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Unscrewed Salt Shaker

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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-full of salt all over their food.

The combination of being a Discredited Trope 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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     Films — Animated 

     Films — Live-Action 
  • 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.
  • Used to a lethal effect in the Polish comedy Kiler. The titular protagonist tries to salt his soup in the prison cafeteria, but the lid falls into the bowl. The prison bully, Uszat, promptly grabs the bowls and pours the entire contents into his mouth, then dies by choking on the lid. This promptly elevates Kiler to a Memetic Badass status among the prisoners.
  • In Daredevil, Matt's colleague is irritated with him and hands him the mustard instead of honey. Matt plays along squirting the mustard into his cup, but promptly swaps them as soon as Franklin is looking elsewhere.

     Comic Books 
  • 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.
  • On Fringe, September inflicts this trope on himself when he deliberately unscrews the top of the pepper shaker, and then proceeds to dump the contents onto his plate of food. Apparently the Observers have extremely dulled taste buds and iron cast stomachs.
  • Frasier: This happens to Niles with a sugar shaker while he's getting coffee. He notices some teenage girls sitting at the next table and laughing so he loudly tells them off for being so childish. The girls then tell him they weren't the ones who unscrewed the cap, which is when a pair of middle-aged men at another table burst into laughter indicating they played the prank. One of the girls asks if Niles is going to yell at them too but Niles sheepishly claims the men probably heard him the first time.
  • Done in one episode of The Sopranos to Tony by one of his girlfriends.

     Newspaper Comics 

     Video Games 
  • Undertale has Sans tampering with the ketchup bottle to prank you if you accept his offer of ketchup for your food at Grillby's. He's a good enough sport to give you his lunch after yours gets drenched in ketchup thanks to his prank. If you don't accept the initial offer, he just chugs the bottle of ketchup all in one go instead.
  • Hello Kitty: Happy Party Pals: Tracy, Kitty's raccoon friend, apparently loosened the salt shaker lids in the Sushi restaurant. He tells Kitty not to use the salt shakers at the Sushi Restaurant because of this, and Kathy (the rabbit) had noticed, as well.


     Western Animation 


Video Example(s):


Duncan pranks Trent

Thanks to Duncan, Trent spills salt and pepper all over his scrambled eggs... and Heather.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / UnscrewedSaltShaker

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