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People Are Really Getting Into the Salt and Pepper Shakers Mystery of Our Time

3 minute read

A man was trying to fill his brand new salt and pepper shakers when he was presented with a word puzzle that sent him spiraling. As some are wont to do in such situations, he decided to share the stumper with the world. He set up his phone and recorded a Tiktok missive where he showed the shakers, the words written on them, and pointed out the head-scratching problem that they presented. Now, the brain teaser has gone viral.

“My girlfriend got me these cutesy little salt and pepper shakers that say, you’re the salt to my pepper,” TikTok user @garret.burns explained in his video. “I was getting ready to put the salt in them, because that’s what you use them for, but then I realized that I don’t know which one to put the salt in.”

While normally shakers makes it obvious about which one is for salt and which one is for pepper, that was not exactly the case here—if you’re prone to overthinking things, which appears to be. “This one says, ‘you‘re the salt‘—and if these two shakers are talking to each other, which is kind of the vibe I get from this whole thing, this one is saying, ‘you’re the salt‘ and this one is saying, ‘to my pepper’.”

”So this one is saying it’s not the salt, and this one is saying that it is the pepper,” he continues, looking increasingly concerned. “So are they both pepper?” His argument continues from there as he tries to parse the words scrawled across the shakers to determine whether to put the salt in the shaker that says salt, but also says it’s not salt, or to put a mix of salt and pepper in one shaker. “I have no idea what’s going on,” he says in summation.

While The Great Salt and Pepper Debate of 2020 was waged on TikTok, soon the argument spilled over to Twitter, where it went viral after it was shared by Elamin Abdelmahmoud, an editor at Buzzfeed News:

A few eagle-eyed watchers were particularly entertained by the fact that the man in the video was wearing a shirt that said he was an engineer, who should presumably be well-trained to crack such a mystery, but may also be perfectly prepared to overthink things:

For those eager to know how this great debate was resolved, following the argument over to the original poster’s Instagram feed, he reveals his solution. “My decision was to put salt in the one that said, ‘you’re the salt’,” he wrote, “and then I put mustard in the other one.” Sounds reasonable.

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