The first letter in yesterday's Miss Manners begins this way:
Dear Miss Manners:
A few nights ago my husband and I went out to try a new Italian restaurant. When our food arrived, Waiter 1 set down my plate, then set down my husband's. Not five seconds later, Waiter 2 arrived, asking, "Would either of you care for some fresh ground pepper?"
This prompts me to share with the world the two things I dislike most in restaurants:
1) Being asked if I want fresh ground pepper. Either the chef seasoned the dish properly or he didn't. If I want to prepare my own food, I'll eat at home.
2) Being asked if I'm "still working on a dish." The chef worked on the dish in the kitchen; I'm eating it and, it is to be hoped, enjoying it. What's wrong with "Are you finished, sir?"
Before anyone responds:
1) I never share these thoughts with the waiters asking these annoying questions at the time. I respond quite politely, "no, thank you" to the first and "yes" or "no, you may take it" or "no; would you please wrap it up"--as appropriate--to the second.
2) I always tip 20%.