Salt Shaker Switcheroo

Artist Paul Pescador has been switching salt shakers all over Los Angeles, leaving a stream of mismatched salt & pepper pairs in the wake of his dining experiences.

He explains:

I sit down at a table in a crowded restaurant. I pick up a saltshaker from across the table and place it in my pocket. From my jacket, I pull out a different shaker, one I took from the last restaurant I visited. I carefully place it next to the pepper and order my meal.

More photos

39 thoughts on “Salt Shaker Switcheroo”

  1. I’m sorry, but that’s not funny or cool. Why would you cause needless overhead charges to the restaurants you patronize? They have to replace those salt shakers. I really don’t find this prank amusing.

  2. Yeah, this “prank” is hardly on the scale I’ve come to expect for this blog. It really just amounts to petty theft and annoyance for restaurant owners. Weak.

  3. The young, rebellious, mischievous, IE part of me thinks this is a great prank. To have the staff and customers wonder where on earth the shaker came from could be amusing if I was the one who found it.

    However, working in a restaurant myself, what the “artist” doesn’t realize is that as soon as he leaves, it is the job of his server to change the shakers back (especially in franchised restaurants). Therefore this prank is only seen by the prankster.

    If you’re going to try this, you better tip well.

  4. How much does a salt shaker cost? Are we really talking about that much money here?

    Part of what’s cool about this project is its subtlety. I’m not so sure people are going to notice right away. I’ve never worked in a restaurant, so I can’t really say.

  5. I sure hope that this ‘artist’ has more going for him than this.. as this is definitely not art.

  6. I have worked in several restaurants and believe me, one stolen salt shaker is not the greatest problem a waiter or an owner could have.

    And refering to the prank, it’s not spectacular but original at all.

  7. I think it’s hilarious. Like Charlie said, how much does a salt-shaker cost? Next to noting. What makes this really funny is that most people probably will not even notice anything is strange. How closely do we pay attention to our surroundings?

    At the same time, it might be SO subtle that no one gets it. I have worked in a restaurant, and trust me, I probably wouldn’t even bat and eye at it. Even if I did notice that it was different, I’d probably just assume we lost one and the manager replaced it with whatever he had.

    Still, I like this because it adds color to an often boring world.

  8. yeah, this is totally boring. not “subtle” in a cool way or anything. just kinda lame and unexciting. It’s be sweet if he switched tables, booths or jukeboxes.

  9. 1. I think it’s really interesting the amount of controversy such a seemingly tiny action can illicit.

    2. I don’t know if “stealing” is the right word. It’s more like “involuntary bartering”.

    3.There are lots of places you can take this project outside of the realm of pranks. It’s about urban mapping and what constitutes personal property, what one is allowed to do in public space, even what constitutes good manners. If I sit down at a restaurant and break my plate on accident, no one is upset. And I’m not even replacing the plate.

    4. The “but is it art” debate is moronic and overplayed. Please just stop.

  10. Alright, I’d think this would be kind of cool if I was doing this. 😀

    But after checking out the site, his stuff is really boring, annoying or rude, although he does add coins to parking meters and gives some people individual birthday candles for them to make a wish with.

    But again, boring, annoying, and rude. Let’s take a look:

    1. Moves flowers from a grave to the neighboring grave
    2. Finds rogue shopping carts and counts how many STEPS it takes to return it to its location
    3. When he stays at another person’s house, he MOVES THEIR TOOTHBRUSH

    Anyway, this salt shaker thing was cool and artistic, I guess, so not everyone will enjoy/approve

  11. “What makes this really funny is that most people probably will not even notice anything is strange.”


    But really. Maybe if he replaced the regular salt with black-lava salt, and pepper with White Pepper. That’d be awesome (and kind of expensive), and confuse the hell out of a few patrons

  12. Art is sometimes “rude”, “boring” or “annoying”. Interesting art isn’t always digestable. If you want something that evokes pleasure at all times try television. Or better yet, pornography.

  13. See, in a small diner or corner shop type restaurant where a salt shaker is just a salt shaker, this is actually a pretty decent gig. As Charlie said, it’s subtle and most people may not even notice anything happened.

    But for chain restaurants or franchises, this doesn’t go unnoticed and creates more work for others. Stealing is breaking the law, making someone else work harder than they should on purpose is moronic.

    The cons to this are far more than the few pros. I’m still not a fan.

  14. I can’t believe that some of you consider this as something that “breaks the law”.

    All restaurants (and even more chain restaurants and franchises) spend some money in replacing broken dishes. They loose even more money wasting food that anyone eats ’cause it is going to expire.

    I worked in a Dunkin Donuts and everyday at 6 o’clock in the morning I had to throw out hundreds (and it means hundreds) of donuts to the garbage only because they have gone stale.

    I assure you that one stolen salt shaker means nothing to the costs of a restaurant.

  15. That this post includes a quote from the self-aggrandizing “artist,” deftly illuminating for us the bewilderingly complex in and out of his life’s work, is even more absurd than the “thought-provoking” thefts themselves.

    “I sit down at a table in a crowded restaurant. I remove from my pocket the turd I made earlier. I fling it against the wall and order my meal.”

    Sophomoric, at BEST.

  16. I think you people are taking this way too seriously. Each of you have failed to see the sweetness in it. The shakers look like mismatched couples, almost portait like. As for the quotes its charming as well.

  17. To the argument that “one stolen salt shaker means nothing to the cost of a restaurant”–wrong. They don’t go into business to throw away the food people don’t purchase. Increasing a businesses overhead by any amount leads to diminished profits and/or price increases.

    It’d be okay if someone replaced one [or three] of the hubcaps on your car? After all, you “throw money away” buying gas for the thing, and paying for insurance, etc. Hubcaps should mean nothing to the cost of owning a car.

    If it’s “sweet” or “cute” or “precious” to steal things, or to move things around and take pictures of them, then this artist is really sweet, really cute, and perhaps a little too precious.

    The thing I may be taking too seriously is the serious approbation of this and others of the artist’s “projects”. Sure–presenting a thing as art makes it art; but bad art is possible, too.

  18. I find it interesting that a blog that loves Banksy and other graffiti artist like him, who use publically and privately own buldings as their canvas, find this so contraversal.

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