Then again, things could either be really bad or, as I often suspect, bad people are taking advantage of a bad situation to be even worse people. Some do it by laying off workers knowing they can get away with it with every headline reporting the same phenomenon. Others do it by arranging birthday dinners in restaurants where dessert comes with the meal. The other night in the quieter back room at the reliable Mermaid Inn on Amsterdam, the annoying thunder-thighed woman at the next table with a mellow guy looked absurdly pleased with herself when the waitress arrived bearing two tiny cups of the chocolate pudding the kitchen sends out to save on a dessert menu/pastry chef/table time. One had a candle in it. And I guess you could call it the cheesy course.