraction of the total purchasing power of the Rogue Trader. Acquiring items is done by rolling against the stat (with modifiers based on the item's rarity), success means that the item is purchased while failure means that the Rogue Trader cannot afford the item at this time (or that the item is unavailable in this location).
    • Justified by interplanetary trading being, essentially, barter. Even within the same empire the only craft that can cross the warp are a relative handful owned by the aristocracy or government/military, so civilian economies are necessarily self-contained by planet. Profit factor isn't an abstraction of currency so much as it is an abstraction of the trader's insight, luck, and skill in selecting what to put in his share of the cargo at the last stop.

  • In 42nd Street, Dorothy Brock's list of ridiculous additions to her contract is capped off with "no problem with the salary... I just added another zero."
  • In Mamma Mia!, Harry gives Donna a check, offering to pay for Sophie's wedding. In the stage musical (but not in the film adaptation), when Donna sees the amount, she exclaims, "Holy shit!", then tells Harry, "This would cover four weddings... and a funeral."

    Video Games 
  • Played with in The Curse of Monkey Island: During an attempt to purchase a Plot Coupon, the character who owns it states that "it would cost you an awful lot of money," and then asks if Guybrush has that much money. If the player has already completed an insurance fraud quest (which yields "a lot of money" as the reward), Guybrush will offer "a lot of money," only to be turned down: The diamond cannot be sold for "anything less than an awful lot of money." Fortunately, you do have the option to play the men at poker for the Plot Coupon, and the buy-in is "not very much", which, given that he very distinctly has "a lot of money," Guybrush can amply afford.
  • Daughter for Dessert:
    • We never find out how much Saul offers for the diner on behalf of the liquidation firm.
    • The stolen toaster with a gold-quartz heating element is never given a price.
    • The protagonist pays an undetermined but large amount of money for a room at the hotel where Cecilia stays.
    • Averted with the tip Cecilia gives Amanda. We learn outright that it’s $1,000.
    • Averted with the $250,000 in treatment money for Lainie that gets redirected to starting the diner.
  • In Double Homework, house prices and apartment rents are never specified.
  • Played straight in Mother 2, but averted in EarthBound. During localization, for some reason a couple of vague references meaning roughly "a bajillion dollars" were changed to real numbers (Ness' family's debt to Porky's family is "a hundred thousand dollars or more" and the Diamond "could pay off a million dollar debt easily").
  • The protagonist and title character of Melody can give Amy a brand-name perfume for her birthday. It's stated to be expensive, but it isn't given a price.
  • When Tony and Bam are shown the total bill for the actual storyline events in Tony Hawk's Underground 2, the amount's obscure but they're quite glad to have someone else foot the bill.
  • In Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People, Strong Bad has to pay for his Fun Machine repairs with "one big sack of cash". After kicking off his moneymaking scheme, a battle of the bands (wherein he asks each band playing to enter a "few handfuls of cash"), he's dismayed to learn that his profits only amount to "half a big sack of cash".
  • In the World of Warcraft novel The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysm, it's never specified how much Gazlowe charges to rebuild Orgrimmar aftre the fire, or how much Baine and Stormsong pay him for the supplies to retake Thunder Bluff, but it's suggested that it's a considerable amount of money. This may be to avoid having to scale it with how expensive things are in the game.
    • It's also never specified how much the Stonemasons were supposed to be paid for rebuilding Stormwind. Considering that they rioted over the nonpayment and ultimately formed a terrorist gang called the Defias Brotherhood as a result, it must have been a pretty substantial sum.
  • In the XCOM remake, the shadowy council provides your funding in "credits". Considering you get an achievement for earning 1000 credits in a month of operations and how comparatively little it costs for the Engineering department to, say, build a spacefaring fighter craft from the ground up (with some scrap metal taken from various alien objects), then outfit it with a fusion cannon capable of blowing an alien BATTLESHIP out of the sky with two shots, it can be assumed that "credits" are worth a hellalotta moneynote .
    • There is however a way to translate "credits" to real world money: There are Real Life satellite launches. X-Commander is required to build and place satellites for about 30 or so credits. Given that this pays for the "much better than a communications/GPS" hardware and the cost of sending said hardware into orbit, the ballpark amount of funds for those Heavy Plasmas can probably pay the annual running costs of a small nation...
  • In Star Wars: The Old Republic, quest rewards are never specified in dialogue; this is because you get paid the same number of credits as every other quest at that level. Instead, expect to hear phrases like "rest assured, the Republic/Empire will compensate you well for this". Especially egregious in the case of the Bounty Hunter, who has the repeated line "let's get more specific about my pay". Somehow, the meaning of "specific" manages to elude every quest-giver in the galaxy.
  • In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Justice For All, Maximillion Galactica's salary is never stated, only that it's a lot for a magician.
  • In Batman: Arkham Knight, Deathstroke mentions that the bounty on Batman's head has increased from fifty million USD to "Whoa... I could retire on that...."
  • In Kindred Spirits on the Roof, the math club, which solely consists of Kiri and the club advisor Tsukuyo, has a budget too small for them to do anything ambitious, but does allow them to recruit members.

    Web Animation 
  • Princess Natasha: In "Zoravian Lightning - Part 1", a magazine has a picture of race car driver Ingo Pinto receiving a check worth "lots and lots of money". In Part 2, he receives another check with "lots and lots of money" written on it as his prize for winning a race but it's an aversion because it's stated back in Part 1 the prize is five million dollars.
  • Parodied in the Strong Bad Email "business trip", where Strong Bad and Homestar are sent to meet with a "foreign conglomerate" — the King of Town — to "seal the deal". He tells them "I'm gonna write a number on this piece of paper." Strong Bad takes the paper — "Uh, King? You wrote a piece of lasagna on this piece of paper." "And I ain't budging!" He then demands the "units" he was promised, which Strong Bad had no knowledge of; fortunately, Homestar managed to seal it with two cans of pork and beans (which had been buying in bulk earlier thinking they were going on a camping trip).

  • Both played straight and averted, on separate occasions, in the webcomic Scandal Sheet!. Played straight when Max shows Foster his first paycheque for working at The Comet — Foster's eyes grow large and he says "That's a lot of zeros." However, it's averted later when Foster receives a large amount of money from his former co-worker at the porn studio, who found his script for Thigh-tanic and produced it, with enormous success. The amount is specified to be ten thousand dollars.
  • Schlock Mercenary:
    • The trope is played straight with Lunesby, here. The payment to save Lunesby is issued in a wallet stuffed full of "large, non-sequential credits".
    • The comic usually averts it, but gets the same effect by using real numbers, but in something other than units of currency, like saying something costs a character a year's pay — keeping in mind Tagon makes sure to pay his troops very well.
      'Chelle: This limo costs more than any of us make in a year.
      Mac: Oh, that's not so bad. I figured owning something like this would be light-years out of reach.
      'Chelle: Not owning it. Renting it. For this trip.
    • Sorlie's offer to Murtagh when everything hits the fan in "Delegates and Delegation" is never stated, beyond just being so big that even Murtagh, who in a previous storyline was handed a payment of 100+ times her annual salary and took only a few seconds to process it, is struck dumb.
      Sorlie: The contract is on the handbrain I just gave you.
      Murtagh: This is just a num-brrr...
      Schlock: How come her number has so many more zeroes than mine?
      Sorlie: You got the red scooter and a truck full of chainsaws.
  • The Dragon Doctors never discuss funds in direct amounts, partially because of the fantasy setting. It's hinted that the protagonists are about as rich as you would expect a team of world-class doctors to be.
    • Plus they have the backing from an as-yet-unrevealed donor, who funds them directly for all their interesting cases.
  • In Uniju Holiday Theater, in Uniju's Crappy Christmas Clusterfuck, Super-Yoshi decides to invest in Uniju's Christmas ghost extermination business. How much money? "Lots of money."
    Uniju: Perfect, that's the amount we need.
  • Questionable Content never discusses the specific amount of money any of the characters make. This is typically not brought up, but there are a few instances where specific amounts of money are referenced such as when Dora is going over the books for her coffee shop and when her brother Sven is discussing how much money he has made by writing various country songs. The latter is apparently enough to make him continue writing them even though he thinks they're garbage. When Marigold stumbles into her very profitable (non porn) internet streaming gig, more than once the strip goes out of its way to avoid mentioning specific amounts out loud.
  • When Syndey gets her first biweekly paycheck from Archon in Grrl Power, she takes one look at it and asks if it's for the entire year. The commentary puts this as "You can get ten superheros, or you can get a jet." Extrapolate from that how you will.
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: The expedition's true objective is to illegally salvage Old World books, "forget" to mention it to the people who funded the expedition as a research operation and sell them for a lot of money. The flash-back establishing the monetary value of Old World books involves a book transcriber accidentally knocking an Old World original off his desk, getting yelled at by his boss because of how precious it is, taking the opportunity to ask how much it's worth, and being amazed at the answer. The book transcriber from this flash-back went on to be the expedition's organizer. The story being set in an After the End world in which a small country's currency has become the one used in all the known surviving countries and the standard of living has changed only makes what would qualify as "a lot of money" harder to nail down.

    Western Animation 
  • Cartoon shorts in World War II and The '50s often threw around figures in the low millions when the subject of obscene wealth was mentioned. (Often in a On One Condition story.) This led to the very datedness effect that many of these other examples strive to avoid.
  • In the Disney cartoon series Hercules: The Animated Series, Croesus, the King of Atlantis, writes out checks to buy off several people to stop the "rumor" that Atlantis is doomed to sink beneath the waves — including the Fates and Hades, god of the underworld. This at first offends Hades, till he sees the amount on the check... "You think you can buy off HADES, GOD OF THE UNDERWORLD, with a wuh-wuh-whoa that is a LOT of brimstone...." (The joke being that Croesus was IRL the wealthiest king in Greek history up to his time....hence the phrase "rich as Croesus")
    • And this is Hades he's buying off, the guy who was known in Roman Mythology as Pluto, which means "The Rich One". As God of the Underworld, he's given domain over not just the afterlife but also the all the gold and other minerals that are still in the ground.
  • In Gargoyles, Xanatos tells his father the exact amount that the rare coin that started his fortune was worth... but then goes on to say that his current fortune is "well, considerably more."
  • The Simpsons:
    • In an early episode, Homer sues Burns for hitting Bart while in a car. After Burns destroys Homer's credibility in the eyes of the jury, he offers to settle with Homer. He writes down a number on a piece of paper, and slides it across the table, grinning and saying "I think you'll find this number much more feasible." There's a big zero on the paper.
      Lionel Hutz: I think you should take his offer.
    • In another episode, Homer needs a operation to stop him snoring. Dr. Hibbert gives them a price we never see. We do see Homer's response: "Do it for free."
    • In "101 Mitigations," Homer accidentally destroys Comic Book Guy's first issue of Radioactive Man while taking his car on a joyride and faces the high possibility of a prison sentence. Hoping to settle the matter, Lisa goes online and finds another copy of the same issue available for purchase, to which Homer says, "How much could an old comic cost?" In response, Bart whispers in his ear for a ridiculously long time.
      Homer: Are you done?
      Bart: No. (keeps whispering)
  • In one of the 1970s or 1980s Spider-Man cartoons, an extremely high price was whispered in somebody's ear, twice. Each time, the flabbergasted listener blurted, "... AND SEVENTY-FIVE CENTS?!?"
  • In The Christmas Tree, the mayor pays the orphanage with bags of money. He doesn't state how much the contents of the bags are worth, just that he's giving them two bags.
  • Used in The Cleveland Show, although this case is justified as Cleveland's son inherits a large amount of money from Cleveland's first wife On One Condition - Cleveland is not allowed to know how much. Instead of losing the money as these as they always do in these kinds of scenarios the issue isn't brought up again.
  • Played for Laughs in the King of the Hill episode "Cops & Robert". Dale gets a job at a Hooters knockoff, and he and the waitresses unite in demanding financial compensation from the manager as an apology for the sexual harassment they suffer. Dale hands the manager a piece of paper with the desired amount written on it. Since it's Dale...
    Manager: This just says "money."
    Dale: And we will accept nothing less!
  • Arthur:
    • In the episode "Pick a Car, Any Car", a mechanic at a car repair shop tallies up the total funds it would require to fix the Read family's car, showing Mr. Read the result on a calculator without telling it to the viewers. Mr. Read gasps at the figure and tells the mechanic the family will need to think about it before they make a decision. What makes this scene somewhat Narm-inducing is that directly after Mr. Read reacts to the cost, an Idiosyncratic Wipe happens with the same calculator, and it actually does have a value on it (it zooms by too fast to catch without pausing), and it's the incredibly high cost of... $60.36. And right after that happens, Mr. Read says "We can't afford to fix that car, it'll be more than buying a new one!" Needless to say, it's not exactly likely that was the intended value the viewer was to see. Later that episode, when looking to buy a used car, the dealer also shows them an amount on a calculator, to which Mrs. Read exclaims, "Yikes!"
    • In the episode "D.W. Unties the Knot", D.W. wants to have a fantasy wedding after seeing one on TV, and asks Muffy Crosswire if she can have it at her huge estate. Muffy calculates how much it would cost to rent (minus a 10% friends' discount) and shows it to D.W. and her friend Emily. When Emily says she only has a dollar on her, Muffy will only give them the space inside a small chalk square, though she gets excited upon learning the occasion is a wedding and offers the estate. Not realizing the wedding was for D.W. herself, a 4-year-old, Muffy goes all out and plans the ultimate fantasy wedding with a unicorn theme. Only on the day of the wedding does Muffy realize that D.W. is the bride, who refuses to go through with it once she realizes what it means to get married. Since it's "customary" for the father of the bride to pay for the wedding, Muffy presents Mr. Read with the bill. Even with catering costs deducted, the amount is enough for him to gasp and drop his tray of hors d'ouevres.
  • In the Bob's Burgers episode "Yes Without My Zeke", independent filmmaker Randy tries to rent out the titular restaurant to film one of his projects. Bob is hesitant to do so, as Saturdays are generally the days he gets the most customers, until Randy hands him a check. We don't see the amount, but it's enough to get Bob to immediately close for the day.
  • An episode of The Garfield Show has a toy manufacturer offer Jon a hefty amount of money so he can borrow Garfield's Pooky toy to make a new toy line based on it. Upon seeing the cheque handed to him, Jon faints.
    Garfield: Is a cheuque allowed to have that many zeroes on it?
  • In the Danny Phantom episode "Livin' Large", The Guys in White buy out Fenton Works and get the family to move out. The parents are naturally hesitant given that their home contains their life work, including their portal to the Ghost Zone, but then they're passed the check...
    Jack: Wow. That's a lot of zeroes! It's all yours!
    Maddie: Jack, you can't sell our home! (reads the check) Wow, that is a lot of zeroes! We'll be out by noon tomorrow!

    Real Life 
  • In soccer, clubs sometimes list the transfer fee paid for a player as 'undisclosed'; this usually means 'more than people think he's worth'.
  • Several deals, settlements and contracts do not disclose terms.
    • Often, the contract or deed will specify that A sells property to B for a tiny amount of money, such as $1, as well as "other considerations", which are of course the real reason A and B agreed to the deal. This may be to conceal the precise value of the property (if it's worth a lot, people might ask why or speculatively buy land around it, similar items, etc.), to conceal other favors or considerations taken (B might be giving A other property in return, taking on A's debts, or so forth), or just to elide the complex Chain of Deals that led to that point.
  • A form of bidding used in Japanese fish markets, for top class/dollar fish prized by chefs, has bidders slipping their bid in a small piece of folded paper to a seller. They don't wave numbers in the open or yell or take the time to outbid, because time is so critical that a mere minute of haggling could affect the quality of the fish.
    • A lot of other auctions require that the bidders submit sealed bids. This is because being able to see what other people are bidding both potentially reveals information to other bidders and, at the same time, allows those making the bids to game the system.
  • In September 2014, Jack Kirby’s four children reached a settlement with Marvel Comics and its parent company Disney for backend compensation and control over his creations. The terms have never been disclosed but it’s assumed that the Kirbys were the “winners” as the settlement was reached the last business day before the Supreme Court was supposed to hear the case. Marvel was the one who sued them in the first place so they had nothing to lose. In all likelihood, Disney didn’t want to risk a ruling that could have a ripple throughout the entire entertainment industry.


Video Example(s):


This is... the bill.

The itemized bill for Nicholas' Game is the size of the San Francisco phone book. His brother is only too happy to accept his offer to pay half. To give you an idea how much it was, the movie's budget (in 1997) was $50 mil.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / UndisclosedFunds

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