When do you call it quits?

Waiting in line for ramen

I had a painful dream. About ramen.

I was waiting to eat some ramen at a popular chain. Several people were in front of me in line, and there was a menu on the wall. 

I expected to eventually get my food and enjoy it. As we usually do.

I waited. It seemed the kitchen finally started cooking an hour into the wait. 

Slow store. But it couldn’t be that bad, right?

Minutes turned into hours. 

The store suddenly declared they messed up their broth, and now only served three items on their menu. 

Uh, okay. Options didn’t look great, but the double pork belly will do. 

More time passed. The guy in front of me finally got his ramen. I was next!

… and then it never came. 

It was approaching closing time. 

People who had lined up behind me walked away. 

So I went up to the kitchen window and asked, where’s my ramen?

I had been waiting for 9 hours. 
I was furious.

I had waited too long, without action. 

I waited, expecting what we expect of restaurants to hold true. 

I waited because I had hope. Because I wanted that ramen!

But truth be told, I was ignoring the signs saying to get out. I didn’t know when to quit.

I just sat there, twiddling my thumbs, hoping for a better outcome.

I think a lot of businesses do this. Particularly startups. 

I get it. It’s easier to close your eyes to inconvenient truths, be it changes in the market or customer feedback, and just sit there waiting for a better outcome.

Perseverance is a virtue.
But when do you call it quits? 
When do you grit your teeth and take action? 

…Do you just wait until the time or money runs out?

Oh, as for how it ends: I never got my ramen. 

Skydea is an English-speaking Tokyo design agency.

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