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Villains Out Shopping

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"I find your lack of beef jerky disturbing."

When a felon's not engaged in his employment,
Or maturing his felonious little plans,
His capacity for innocent enjoyment
Is quite as great as any honest man's.
The Pirates of Penzance, "When a Felon's Not Engaged in His Employment" note 

The heroes are on the ropes, the Evil Overlord has been awakened from his ancient slumber and his kung fu is stronger than theirs. While the heroes are licking their wounds, they wonder what unspeakable evil he's plotting, and the camera makes a cut to...(Dramatic Pause!)...the villain trying out some jeans and T-shirts at Hot Topic.

Similar to a Gilligan Cut with a villain as the Gilligan, Villains Out Shopping is a humorous cut to the villain doing or enjoying a perfectly mundane hobby unrelated to torture or being evil in general, sometimes in an absurdly dramatic or menacing manner for extra funny. Occasionally, the hero will join in and go Go-Karting with Bowser, and they generally won't attack villains during such activities, if only due to the market being a Truce Zone.

A similar situation is one where the hero has mistakenly concluded that one of the usual villains has committed a crime, when really, it was a different one. The hero will knock down the villain's door to discover... them trying on leather pants. Like we said, a crime.

Generally used to humanize the villain, who, more often than not, is Affably Evil and/or a Punch-Clock Villain; as such, do not expect the Complete Monster to engage in this, except perhaps to subvert it (however, even they can do this without subverting it, since they can also have harmless interests and know how to blend in).

If someone makes the argument that the villain's actions prove shopping is evil, they're committing the Hitler Ate Sugar fallacy.

See also Welcome to Evil Mart, which is an establishment that caters specifically to villains who have off-time. Kingpin in His Gym and Mob-Boss Suit Fitting are subversions, as the villains may initially seem to be enjoying some downtime but are actually training for/planning further villainy. Not Me This Time may occur if the heroes attack the villain because they didn't anticipate a shopping trip. A fanfic about the shopping trip is a Curtain Fic.

Note that this is an Omnipresent Trope for many Villain Protagonists, especially in interactive media where they are given options to shop around.

For the heroic version, see Heroes Gone Fishing. See also Villains Love Entertainment, which overlaps significantly with this trope.

Example Subpages:

Other Examples:

    open/close all folders 


  • Eddie Izzard
    • The most famous routine in her stand-up show Circle features Darth Vader vainly attempting to get served with some lunch in the Death Star's canteen. Watch it here.
    • Definite Article gives us a queue of murderers all trying to shop at a late-night petrol station.

    Films — Animated 
  • The Batman vs. Dracula: In the opening scene, Penguin is initially too focused on a bingo game to pay attention to another criminal offering to cut a deal with him.
  • Beauty and the Beast has Gaston who does lots of things when he's not plotting evil such as decorating his place with antlers, taking part in spitting contests, drinking beer with his buddies, and trying to play chess. And no one does any of those things like he does!
  • Cinderella had Lady Tremaine giving Drizella and Anastasia a music lesson.
  • 101 Dalmatians has Cruella de Vil, who likes shopping and visiting old schoolmates (i.e., Anita Radcliffe).
  • The Prince of Egypt: After Rameses refuses to release the Hebrews, Moses finds him at the Nile and confronts him. Not only is Rameses just lounging in his boat, but the palace priests Hotep and Huy seem to be entertaining his son with magic tricks.
  • Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure: The scene where King Koo Koo contacts his minion Gazooks starts out as a surprisingly casual phone call, complete with Koo Koo having trouble working the phone, and Gazooks saying he was hoping Koo Koo would call.
  • Scooby-Doo! and the Reluctant Werewolf:
    • Zigzagged. The whole plot happens because all of the sinister monsters want to participate in an annual road rally and need a werewolf, but they shamelessly cheat and conspire to make Shaggy a monster against his will.
    • One scene shows the monsters having a pre-race party and happily dancing.
  • In The Super Mario Bros. Movie, after acquiring the Super Star, Bowser and his army throw a victory party full of Rotten Rock & Roll but otherwise fairly normal festivities, aside from the occasional friendly(?) nibble.
  • Toy Story 2: Implied. After Buzz's Rousing Speech to the other toys, it cuts to Al's apartment, where he's asleep on the sofa, and a bowl of cheese puffs in his arm falls to the floor as his arm goes limp.

  • In "The Purple People Eater" by Sheb Wooley, the Purple People Eater explains that although he does like to eat people, his real reason for coming to Earth is to get a job in a rock-and-roll band. There aren't that many purple people around to eat anyway.
  • The first verse of Eminem's "3 a.m." is about a drug-addicted serial killer stalking and murdering a bunch of civilians. In the second verse we end up back in his house where he hangs around watching TV and masturbating.


  • Episode 216 of Mission to Zyxx includes a visit to a strip mall, where the future evil Emperor is picking up a Blue Julius.

  • In Shel Silverstein's poem "Monsters I've Met", the narrator encounters various monsters— a vampire, a ghost, and a devil— none of whom mean him any harm, and only want his help with various everyday tasks.

    Pro Wrestling 

  • A Sherlock Holmes radio drama about Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee had Professor Moriarty detailing to Holmes his exact plans for the day:
    Moriarty: "At four PM, I shall return home for a nap and an early dinner... ...At seven, I shall go the gala at Buckingham Palace and blow the place to kingdom come!''

  • In Survival of the Fittest, Danya, when not kidnapping hundreds of high school students at a time and forcing them to fight to the death, is shown to enjoy spending quality time with his loving wife and adorable eight-year-old daughter.

    Tabletop Games 

  • A Very Potter Musical has Voldemort arguing with Quirrell about laundry in his first scene. Later in the show, they go out and get drunk, talk about watching She's All That, and rollerskate.
    Newsreader: Voldemort blogs about [his return to power] on his new FlooTube channel.
    Voldemort: I'M GONNA FIND HARRY POTTER AND I'M GONNA [bleep] IN HIS [bleep]!
    Newsreader: Also does a review of 17 Again (2009).
    Voldemort: Well, it was a little slow at the beginning, but come on: Zac Efron! Zefron! 'Nuff said.
  • The Pirates of Penzance: Discussed in "When A Felon's Not Engaged In His Employment". The police sergeant who sings it is deeply upset by the fact that when criminals are not actively committing crimes, they are regular people. It currently provides the page quote.

    Web Animation 
  • Homestar Runner:
    • The cartoon Cheat Commandos: Shopping For Danger! revolves around this premise. The villainous Blue Lasers are at the supermarket, picking up their groceries, which the Commandos assume must be part of some sort of plan to "make it snow at the beach". It turns out that they're half-right; the Blue Laser Commander was convinced that the mildewy grout in his shower was the reason his organization couldn't crush the Cheat Commandos.
    • Pretty much the idea for Strong Bad Email; when he isn't antagonizing Homestar, Strong Bad answers emails from his fans. Heck, Strong Bad in general is pretty much the epitome of this trope, if you still consider him a villain. He's been seen shopping at Bubs's Concession Stand, regularly invites the other characters over to his house, goes fishing and a whole bunch of non-evil, non-villainous things.
  • Legendary Frog's cartoon "The Return of Ganondorf" has Ganondorf come back after being defeated by Link, claiming to have reformed. Link doesn't believe him though, so he keeps trying to spy on Ganondorf to catch him being evil, but only succeeds in seeing him playing Saria's Song, getting a drawing from him after sneaking into his room, and watching him at Zelda's slumber party as everyone does the Chicken Dance.
    • The drawing he made for Link (I'm sorry I made you sad) doubles as a Funny Moment.
    • Also from Legendary Frog, in the "One Ring to Rule Them All" series, Sauron, the Dark Lord of Mordor, enjoys eating pizza, making shrink-e-dinks, and cooking.
  • The Gag Dub series The Skeletor Show reveals what the villains from He-Man do in their off-hours. (Going on blind dates, yammering on about skincare products, singing to themselves, etc.)
  • How It Should Have Ended: This is the entire point of the Villain Pub. A place where movie most iconic villains hang out, swap war stories and invent new ways to torture the heroes.
  • The video Jason & Friends, by Ian "Worthikids" Worthington, has Jason Voorhees along with a few other notable horror antagonists (including Freddy Krueger, Sadako Yamamura, and Bobby Barrows) casually shopping at a convenience store.

    Web Original 
  • SCP Foundation:
    • SCP-1295 features the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Due to a screwup on the part of War, who mistook the detonation of an atomic bomb as the beginning of Armageddon the four old men are stranded on Earth. In the present day, they spend their days patronizing a diner and only manifest dangerous powers if anything or anyone tries to keep them away from it. The four enjoy the diner's food, coffee, and atmosphere while counting down the days until the world truly ends.
    • SCP-100 ("Jamaican Joe's Junkyard Jubilee") is a scrapyard and storefront in South Carolina. It is staffed and run by SCP-100-1, a humanoid made out of metallic objects. The store sells Mechanical Lifeforms that always break down as soon as they leave the premises. Outside work hours, SCP-100-1 spends its leisure time like a normal human being, and even treats the property's guardian robots like pets.
  • Whateley Universe: Has happened a number of times, most notably in "Saks and Violence" (in which Jadis and co. run into Dr Venus at a clothing boutique, who decided that it was an ideal chance grab the lot of them for her experiments) and "The Book of Darwin, Part 2" (where Dr. Diabolik was in Darwin looking for Christmas gifts for Jadis and Mal when Professor Reaper's attack occurred).

    Web Videos 
  • Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog is this trope like red is a color. When he isn't building freeze rays (Stops time. Tell your friends.), Billy (AKA the titular Doctor) is doing laundry, checking mail, and trying to work up the courage to confess his feelings toward an ordinary girl named Penny.
  • I'm a Marvel... And I'm a DC:
    • The Luthor/Green Goblin debates in the pastiches on YouTube.
    • Later installments of the series feature Villains and Heroes Out Shopping (or drinking, anyway), as they focus on both sides relaxing, unwinding, and shooting the breeze at their local drinking holes. In typical fashion, the hero bar is a rather calm, sedate place where water costs $4.99 because most superheroes don't drink booze (except, notably, Iron Man), whereas the villain's hangout is generally a bit more raucous.
    • Taken even further by the "Goblin Bloggin'" segments by the same author, in which Green Goblin hosts a YouTube vid-blog, and generally furthers the impression, gained over the previous 'Marvel / DC' installments, of being quite an Affably Evil Anti-Villain with a deluded crush on Harley Quinn in this universe (albeit one with a psychopathic hair-trigger temper, an almighty grudge against Tony Stark, and a slightly uncomfortable obsession with Willem Dafoe).
  • Many parodies of the Hitler Rants phenomenon show some of the most infamous people in history, namely Adolf Hitler and several other Nazis, doing mundane things, like cooking, playing videogames and literally shopping. Most of the time, these things utterly fail due to the machinations of Hitler's arch-enemy Hermann Fegelein or because Hitler himself messes up because of his lack of patience.
  • This delightful gem from Kajet begins with Castlevania Big Bad Dracula enjoying some delicious pot roast... when he is informed of a Belmont in the castle (PFFFT). (Caution, lots of cursing)
  • The Spoony Experiment features a Mad Scientist villain named Dr. Insano, who plots to take over the world ''with science''. Despite claiming to have killed thousands with his army of robotic suicide squirrels, and winning the 2008 presidential election, what we mostly see him doing is sitting around Spoony's house, helping with reviews (and occasionally doing his own), and fixing an Atari Jaguar CD.
  • For most of Vaguely Recalling JoJo, DIO is out having a vacation with Giorno, and frequently runs into Jotaro and the others, as a result.
  • In The Dark Id's LP of Xenogears, one cutaway to the Gazel Ministry shows them all goofing off and playing Deus Ex: Human Revolution.


Video Example(s):


Koopa Rock!

After stealing the Super Star from the Snow Kingdom, the Koopa Troop celebrate with a rock concert party rave and the Koopa Rock Band playing Fury Bowser's theme from Bowser's Fury, the sidegame from the Super Mario 3D World Switch rerelease.

How well does it match the trope?

4.69 (13 votes)

Example of:

Main / VillainsOutShopping

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