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Playing With / Doomed Supermarket Display

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Basic Trope: A precarious stack of wares in a shop is guaranteed to collapse by the end of the scene.

  • Straight: Alice the shelf-stacking wage slave finally puts the last can of beans on the top of the pyramid. Then out of nowhere, Bob appears on a runaway trolley... Offscreen Crash. Cue ambulance.
  • Exaggerated:
    • Shop-o-Mart is having a sale on Priceless Ming Vases!
    • An aerial view of the supermarket shows multiple stacks of goods all over the shop, arranged in such a way as to set up a huge domino effect.
  • Advertisement:
  • Downplayed: Bob only knocks a few cans off the pyramid.
  • Justified: It's a gameshow, and Bob wins the value of whatever he can knock into his trolley.
  • Inverted:
    • Bob careens into an ordinary shelf, and when the dust clears, he's knocked the goods into a perfect pyramid.
    • A human pyramid rides down the aisle.
  • Subverted: The trolley comes to a stop inches from the stack. Alice wipes her brow in relief.
  • Double Subverted: ...Bob says "Ooh, beans!" and takes a can from the bottom row.
  • Parodied: It's a hardware store. The swaying, ceiling-high stack consists of scythes, shears, chainsaws, sledgehammers...
  • Zig Zagged: Alice stacks her cans, and Bob accidentally knocks them down. Alice re-stacks her cans, and again Bob comes along to knock them down. Alice re-stacks her cans again. She sees Bob coming and this time knocks down her own stack of cans. This time, however, Bob comes nowhere near Alice's cans. Alice, seeing as she's spoiled her own work for no reason, throws a hissy-fit.
  • Averted:
    • The display is not knocked over.
    • There is no display.
  • Enforced: The cans are pieces in a grocery-themed puzzle stacking game.
  • Lampshaded: "I just knew this was going to happen. We shouldn't have stacked the cans so precariously."
  • Invoked: The manager has a strict "You break it, you bought it" policy, so makes the trolleys extra-fast and sets out the products as precariously as possible.
  • Exploited: ???
  • Defied: The store opts to keep the cans on the shelves instead of displaying them in a precarious stack.
  • Discussed:
    • "You are not riding the trolley down the aisle. You'll go straight into a stack of jars and I'll have to pay for all of them."
    • "I don't think we should put a display of cans here. It may look nice now, but the next thing you know, some idiot will knock it down."
    • "Oh god, they have one of those stack displays. £50 says it's fallen over by the time we leave the shop."
  • Advertisement:
  • Conversed: "Why do cartoon supermarkets always set out their stuff like that?"
  • Implied: Craig hears an Offscreen Crash on his way to the grocery store. When he enters the building, there are dented cans of beans all over the floor.
  • Deconstructed: A new workplace health and safety officer is horrified at the potential for injury and stock damage.
  • Reconstructed: The supermarket continues to stack goods this way, but with a framework underneath to stop it all collapsing.
  • Played For Laughs: We hear an Offscreen Crash, and Bob emerges with Circling Birdies.
  • Played For Drama: Bob trips and falls into a tall stack of canned goods. They collapse on top of him and give him a serious concussion and a few broken bones, putting him in hospital. He tries to sue the supermarket to pay for his bills.

You want Doomed Supermarket Display? It's in Aisle 3. WAITWATCHOUTFORTHOSE- BANG, CRASH, WALLOP MREEEOW! - Never mind...

Example of: