Yesterday, I sat at the bar of my restaurant watching a three year old boy, dining at a neighboring table, as he licked the salt shaker like it was an ice cream cone. For over ten minutes he licked, sucked and shook the salt into his mouth, leaving the shaker sticky and wet with saliva. Last week, I witnessed a sweet five year old girl make picturesque salt and pepper art on her plate, dumping the entire contents of the shakers out and making pretty swirls with her fingers. Very creative.

The parents watched as both children entertained themselves with the “reusable” tabletop ingredients. I am sure if I was in their position, a small part of me would be admittedly grateful for a few minutes of peace at the dinner table.

But even so, salt & pepper shakers are not a toy. If they were, I would probably put them in the same container as the crayons. salt & pepper shakers
photo credit | zoomar

Needless to say, whenever someone puts their mouth on something in a restaurant it needs to be washed or disposed of. No big deal. Except that salt and pepper is a reusable table product, much like the ketchup at your local burger joint. So, when you put your tongue on it, all of the contents of the shaker has to be thrown away.

The “It’s only a couple of cents” defense.
Restaurants work on a food cost percentage to survive, every item purchased is precisely calculated in order to bring you the best quality at the most reasonable prices. All of those “few cents” add up to a lot of dollars. If you would like to prove your point for this defense, each one of you please send me ten dollars from every one of your paychecks.

The “Customer is always right” defense.
If the customer is always right, than that means that every owner and employee all over the world is always wrong. And that just ain’t right.
Spilt Salt & Pepper
photo credit | jenn durfey

I love children. Really. I do. When you bring them into my restaurant I can be found at the table poking their bellies, tickling their feet and making funny faces to see if I can get them to laugh.

There is nothing like a child’s laughter.

But, salt & pepper shakers are not meant for entertainment. They are meant to enhance the flavor of your meal. Though, I can bring you some crayons. Or you can bring your own.

Disclosure: I do not have children. And…I feel the same about sugar packets.