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"Spatula City! We Sell Spatulas... And That's All!"
UHF

A Severely Specialized Store is a retail outlet that only deals with an incredibly narrow product range, typically one or two items of a very specific type. As this trope is almost always invoked due to Rule of Funny, the store's products will be exactly what the protagonists need in their moment of crisis. How such a business manages to stay in operation, or why the heroes can't just go to a general-purpose merchant, is never raised.

Also see Crippling Overspecialization, The Magazine Rule. Contrast We Sell Everything.


Examples:


Film

  • UHF features a commercial for "Spatula City".
  • Freaked has the massive conglomerate Everything Except Shoes. The Big Bad eventually mutates the CEO into a massive tennis shoe just to screw with him.

Literature

  • This is a recurring joke in some of Robert Munsch's children's books. "Zoom!" starts with the protagonists visiting a wheelchair store (an obvious Expy of a car dealership), while "Smelly Socks" includes a trip to the city's socks store, which is so large it can be seen from the river.
  • Captain Underpants: Inverted in Captain Underpants and the Wrath of the Wicked Wedgie Woman: To help Captain Underpants regain his powers, George and Harold need to get some fabric softener to counteract the spray starch that took them away. They run to a new store that opened nearby, which turns out to be "Everything BUT Fabric Softener."
  • Mr. Ollivander of Harry Potter sells wands. Just -- wands. Justified as each wand must fit its owner, much like a shoe or clothing store.
  • The Discworld novel Going Postal has Dave's Pin Exchange, which sells only pins (pin collecting serving as a parody of stamp collecting), with the owner being very adamant that he doesn't sell nails.
  • Douglas Adams' non-fiction book Last Chance To See recounts his befuddled trip through several of these.

Live Action TV

Video Games

  • A common staple of roleplaying games where a store sells magic spells or gear so ridiculously powerful that only a very rich legendary hero could buy or use them.
  • In The Legend of Zelda series, stores that sell more than three or four items are a rarity (and most stores have at least one exclusive item). Parodied on Cracked with a photomanipulation of a Real Life storefront: "I Sell Three Things (And That's It)". Ads for Products That Must Exist in Video Games

Web Comics

  • This is a recurring gag in Axe Cop. Need an awesome ramp to drive to the moon? Go to the awesome ramp store. Unicorn horn? Can be found at the unicorn horn store.

Western Animation

 Spike: But the store is called Quills and Sofas! You only sell two things!

Shopkeeper: Sorry, Junior. All outta quills until Monday. (beat) Need a sofa?

  • In Jimmy Neutron, Retroville has stores like Cheese World, Mime World, and Rug World. Rug World actually had something Jimmy needed to defeat the evil pants.
  • This was a common gag on Tom Goes to the Mayor. Tom opened a store called "Big Cups", which only sold big cups. There was also a store that just sold bear traps.
  • Ned Flanders of The Simpsons opened up and maintained a "Leftorium" store for left-handed products for left-handed people. It was initially a bust, until Homer Simpson started feeling bad and scrounged up as many left-handed customers as he could.
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