No Hero Discount

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
And that's why he says "What're ya buyin?", not "What're ya havin?"

"We gotta pay?! If we lose, you'll die too, buddy!"
"I have faith in your victory."

"Gee, thanks!"
Wakka and Rin, Final Fantasy X

"I have been ordered to assist you in your quest. I've brought potions with me, but, well...
"Well? What?"

"It's a matter of... economics."
Vincent and Jonathan, Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin

So you're the plucky group of young heroes out to defeat the Big Bad and bring peace back to the world. You'd think that means that shopkeepers might give you discounts or even free items — after all, you're protecting them and ensuring they'll still have not only their shops but also their businesses in the future. And, y'know, their lives.

But nope. You still pay full price, same as everybody else.

Even for more localized examples, where you'd think it'd be more personal: You've driven all the local bandits out of the peaceful hamlet and put their mob's leader to the sword, and even the shopkeepers will actively thank you for saving the place, but they still charge you full price.

Happens especially in web-based Flash Games: You may be the chosen one, they may plead with you to save their village/island/country/world from destruction, but unless you rustle up an incredible amount of money (from behind the Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence maybe?), you'll never get the best armor and weapons that you would need to do it with.

See also Adam Smith Hates Your Guts, which is where shop prices steadily rise regardless of how much sense this makes, and Karl Marx Hates Your Guts, where prices stay the same, again, regardless of logic. Also see Dude, Where's My Respect?. This is averted with Hospitality for Heroes.

Examples of No Hero Discount include:

Anime and Manga

  • The Daichis: Earth Defense Family are enlisted to protect the world from danger, and given all sorts of cool weapons to do it with. But they have to pay each time they use them. And the cost of using their weapons is usually much more than the reward. And they weren't warned about this ahead of time.
  • Also happens in most any bounty hunter anime, from Cowboy Bebop to Gunsmith Cats. You break it, you bought it. Used mostly as an excuse to keep the heroes working by remaining in debt for the period of the show. (and sometimes past the ending as well)
  • Thoroughly averted in the final episode of the first season of Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?. When it's obvious that there's no way to avoid a boss fight, the local storekeeper (who in the companion series Sword Oratoria had been established as usually driving a very hard bargain) tells the adventurers "If you break your weapon, just grab another one!"

Comic Books

  • Marvel's Alias featured Jessica Jones complaining that she still had to pay for a pack of cigarettes after saving the shopkeeper from a robbery.

Tabletop Games

  • In Dungeons & Dragons, a Raise Dead spell requires 5,000 gp worth of diamonds as material components (and the more advanced versions charge way more), which are presumably consumed in the process. There is no clear explanation (other than game balance) for why every single divine force in the cosmos demand monetary compensation for this particular spell.

Video Games

  • Lampshaded in Albert Odyssey: Legend of Eldean where the shopkeeper who follows you to the Very Definitely Final Dungeon justifies herself saying that she not only trusts your ability to defeat the bad guy, but if you should fail, the money wouldn't matter anyway.
  • Archimedean Dynasty: Avoided for the very last mission, where the fate of humanity hangs in the balance (but what's new?). Even the most expensive and most powerful cannon is offered for a pittance.
  • Baldur's Gate zig-zags this trope. If you perform enough heroic acts and get your reputation high enough, shop prices start going down (to a maximum of 50% at 20 reputation) as the shopkeepers realize you're probably going to use the ludicrously expensive items for a good purpose (on the opposite side, being evil makes store prices higher). You still sell items for less than a fraction of what they're being sold for, and nobody ever just gives you items no matter your need. This creates a few Fridge Logic moments, such as Drow (evil underground elf) merchants giving you lower prices based on your heroic deeds on the surface, as well as having to buy items from a priest in an elven city you're currently saving from an Evil Sorcerer.
  • Brave Soul averts this with Coolbough and his associates (the hotel owners Innkeepers). They don't let you stay in their inn for free because you're going to save the world at some point, but because the Hero's father saved Coolbough's life.
  • Castlevania series:
    • In Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin, the monk Vincent will sell you various supplies. During a plot event, he is bitten by a vampire and run back in, asking you to heal him. When entering his shop menu, he usually says "I'll make you a deal!", but when he's sick, he literally says "I'll lower the price... I'll lower the price!" However, he doesn't, and after you heal him, your characters ask him if he will lower the price--to which he responds that he's gotta make a living. Bummer.
    • Justified Trope in Castlevania (Nintendo 64) where the shopkeeper is a demon named Renon that you made with, and he couldn't care less about saving the world from vampires. Of course, we all know how well deals like that go...
    • Also justified in Symphony of the Night. The Librarian is actually in the employ of Dracula, and only helps Alucard at all as he's a greedy bastard. And if you use any of the extra characters, he'll refuse to deal with them at all; Alucard is permissible because he's the Master's son, estranged or not, but dealing with the Belmonts would be outright treason.
    • Zigzagged in Lament of Innocence. The alchemist Rinaldo tells you up front that he can't give out his wares for free. Sure, he's helping you to avenge his family who Walter murdered (something he doesn't tell you until later), but this might be justified in that simply making them requires funding. Still, the most valuable item he has - the Whip of Alchemy, which eventually becomes the Vampire Killer - is given to Leon as a gift.
  • Chrono Trigger: You can rescue a falsely imprisoned shop clerk from a dungeon. When you visit the shop later, the clerk will slip you some free potions when the shopkeeper isn't looking.
  • The Command & Conquer series often has opposing forces mining resources on the front lines of battle, with commanders more often than not conducting battle with minimal support from their factions.
  • Dark Cloud averts this - the Wise Owl will sell you a special sword for a discount. It's still pretty high, but as he (along with some other merchants in the game) will tell you, they are still merchants and need to make a living.
  • In Deus Ex, "Smuggler" won't give you explosives unless you pay an absurd amount of money for them, even if you've helped him out before and even though he knows you need them to blow up a super-freighter full of an incurable virus in enough quantity to infect the entire North American continent!. The exception is the first time you're in Hell's Kitchen, where he gives you a discount if you rescue his friend from MJ12.
    • Furthermore, those characters who suggest you ask someone else for needed items and information - and who are fully aware of the importance of you getting them - can't be bothered to so much as loan you the necessary credits.
    • Occasionally, some of your allies will give you items for free. Other characters will offer you a discount on items for sale in exchange for completing a side quest.
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution: Despite your boss spending what must have been an absolute fortune to turn the PC who is the head of security into an augmented super soldier, you still need to pay for your own augmentation upgrades. And weapons. And ammo. And information. Considering you are trying to track down a mercenary group that killed half a dozen scientists, and are planning some kind of conspiracy that would dramatically change the outlook of the company, you really should have a platinum company credit card that makes credits meaningless.
    • There's also a LIMB clinic office on Panchaea, where the shop keeper has barricaded herself against the crazed augs. Despite you coming in to save her, you're still charged full price for medicine, Typhoon ammo, and upgrade kits. Of course, if you actually talk to her she says she wishes she could give you whatever you want, but everything is computer-kiosk based and she doesn't have any way to override it.
    • In The Missing Link, Quinn (the only merchant) defends charging you for goods by reminding Jensen that he's a fugitive in the facility they're both in, so he's taking a tremendous risk doing business with him. However, if you saved a person earlier, he does give you a discount.
  • Diablo II has Tyrael, who charges up to 50,000 gold to resurrect your mercenary companion. He's an angel! What's he going to do with the money? Build ornate churches?

In Act IV, Tyrael will resurrect your Hireling, but he will charge you. What does he do with that gold? Angels got to pay the bills too.

  • In regard to the Merchants of Light accompanying Tyrael, additional information at gives a reason for why they charge you for weapons and armor despite being at Hell's doorstep. Like Tyrael, they are forbidden to help you directly. Selling and buying equipment is a way for them to work around it, because it qualifies as indirect help at best.
  • The first Diablo game averts this trope to a degree, on the fact that nobody is expecting you to succeed. If the merchants gave free goods to every would be hero that tried to save the world, they'd have gone broke long before you showed up. This logic begins to fade after you've gone far past what anybody else has accomplished, and everybody starts believing that you are the real deal, but still charge you full price.
  • Sometimes, merchants will give you a discount as a quest reward. Not that it really matters.
  • Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories: Sort of averted. As your character racks up FELONIES, the shop prices go down and you sell items back at closer to their shop price. Have enough felonies, and you're actually selling items back for more than you paid for them. Of course, that's not really an option until New Game+ unless you spend huge amounts of time Level Grinding.
  • Dragon Age: Some folks will offer a discount... but the prices stay the same. The only time this is averted is with one merchant in Denerim, and then only if you played a certain origin story. Your camp merchant will promise you a discount, but is actually one of the worst merchants in the game! He buys lower than average and sells higher. The worst part? He's right there in your camp, so invariably you'll sell him most of your loot for convenience's sake!
  • Lampshaded in Dungeons & Dragons: Forgotten Realms: Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance II just before the last stage. The titular city is overrun by the undead, only a makeshift barricade stands between the shopkeeper and a horde of zombies, and the city's greatest hope is for you to storm the villain's citadel. If you complain about the shopkeeper still charging you full price, he points out that he's confident in your success, but if he gave away his goods, then he would be out of business after you save the city. Furthermore, you can afford it, so it isn't like he's jeopardizing the city's safety by refusing to just give the items away.
  • Lampshaded and justified in Evil Islands. In one instance your base of operations is a village where you are praised as the Chosen One, but the village merchant is such an infamously stingy bastard he explicitly warns you right away that he will still charge you with all your purchases. Later, all the village money happens to be stolen and he once again clearly refuses to supply the village guards with weapons for free... because they didn't stand for him against brigands.
    • In another instance, you join some rebels and obtain all the gear from their blacksmith. He actually apologizes for his shameless prices, and explains that he has to smuggle the weapons and bribe the officials of the Evil Empire.
    • However, at the very end of the game, it's subverted; the very last 'merchant' you meet before the final battle will give you anything he has in stock and perform all services for free.
  • Exit Fate: It's possible to recruit a few people to your army who then set up shops in your castle. Even though they're working for you, they still charge the same prices as every other shopkeeper in the game.
  • Fallout 3: Being nice to the ghoul bartender gets you a discount on anything he sells, but others are fairly unfriendly towards you, even after you repeatedly save their collective asses.
    • This is lampshaded in the Mothership Zeta DLC, when Somah charges you money to repair your equipment despite the two of you having been kidnapped by aliens and fighting for your lives to escape. Somah points out that even if you both do escape, she's as good as dead anyway if she doesn't have any money to survive on in the Wasteland.
  • The Final Fantasy series is quite fond of this trope.
    • Final Fantasy V sort of subverted this by having the shopkeeper in Bartz's home town give a discount (which is very appreciated when the single revival item in the game costs 1000 gold). But only because it's Bartz's hometown.
    • Final Fantasy VI subverted it at Figaro Castle, where the shopkeepers will refuse to charge Edgar (the king) or Sabin (his brother). However, both characters insist on paying, pointing out that the shopkeepers still have to earn a living. (If Edgar is your party leader, they still give you a 50% discount, though.)
    • Final Fantasy VIII contains one exception. If you return to Timber after you're finished there in the main story, you can save a little girl from getting run over by a train, and it earns you a free night at the inn. Played straight for everything else. How much for a train ticket?
    • Lampshaded in Final Fantasy X: right before the battle with That One Boss (Evrae, which also leads almost directly to a whole gauntlet run of bosses), Rin will still charge you exorbitant prices; when asked why, when you could all die, he replies that he has "confidence in your success". Another shopkeeper, O'aka, actually would give you a discount, but in his case only if you had donated a large sum of money to him when he was struggling to get his business off the ground. Otherwise, he charges almost double what any other shop would.
      • While less related to the economy, random people would give you items if you talked to them, considering you're a summoner and her guardians. It made the stinginess of the shopkeepers more noticeable.
    • Handwaved in Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings, where the only vendor in the game actually works for you, purchasing equipment while you're off adventuring. One NPC in the ship points out he must be losing quite the amount of money, as Tomah sells said equipment at only a fraction of the original price.
    • Averted in Final Fantasy XIII, where all transactions are done via the internet. vendors are not aware of your status as heroes, which is just as well - since the party is characterized as villains for the entirety of the plot; if they knew your identity, they wouldn't want to sell to you at all, never mind a discount. Another aversion is that the Fal'Cie control all technology, and are revealed in the late game to be secretly manipulating you in your quest to destroy them (which they desire), but are prevented in their programming from aiding you directly (e.g. by lowering prices presumably). That said, one late game vendor has a message from the Fal'Cie wishing you luck!
    • Final Fantasy Adventure: Watts distills this trope to its essence. He accompanies you through a dungeon to get some silver he needs. Despite the fact that you're accompanying him on his quest so that he can get what he needs without dying, he still charges you full price for more items in the middle of said dungeon.
      • It gets worse. After you finish the dungeon and Watts gets the silver, he goes back to the Dwarf Cave to forge equipment with it. Does he give you any for free? Of course not - he charges you full price for the sword and armor! You even have to get the silver helmet from a different shop.
  • Fire Emblem can get rather silly about this, and Radiant Dawn is especially bad near the end. All of humanity is frozen in stone by an evil god. The only people still alive are your party, the enemies (brought back to life by the god to stop you) and a group of merchants following you. They STILL don't offer you a discount. The kicker? In a few cutscenes, they outright give you the Infinity+1 Spellbooks they found lying around for free BECAUSE you're the last people alive and you're the only hope for everyone. Not the most consistent of merchants, these guys.
    • It gets even sillier when you realize that they DID give your army a discount for one chapter earlier in the game, before everyone was turned to stone. Why they didn't think to do so again is anyone's guess.
  • Completely averted in Freelancer once you encounter the Order. They give you the best ship in the game at that point for 1100 credits, when other ships are in the hundreds of thousands. Unfortunately, when time comes to trade that ship in to the next best one, you'll notice you can't sell it for a normal ship's price either.
  • In the Harvest Moon series, most of the marriageable bachelors and bachelorettes work in the area's shops, which are usually owned by their families. You won't get any kind of discount from their family's store if you marry one of them, even if your spouse is the one running the store. This may be so that people would marry characters they liked, rather than just marrying the person that gives them the biggest discounts. It makes little sense in-universe, but a lot of sense when you consider the implications of marrying someone for free cake at the bakery.
    • Averted, however, in one of its spin-off series, Rune Factory: You may get free fortune-telling or free bathing from your wife. Not that much, though.
  • Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure somewhat lampshades this. After beating the final boss, Henry ponders the fact that all the money that he paid Cole went to the Humongous Mecha which Cole just tried to use to kill Henry.
  • In Just Cause 2, The Sloth Demon will make you pay a ton of money for anything (except transportation), even after you find out he's Tom Sheldon in disguise. Granted, Panau is a dictatorship and its money is worth less than crap - Rico says himself than putting a bullet in the head of a guy to obtain some info would be more expensive than greasing his palm with a handful of banknotes - but come on, 20 grand for a pistol?
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II have Huey, Dewey and Louie, who don't give a damn that their uncle is buying and saving the world as we know it, as long as he keeps on coughing up the munny.
    • In 358/2 Days, the Organization Moogle admits that you're the only one who will buy his wares. In fact, he follows you when you run away just so he can continue to charge you. Still, he's useful before that final battle...
  • Lands of Lore The Throne of Chaos justifies this, with the player starting with a writ identifying him as on official business for the king, which can be presented for free services. However, the writ is stolen, forcing him to pay for things like everyone else.
  • Averted in Lunar The Silver Star and its remakes, in which your old childhood buddy Ramus actually does recognize that you're about to go save the world and give you unlimited free items from his store just before the final battle.
  • Both Makai Kingdom and Phantom Brave, you can have a merchant job class in your party; the higher level the merchant, the better stuff they sell (and possibly at lower prices).
  • Played with in the Mario & Luigi series: Shopkeepers are willing to give the Brothers a discount if they have good-looking mustaches or, in Bowser's case in Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, if he has good-looking horns. Both serve as analogues to the Charisma stat usually found in RPGs.
  • Mass Effect:
    • Lampshaded in the first game, where you can yell at the requisitions officer of the Normandy (and pretty much anyone else who sells equipment during moments of emergency) for charging you for equipment. Partly justified as well: the requisitions officer is actually obtaining items that are not N7 standard issue out of his own pocket, and je explains that each time ship docks, he sells and buys weapons so that he can get more licenses and more money to improve what he supplies you with.
      • It's also completely justified during one mission; You can berate a shopkeeper about not giving you stuff, but he ALREADY gave a bunch of stuff to the paid security forces that had been protecting him and various others before you arrived, and he has no way of knowing how helpful you'll be anyway.
    • Averted in the sequel. You can get a discount at every shop, either by Charm/Intimidate dialogue or by completing a Sidequest.
  • Metal Gear Solid 4 subverts this slightly - the last act offers a 50% off all of the weapons and in Drebin's shop. However, this isn't directly related to aiding you on your missions; it's only because business is going bad (with the disabling of ID'd guns creating a slump on the 'necessary' war economy) and they need to make sales.
  • In Metro 2033, bartering with 5.57 ammo left over from before the apocalypse is the only means of handling transactions. The ammo is in perfect condition, and packs more punch than the homemade crap you usually find. Therefore, you must choose between supporting the economy and saving your ass in a firefight. There's even an Achievement ("Scrooge") for hoarding 500 Bullets.
  • MMORPGs can take this trope Up to Eleven. Not only do you not get discounts for saving the town/country/world — not even if the shopkeeper himself gives you quests for Twenty Bear Asses — but your fellow players will often charge ridiculously exorbitant prices for rare items and equipment.
    • Averted in Dungeons and Dragons Online: Certain overworld areas have major quest chains, usually given by an important person from that area, or otherwise about something much more important than some random person's problems. When you finish the major quest chain for an area, all shops in that area will give you a small discount.
  • Monster Girl Quest Paradox: Your party can include the leaders of the human nations, and the queens of many races of monsters. Your mission is to prevent the destruction of the entire multiverse. None of this stops you from having to pay full price for goods. Even the shops run by your own party members, who should know how important the mission is, still charge you. There are a couple of exceptions when it comes to inns, though. The Sutherland Inn owner gives you a free night there after you rescue the harpies, and the inn run by your party member charges just 1 gold compared to the 10 charged by most inns.
  • In Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark, you can ask a couple of merchants why you must pay if you are trying to save them all. One says you are "trying" — that is, he can't afford to lose money in case you fail, and if it comes to that he plans to run away. The other is a smith and needs gold for his furnace to burn properly.
    • During the climax of Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir, Volo helpfully comes to your party bearing supplies from the stores... that you have to pay for. He justifies it by saying that the merchants he requisitioned the items from expect to be paid for them.
  • Averted in Oblivion and Morrowind, where completing quests raises reputation, and by extension, disposition of shopkeepers. Doing personal favors will be similarly rewarded.
  • Ocular Ink parodies this, with the hero's travel fees are paid for by the government.
  • Okami. Justified where the very last "shop" in the Ark of Yamato, the place where all the demons and evil spirits have gathered for you to defeat once and for all, you are not really "buying" anything - you are leaving a cash offering for the Celestials, and being rewarded based on however much you leave.
  • The Talan of Outcast believe you're The Messiah, prophecised to save them from tyranny, but this doesn't stop a group of identical merchants (all brothers) from selling your own equipment to you and others (as "sacred objects") in an attempt to prove to their father that they can make enough money to inherit the family business.
  • Paper Mario
    • Absent in the original Paper Mario, where the Toad Houses are free of charge. It is hinted somewhere in the game that it's because they're owned by the Mushroom Kingdom and thus are a public service, as opposed to a private one like in every other RPG.
    • In Super Paper Mario, you have to pay for every single thing including Inns, items, and even fortune telling on which places you're supposed to be. How about the fact that Mario was the legendary hero to save the universe foretold 1000 years ago? You're saving the universe for crying out loud! And of course the things you buy are twice as costly as when you sell them.
      • Bestovius makes reference to this trope, telling Mario that he will not teach him how to flip dimensions for free, and complaining that "heroes always expect everything to be given to them!"
  • This technically goes back to Super Mario Bros. 3, where Toad lets you pick one of three boxes and get whatever item is inside it. Why not just let Mario get the items from all three boxes?
  • Downplayed with Professor E. Gadd in Luigi's Mansion 3, who provides a shop where Luigi can actually spend all the coins he gets in-game. Sure, there's a crisis at hand, with Mario and Peach kidnapped, but Gadd does give Luigi a Gold Bone free the first time he uses it. And seeing as Gadd supplies most of Luigi's other equipment for free, it's hard to complain.
  • In Persona 3, one of the protagonists was the daughter to a multi-national company. God forbid they spare a couple million yen to help save the world. Justified in that the multinational was doing everything in its power to hide that they caused the problems that she's trying to repair in the first place. Why would they do anything that might give away what they're hiding? Even when she takes it over following her father's murder, she still answers to the stockholders and can't pull any resources out of their grip. (Besides, she talks them into giving you a way to buy weapons in the first place - not to mention putting the Robot Girl on your team, something they could theoretically overrule.)
  • Justified in Quest for Glory. Each game takes place in a totally new setting, where your heroism in the previous games is known only to a few people, if any. The second game somewhat averts this trope: the people who you helped in the first game provide you with free room and board at their inn, and the merchants will give you the items you need to subdue the Elementals for free, but only if you ask at the appropriate time.
  • Ratchet and Clank lampshade the trope with this conversation involving a scientist they've rescued from mutant aliens:

Scientist: How about I sell you these, at cost?
Ratchet: 'Sell?' After we just saved your scrawny butt?
Scientist: All right, all right. I'll throw in the employee discount too.

  • Later on in the game you CAN get a discount at using a mind control device.
  • Averted in the third game where, if you have a save file from the original game, you can get the Gadgetron employee discount mentioned in passing at the end of the Gadgetron hoverboard race.
  • In Recettear, this can be averted or played straight at will - you're the merchant, and it's up to you whether or not adventurers get discounts. Tear recommends that you give discounts to the heroes you hire, even if at a loss sometimes, since it will save you from having to equip them when you go dungeon crawling. Think of it as an investment.
  • Red Dead Redemption averts this: a sufficiently famous and heroic John Marston can get up to 50% discount in the shops. However, the shops in the game's Wretched Hive, Thieves' Landing, invert this - they only give a 50% discount if you are deeply criminal.
  • Resident Evil 4 has vendors charge you rather high prices for weapons and other items, even though Los Illuminados are just as much a threat to them as to you (though Fanon and the heat scope show he may be infected, and thus in less danger).
  • Averted in Romancing SaGa 2 where, as a monarch, the player has access to such ungodly sums of money from the country's treasury that they never have to worry about being able to afford equipment from stores. Building new facilities in their kingdom, on the other hand...
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey justifies this. You're on a self-sufficient exploration ship with a fabrication lab; the options aren't "buy" and "sell", but "Manufacture" and "Dispose," and they're just using the resources you picked up (and demon money, "macca") to build stuff. Double-justified, since macca is actually a form of energy used to power the ship's fabricators and healing devices. Since there are a ton of wounded soldiers and soldiers who need better weapons, armor, and revived demons, if they all just extracted what they wanted without ponying up the energy difference in macca, you'd swiftly be out of juice in the heart of an alternate dimension filled with demons.
  • Slime Forest Adventure averts this in an unusual way. You're not a hero, you're a local farmer - you don't actually become a "hero" until after you've Saved the Princess (and even then, you only become a member of the royal guard rather than a famous hero).
  • In Spyro the Dragon, Moneybags is this trope personified. He not only never gives you a discount, he charges you exorbitant amounts not only for items, but sometimes to get places you need to go. Chasing after him in Year of the Dragon is more satisfying than fighting actual bosses.
  • Star Ocean: The Last Hope lampshades it toward the end. The Morphus, an ancient and advanced race of galactic guardians, have recognized you as a group of remarkably powerful heroes, and have made you the spearhead in their strategy to prevent the destruction of the entire universe. However, if you approach their own weapons-vendor, he will curtly inform you that "Despite the impending end of the universe, we unfortunately cannot offer you a discount..."
    • At the same time, it's mildly averted — you actually can get a 10% discount in any store, if you help the owner with a few deliveries...
    • Also Lampshaded in Star Ocean: Second Evolution by an NPC mercenary at the Lacuer Frontline Base, who's planning to steal the equipment he needs to fight the monster army invading the country.
  • Averted in Stonekeep. The only shop in the game is owned by a dwarf who'll charge you full price despite the fact that you're at war with their mortal enemies, the throggs... until you show him some feathers from a throgg shaman's headdress. He then goes on to tell you that his family was murdered by a throgg shaman (possibly the one you killed) and allows you to take whatever you want from his shop for free!
  • The Suikoden games have this as well.
    • Suikoden I: You're the son of a well-respected general and later become the leader of the army. Do you get any discounts? Nope.
    • Suikoden II: You're leading against another nation because of an Ax Crazy Warrior Prince ravaging the land and you are a former child solider of his army. You can employ a glitch in the game that can give you unlimited money. Still no discount, however.
  • Summoner 2, much like Romancing SaGa, the PC is a Queen (and the Chosen One besides), with full access to the Royal Treasury... which, unfortunately, is rather bare when you start the game. Earn some gold by adventuring and invest it wisely, however, and your kingdom will soon start to earn you enough money to buy whatever equipment you need. Unfortunately, you can't buy equipment within your own kingdom. Guess that would be too easy...
  • In the final dungeon of Super Mario RPG, just before the entrance to the final boss battle against Smithy, Toad (as in THE Toad, Peach's attendant) sets up the area with a save block. He also sets up shop to sell you items like mushrooms and revival potions. Note that this Toad is on your side and the fate of the world hangs in the balance on this next fight. Guess the economy's more important than that (although he does sell them at half price).
    • Before that, Hinopio charges positively extraordinary prices for the luxury of sleeping on a pile of wooden crates. In a volcano. This gets lampshaded in the official strategy guide. It helps that Hinopio is the only game in town the volcano. It also makes for a great Crowning Moment of Funny when Mario awakens face-down on the very uncomfortable-looking crates.
  • In Tales of Symphonia, some service providers subvert this by being all too happy to help out for free when they discover that you're the Chosen's group. Naturally, you quickly run into a group of people taking advantage of this by impersonating you. Of course, none of the actual shops'll give you any credit - the shopkeeper in the Doomed Hometown won't give a discount for the world-saving heroes whom he's known forever. Even "Marble's" charges you full price, even after you are identified as the Chosen's group and directly save the lives of both Chocolat and Cacao, the owners of the shop.
    • Later, when you get Regal, the president of a very powerful company, his mere presence in the party gives you a 10% discount on everything you buy and 10% bonus for everything you sell (provided you have his EX Skill "Personal" on). But the name of said skill is "Charisma", meaning it is his charm, not his business connections or anything. As to why a character in tattered prison clothes, messy hair and handcuffs inspires such respect in shopkeepers is left unexplained.
  • In Tears to Tiara, the hero tries to persuade Epona the shopkeeper to give stuff for free, because he is fighting for world peace and everything. She responds by giving a lecture that healthy economy is necessary for world peace, and if she will give stuff for free, it will ruin the economy. Said economic theory is definitely anachronistic.
  • Treasure of the Rudra lampshades and averts this in the final chapter - Cid does give you a discount, but is chewed out because he still charges you at all, claiming he's selling from his personal emergency stash.
  • World of Warcraft averts this: merchants affiliated with a faction you have a good standing with WILL give you a discount on their items. The better the standing, the greater the discount. Note that this only applies to gold/silver/copper; you do not receive any discounts for items you buy with points or special holiday currency.
  • In X-Men Legends II, Beast and Forge will charge their friends for health, energy and powerups. Pretty mercenary, especially considering that the X-Men and Brotherhood are using these items to defeat Apocalypse. Partly justified in that they accept not money, but "tech bits" (little pieces of Applied Phlebotinum dropped from enemies and destroyed objects), but come on.
  • In the Diablo clone Throne of Darkness, you can rescue a blacksmith who then joins your home base. To improve his inventory, you have to give him found equipment that he can take apart. You can then buy better gear. That's right: you have to give him tons of stuff for free, but he'll charge you money for stuff you want. Note that the game takes place in a shogunate-era Japan overrun by demons and monsters, he works for you (or rather your master), and you saved his life.
  • Played with in NetHack, where your Charisma score affects how much shopkeepers will sell and buy items for. Tourists below a certain level, anyone seem wearing an uncovered shirt, and players wearing Dunce Caps are explicitly considered easy marks - shopkeepers will charge 4/3 of the normal price when buying and offer 2/3 of normal price when selling (non-cumulatively), though Tourists' naturally high Charisma can offset this. Many variants also add their own differentiations on this trope:
    • EvilHack and GruntHack have shopkeepers as "racial monsters" (i.e. they can be certain species of monsters), and each species has their own price alterations depending on who they're dealing with.
    • Slash'EM Extended lowers the sell price for many commonly available items such as scrolls.
    • The Convict role - playable in many variants such as EvilHack, Slash'EM Extended and dNetHack, and available for many others via patch - not only won't get discounts, but might be refused service outright, if the shopkeeper spots their striped shirt.
  • Princess Peach can't even catch a break from her own subjects. In Super Princess Peach, Toad is pretty annoyed if she asks for something in his shop and doesn't have enough Coins, and the worst part is, this game has an Adam Smith Hates Your Guts rule in regards to Vibe Tea and Tough Coffee. Sure, the Mushroom Kingdom is in it's Darkest Hour with both Mario and Luigi being held hostage, but the guy can't fudge the rules for the Princess, right?

Web Comics

  • Gold Coin Comics points it out in this strip, where the shopkeeper explains the reasons behind those high prices.
  • Here in The Order of the Stick. Made even worse, where being an adventurer doesn't give you a discount, it increases the prices.
    • Of course: Only Adventurers can afford those prices! It's a Lampshade Hanging of the fact that the prices in most DnD books don't fit the amount non-adventurers make. Your average town-person gets a gold piece a month.
  • In Antihero for Hire, there is constant concern over the cost of specialty ammunition outweighing rewards. As a result, the protagonist eats a lot of ramen.
  • The page image is provided by this strip from Penny Arcade, which lampoons the trope's use in Resident Evil 4.

Web Original

  • The Legend of Neil takes this trope to a new level. Not only will the shopkeeper not give Link/Neil a discount, but he tries to cheat him, swindle him of more money than he has and then kill him.
  • Zero Punctuation Yahzee made fun of such RPG shopkeeper behavior, in the Torchlight review:

Yahtzee: I have a lot of respect for the fantasy peasant village economic model. It seems those guys have a good scam going. You just accidentally build your village in walking distance of the local gnoll camp, or near a dragon cave, or directly on top of a gateway to hell, build a big fat checkpoint in the village center and keep giving birth to potential kidnap-victims, and your shopkeeper, your blacksmith, your tailor and your inkeeper, they'll all be set for fucking life.

Western Animation

  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Frequently averted as people will often just GIVE the group supplies (at least in the first season when they weren't really trying to hide the fact that Aang is the Avatar most of the time).
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: Masked superheroes Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy are frequent patrons of the Krusty Krab, but they have to pay full price just like everyone else. Barnacle Boy attempts to ask for a "living legend discount", to no avail.

Real Life

  • The reason shopkeepers won't give you a discount when you claim to be saving the world is probably that they've already heard it a dozen times, as seen on (The Customer is) Not Always Right.
  • Often, the person behind the counter is not the decision-maker who has the ability to grant you a discount. This is why it was wrong to blame Starbucks for not giving away bottled water to rescue workers at Ground Zero after 9/11.
    • Cue the battle cry of all Soviet/Russian bureaucrats: "I am a small man".
  • The American Government was often charged "barrack fees" by the British government during WWII when U.S. soldiers were billeted in British Army barracks. This was sometimes a very large amount of money. Conversely, the US charged Britain so much for weapons used to fight the war that Britain was still paying the money back in the 1990s.