“It can’t be helped”

Peter Payne writes in his newsletter from Japan:

Time and time again I’ve noticed the power the
opinions of gaijin have to effect change in Japan, whether it’s asking to have
a non-smoking section added to a restaurant or pointing out that the restroom
was not as clean as it could be (things Japanese would say "it can’t be
helped" about). Just today, while going to lunch, we spotted a young woman
driving with her 4-year-old daughter who was standing up in the front seat.
The idea of child carseats are still somewhat alien to Japan, a country that
only passed its first carseat law in 1999, and children playing inside moving
cars is something I’ve seen all to often. When we stopped at a light I went
into "seigi no mikata" (champion of justice) mode, got out of the car, and
publicly reprimanded the mother, telling to put her damn child in a seat belt,
at the very least. She immediately complied, embarrassed at being lectured
while people in the surrounding cars looked on.


Of course, it’s not just Japan and it’s not just car seats. There are countless things in your products and services that are there because it can’t be helped. As soon as you open yourself to interactions with the market (real interactions, not deniable forms) you discover that a lot of stuff can be helped.