Shopkeepers provide a much needed service to Spelunky. Imagine getting stuck three blocks under a treasure trove. Or walking over the motherload of motherloads trapped in the dirt. Shopkeeper to the rescue! Supplying ropes and bombs and all matter of odds and ends that I don't quite yet understand...

The shopkeepers appear to do quite well for themselves, claiming the monopoly in a decently lucrative market.

Occasionally, however, there are items that attract my eye but, through no lack of effort on my part, I don't have enough gold to acquire them in a "lawful" manner.

I have tried all manner of things:

  • Trying the straightforward approach: walking out of the store with the un-purchased item, allows me to get a step or two outside before suddenly becoming dead.
  • Throwing rocks, and pots in an attempt to stun them only seems to aggravate them, causing them to whip out their shotguns and "end me" far too quickly.
  • whipping them leads to a very similar fate.
  • Attempting to take out a bomb in their general vicinity will also lead to my death.

I guess I have found a couple ways to attempt to steal from them, but each of these ends in either death or a trigger happy rampage (and death).

Perhaps I should restate my question:
How can I steal from a shopkeeper and survive?

  • 1
    There are slight differences in strategies regarding robbing shopkeepers between spelunky and the HD version - which is your question about? Commented Feb 1, 2014 at 17:47
  • I tried to keep my question pretty general so it could apply to both. I have tried, unsuccessfully I might add, to steal from shopkeepers in both versions.
    – Enigmadan
    Commented Feb 1, 2014 at 21:42
  • 1
    It would be prudent to remember that no matter what method you use, if you steal or kill from a Shopkeeper on any level in the game ALL the shopkeepers in the game will be on a rampage. So this means there will be no option for a black market (unless you enjoy suicide) and no more buying from any shopkeepers unless you are able to kill/escape them all. --- I only know this to be true of Spelunky, not sure about the HD version.
    – Guy
    Commented Nov 11, 2014 at 23:46

6 Answers 6


Here is an almost fail-safe newbie-friendly idiot-proof procedure to rob the shopkeeper using a bomb and a rope:

  1. Find a shop to rob.

  2. Attach a rope outside the entrance.

    Setup complete

  3. Pickup an item and carry it to the rope. The shopkeeper will follow you.

  4. Climb up the rope so that the shopkeeper stands in front of the rope.

    Luring the shopkeeper

  5. Climb down and place the item in the entrance.

  6. Apply bomb to shopkeeper.

    Everything is wonderful

  7. Profit.

  • It should be noted that if the bomb lands inside the shop, (on the wood platform instead of the stone in this last screenshot) that the shopkeeper will aggro immediately, and not wait for the bomb to detonate.
    – Tim S.
    Commented Aug 10, 2017 at 13:55

If there's a shotgun, freeze ray, or machete, simply pick it up and attack the shopkeeper with it. Wait for the shopkeeper to step towards you so you have room to maneuver, or room to jump on his head in the case of the freeze ray.

There's also a method (in Spelunky HD only, apparently) that allows you to reliably rob shopkeepers safely with only a whip. Jump against the wall above the shopkeeper, whip while falling down, and grab the shotgun before he wakes up. Throwing the shopkeeper before grabbing the shotgun can buy you some more time. BananasaurusRex goes over it with more details in the youtube below.


  • I just verified this method, and it indeed works - I actually just beat Olmec for the first time on the same run. :) Commented Feb 1, 2014 at 19:42

This particular technique only works in the 3rd world, the ice cave.

Step 1: Find one of the proximity mines.

Step 2: Pick up proximity mine

Step 3: Go to shop

Step 4: GENTLY place the mine next to the shopkeeper

Step 5: Run away. Run as fast as you can.

Shopkeepers, for some reason, perceive whipping anywhere near them as a threat, but dropping a high-yield explosive device on their face is no big deal. The shopkeeper will explode without even having a chance to yell at you.


If you have a pistol you can keep shooting him from out of the shop until he dies If you're too close he can sometimes manage to kill you. I've found sticky bombs somewhat sucessful as well.


A friend of mine said that he surveys the surrounding area before making a move. He'll set up a rope somewhere, chuck a bomb, then try to high-tail it back to the rope (not always successful). If he's in the jungle area with the man-eating plants, he'll knock it unconscious, throw it at the shopkeeper, then when the plant wakes up, it might go after him and eat him. I think he has one other method, but it escapes me right now.

  • 1
    Unfortunately, shopkeepers can tear through a mantrap's mouth. Commented Oct 10, 2015 at 22:32
  1. Go to the entrance of a shop and put up a rope in the very first column outside.

  2. Go inside and grab the item you want to steal onto the block that is closest to the door (carefully) and the shopkeeper will have followed you.

  3. To get him away from the wall, grab another random item and carry it to the furthest wall, leading him away from the door.

  4. Return to the door and pick up the item, going as close to the outside of the shop as you dare.

  5. Jump quickly up the rope and hang at the top, away from the reach of the shopkeeper, an he will run away (hopefully).

  6. Escape the area, and if you feel good you can go back and collect the rest of the items inside. BEAR IN MIND that the shopkeeper will be in ready mode for the next three levels, and also at the end door of each level too.

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