Truckfest last year was exciting, but too may people were disappointed at the 2-hour waits in the not-so-nice spring weather. An anonymous writer decided to write up what he learned from Truckfest last year, so people could make a more successful conquest on the Street this year.
1. Pick a line, and stick with it.
Patience is a virtue. If you’ve got your mind set on eating that chocolate-covered, fried Korean taco on a stick, don’t leave because the line is too long. Switching trucks halfway just wastes time. There are all kinds of friction in the market for trucks, such as throngs of people moving every which way, poor communication and uncertainty as to the actual terminus of each line.
Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.
–Thomas Edison (1874-1931), inventor of the light bulb
Smart people have persevered. Once you’ve picked your truck, stay in it for the long haul. You won’t regret it, just as long as they don’t run out of food before you get to the front.
2. Divide and conquer.
To ‘divide in detail’ (divide et impera in Latin) is a concept thought to be derived from Greek political philosophy. It involves separating power in such a way that provides a disincentive for collusion or agreement among powerful actors. Its popular application is to warfare, where one side attempts to take on the foe in portions as opposed to in its full size and force. The trucks are the enemy, and you (and a group of friends) want to defeat every one.
In order to be most efficient with your time, strategize ahead of time and delegate trucks among your friends. Meet up at a location far from Prospect to divvy up the loot. This maximizes eating time, eating variety, and social cohesion. To those who argue that waiting in line with friends makes the waiting more bearable, I reply: no amount of friendship will make up for the missed opportunity at a bacon donut and a funnel-cake chicken sandwich. Here, economics may have something good to offer: rational decision makers prefer variety.
The consumption possibilities frontier is concave to the origin because the mixing of goods is preferred to all-or-nothing. You achieve your highest utility if you pick bundles of cupcakes and buffalo chicken spring rolls, not just one or the other. Just be sure your friends don’t hate sharing.
3. Defy traditional meal sequencing.
Students eat anything at pretty much any time of day. But it bears repeating anyway: don’t try to construct your meal like the USDA food pyramid. Did you come to TruckFest to get a balanced diet? In planning your TruckFest strategy (recommended at least 24 hours before), do not hesitate to sequence your or your group’s attacks contrary to your preconceived notions about a proper meal. Eat the ice cream first—grab pizza last. Nobody’s judging you for having dessert first. And if you follow Rule #2, you can pick whatever order you’d like. But if your plan is elaborate enough to allow multiple stages (that is, multiple truck assignments per person), try to defy predictable Princeton student preferences.
4. Start furthest down the street and work your way in.
One perk of being an engineer: you’re in perfect position on the day of TruckFest. The intersection of Prospect and Washington is bound to be mobbed while the lonely trucks by Charter and Cap get no love. Start down there and migrate toward the campus. To avoid Prospect Ave. traffic after having bought your tickets at Robertson, the following paths can get you to your starting point:
Other TruckFest goers may look at you sideways, like you’re leaving the party or trying to swim against the tide of reason. But they won’t be able to argue with the juicy burger in your hand or the still-warm potstickers on your fork. And again, if you follow Rule #2, you will get to enjoy the spoils of victory on campus, not the netherworld beyond Fitz Randolph road and Bowen Hall. (Did you know it existed?)