Unscrewed Salt Shaker
An annoying prank in restaurants, wherein the top of a salt shaker is unscrewed and left loosely sitting on top. The next person to attempt to use it will unexpectedly get an entire jar-fall of salt all over their food. The combination of being a total cliché and the harsh effect of ruining someone's entire meal for a cheap laugh means this prank usually doesn't get a very good reception, unless the target is particularly unpopular. It can also be used to establish that Evil Is Petty.
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- The sugar variation happens in The Brothers Bloom: Bloom tries to shake some sugar into his coffee and it won't pour. In disgust, he puts it back down on the table. The sugar jar is instantly picked up by Stephen, who taps it twice on the table, then pours sugar into his cup of coffee. Still disgusted, Bloom picks up the jar after Stephen puts it down and pours... and the entire jar of sugar pours into his coffee.
- Done by Laurel and Hardy in You're Darn Tootin'. Stan, unable to get any salt out of the shaker, unscrews the top. Then Ollie tries to use the shaker, not realising what has happened, and the entire contents end up in his soup. He promptly changes plates with Stan, only for the whole process to be repeated with the pepper.
- Powerpuff Girls #41's lead story, "Pizza My Heart," has Buttercup and a faulty garlic shaker, which pours a mound of garlic salt on her pizza slice. She proceeds to gross out Blossom and Bubbles by eating the slice, mound of garlic salt and all.
Live Action TV
- Done in an early Happy Days at Arnold's by Ralph Malph to some random extra. Ralph found this hilarious. Less than two minutes later Ralph is eating and starts to shake some salt and gets a pile himself, presumably courtesy the same guy.
- Mr. Bean does this in one of the episodes. Bonus points as the guy he does it to looks like he can break Bean in half.
- Done on Full House by a friend of Stephanie's. Everyone blames Joey because he pulled the same stunt at Sizzler.
- Inverted with the Observers on Fringe. September deliberately unscrews the top of the pepper shaker, and then proceeds to dump the contents onto his plate of food. Apparently they have extremely dulled taste buds. (And iron cast stomachs.)
- One episode of The Simpsons had Homer pranking Moe with this, as everyone else is joking around too (by lighting him on fire, or hiding a cobra in his till). He's banned for the rest of the episode for taking things too far.note
- Done with a pepper shaker in The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, as a nervous Ichabod is sprinkling it on a hard-boiled egg, and after he eats it fire and smoke comes out of his mouth.
- A Cutaway Gag in Family Guy showed Pinhead using this prank to raise some hell.