As a Brit living in the USA I simply don’t understand how a waiter could read when a customer has finished eating. We, the British, fastidious about table manners indicate when we are finished to the staff by placing the knife and fork together the tines and blade pointed away from us. This clearly indicates that the diner has finished eating. This is not the case in the USA where diners finish eating and leave their cutlery strewn all over their plates. Hence the ghastly, “Are you still working on that?” or waiters swooping down and snatching plates before the last mouthful has been finished. My other pet peeve: we were taught to finish everything on our plate. This often solicits a raised eye brow and an ‘ironic’ comment about you having must really hated dinner. The ‘tip compliment’ is the crudest device of all. When the unsolicited compliment about the hat, baby, hair, teeth etc. comes I immediately deduct 5% from the expected tip. It is crude, undignified and irritating.