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"Koreans tend to only have two basic facial expressions. It's either very calm and stoic and serene or GET OUT OF MY STORE!"

Oh, you know the Asian person owns the store. They care about the money in the till. If they did not own the place, you and your gun could just have it. They do, though, so they'll either blow your head off if you try anything, or force you to do the same to them. All while speaking in a ludicrous and hilarious accent.

This trope is directly related to the fact that many grocery stores and corner shops in America, Australia and the UK are owned by East Asians (usually Koreans) and South Asians (Indians and Pakistanis.)

In Westerns, the Grocer will often be Chinese, complete with Opium Pipe.

Can overlap with Asian Rudeness.

Examples of Asian Store Owner include:


Comics

  • While the equivalent Swedish cliché would be the Middle-Eastern shopowner, Per-Albin Singh in Bacon&Ägg and other comics in the same Verse is clearly East Asian. (He changed his first name when he moved to Sweden to fit in better, but didn't want to change his surname.) His shop is always open, 24 hours a day, despite him being the only employee, but he waves questions away with vague mentioning of mysterious Oriental powers. He has an identitical twin-brother who co-owns the shop, but happens to be in the country illegaly. They take turns staffing it.


Film

  • The opening conversation for Pulp Fiction includes a lament about how this trope has made knocking over convenience stores nearly impossible; as Pumpkin explains, the small business owners are all either Jewish or Asian, and either way the business has been in the family for "fifteen fucking generations," so naturally they're going to be rather defensive when some jerk with a gun comes in.
  • In Falling Down, Michael Douglas's character encounters a Korean liquor store owner who gouges his customers and has no sympathy for Douglas's plight. After getting beat up and his store wrecked, the Korean man is shown to be a little more human than his interactions with Douglas would first suggest.
  • A Vietnamese shop owner in The Lady Killers remake turns out to be a brutal former North Vietnamese general who is willing to join the heist and even murder the lady of the title. His stereotypical chain smoking ultimately proves to be his downfall.
  • Used in the movie It Could Happen To You, where Nicolas Cage's cop character realized that a robbery was taking place because one of the normally overly work-obessed Asian store owners wasn't present.
  • The Korean shop owner from Do the Right Thing. He's able to fend off the angry black mob that torches the Italian pizzeria by claiming that he's "black too." This was inspired by a Real Life story mentioned in The Autobiography of Malcolm X. During the Harlem riot of 1935, a convenience store was spared looting and burning when the asian owners hung a sign in the window saying that they were colored too.
    • The irony of the scene, of course, being that the store owner was actually racist and actively refused to serve the neighborhood's denziens, whereas Sal didn't care but became a victim of the Single-Issue Wonk over who he chose to idolize.
    • The store would sell to anyone, their entire customer base is local. They just don't think too highly of them (and don't hide it).
  • The Asian-owned convenience store that's attacked by skinheads in American History X. Apparently, it used to be white-owned, but the owner went out of business and it was bought by Korean immigrants, who staffed it with mostly Hispanic workers for cheaper. This inspires the ire of the skinheads to attack it.
  • The convenience store from Malibus Most Wanted, which "B-rad" (Brad) is forced to rob.
    • It turns out the store gets robbed all the time, so he (and his wife and kid) are prepared and armed to the teeth.

 Brad "B-Rad G" Gluckman: Y'all never been robbed?

Asian store owner: Sure. Last week was 54 time. But they were cool. No gun to head, never scream. You know, good people.

  • In an nontypical example, Tremors takes place in a rural Nevada community with a general store owned by the only Asian around.
  • The paranoid Asian store owners in Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood follow the black protagonists around suspiciously while ignoring the nice-looking white customer who's busy robbing them blind.
    • Which is itself a parody of Menace II Society, which starts with the protagonist and his friend being treated with such suspicion and rudeness by an Asian store owner and his wife that he ends up shooting them both.
  • There are a couple of Asian shop owners in the opening scene of Loaded Weapon 1. They helped in the shoot-out, then verbally abused Luger for it.
  • Fight Club.
  • In Rumble In The Bronx, Jackie Chan's character's uncle starts out as one before selling his store to an Asian woman. Given that it sells Chinese-style conveniences, this makes sense.
  • The Iranian man Farhad in Crash owns a convenience store, and buys a gun for self-defense after it gets robbed in the middle of the night.
  • Both versions of True Grit feature the Chinese Grocer Rooster rents from, smoking an opium pipe.
  • The movie Friday features a Chinese store owner randomly rising from the counter with a grin on his face once Craig and Smokey enter the store. The character is never seen again and qualifies as a Big Lipped Alligator Moment.
    • Noted however that a sign reading "Black Owned" can be seen before we see him, and that he's dressed very urban.
  • An Asian shop keeper in Doom Generation gets his head blown off during a shootout and remains alive for a few days. Yeah, it's an odd movie.


Literature

  • In the Tom Clancy novels, Carol Zimmer, an immigrant from Laos, becomes one of these. After her husband's death, Jack Ryan puts together a small corporation and uses various accounting tricks to purchase Mrs. Zimmer her own convenience store tax-free. He also uses a good part of his personal fortune to start a trust in order to provide for her seven children's college educations, something he promised her husband that he would do after he was killed toward the end of Clear and Present Danger. She's notable for playing straight the usual stereotype in some ways (having slightly broken English and being a typical education obsessed Asian mom, though neither are treated as bad things), but she's also notable for otherwise proving to simply be a good-hearted Happily Adopted Eaglelander who just wants to run a store and provide for her family.
  • Mr Gorriff from Jingo. He's Klatchian, but he fits the the British variation of the archetype, as Klatch parodies India as well as Arabia and Turkey in this story. Indeed Klatch seems to be generic "foreign" as far as Ankh-Morpork is concerned.)
  • In the first Joe Sixsmith novel (a British mystery series), there is a South Asian convenience store owner who is victimized by the chavs in the neighborhood, and his store is eventually burnt down. by him as part of an insurance scam / Framing the Guilty Party toward the chavs.
  • The Chinese store owner in John Steinbeck's Cannery Row.


Live Action TV

  • Mrs. Kim from Gilmore Girls.
  • Navid in Still Game and his Expy Ramesh in Fags Mags And Bags, both played by Sanjeev Kholi.
  • During Season 4 of 24, Jack is pursued by mercenaries in a blacked out L.A. He seeks refuge in a sporting goods store, which turns out to be owned by two Arab men. They wind up helping Jack in the subsequent shootout.
    • This presence was actually included due to criticism by Arab civil rights group about the preponderance of sinister Arabs in Season 4.
  • Like all Asian tropes, parodied in Goodness Gracious Me, when the token white guy on the board of the Indian Broadcasting Company asks why white people can't play shopkeepers.
  • Featured in the American remake of Shameless, but subverted in that the owner of the store is mild-mannered and reluctant to use violence while his American wife is a perfect embodiment of the stereotype.
  • Han "Bryce" Lee the diner owner in Two Broke Girls.
  • In episode "Appointment in Samarra" of Supernatural, Dean gets to be a Grim Reaper for a day. His first assignment brings him in a store owned by an Asian guy, in the middle of a robbery. The robber threatens to kill the owner's son if he doesn't comply, and when he bends to pick up the money the owner takes a gun under the drawer and shoots him. Dean then lets the robber agonize a little before finally 'reaping' him.

 Robber: Why?

Dean: Mostly because you're a dick. Enjoy the ride down, pal. Trust me -- sauna gets hot.

  • The Chinese family that owns the store in Robson Arms.

Music

  • British band Cornershop (led by Tjinder Singh) was named in mockery of the Asian Store Owner stereotype in the UK.

Video Games

  • Police Quest: Open Season had one.
  • Pretty much the only Asian character in Heavy Rain is a shopkeeper whose one scene involves someone trying to rob his store while he firmly refuses to hand over the money.
  • The first Leisure Suit Larry game features a spectacular example at the convenience store.

  Ya we got lubbers!


Webcomics


Western Animation

  • Mr. Bang in Mission Hill.
  • Apu from The Simpsons isn't as aggressive as his east Asian counterparts, but his first wife will always be the Kwik-E-Mart. He's taken multiple bullets for it, to the point that he reminisces about "the sweet kiss of hot lead" fondly.
    • Though Apu generally seems to be willing to cooperate with potential robbers, and it simply appears that they are just fond of shooting him (and he always seems to come out of it well).
    • He's developed very specific opinions concerning the rope he's tied up with, including quality, knots, and materials.
    • Apu once left a small child in charge of the store when he had to be elsewhere. The child quickly pulled a gun larger than himself on some rowdy teenagers.
  • Uncle from Jackie Chan Adventures sometimes has to make use of his Kung Fu skills (or Jackie's) to fend off people in his shop.
  • Tuong Lu Kim from South Park, though he's more of a restaurant owner.
  • Minoriteam features Nonstop, a walking Indian stereotype who is immune to all small arms fire. The name is a pun on "quick stop", or convenience store, and his invulnerability references the fact that they get robbed at gunpoint a lot.


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