Food Truck Etiquette Tips by Miss Manners The polite diner's guide to mobile lunch

Gentle readers, lunching at a food truck should be a simple affair: wait your turn, hand over the money, depart with food and drink. But a breakdown in good behavior has marred the food truck dining experience. Rather than rewrite a code of etiquette for food truck patrons, we’ve consulted the timeless wisdom of Judith Martin’s Miss Manners Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior, Freshly Updated. Though the advice predates modern food trucks (the original guide was published in 1983), it still provides a blueprint for appropriate mobile dining.

“In restaurants you are certainly allowed to insist upon getting what was on the menu. In people’s houses, you accept what you are given, but you do not have to eat it.” —page 186

And at a food truck, one may look at the menu printed on the side of the truck while waiting, but one may not insist on dithering over one’s choice of mac ’n’ cheese at the moment one reaches the front of the line, thus delaying the orders of all who follow. Trucks post their menus on the side for a reason; a polite patron will have his or her order at the ready when called upon.

“There are correct ways to wait and correct ways not to wait, as well as incorrect ways to wait and incorrect ways not to wait.”—page 145

The correct way to wait at a food truck is not to send one’s coworker to stake out a place in line at The Big Cheese and join later with five friends. Cutting has always been a matter of delicate etiquette, and when a curbside cupcake hangs in the balance, such behavior is likely to be met with displeasure, and possible violence, by fellow diners. One can likely stay within the bounds of manners if one allows a single friend to slip in line; more than one, and the manners of the food truck line can no longer be counted on.

“Many things in life are worth waiting for, but not all that long.”—page 144

A lobster roll is worth waiting for, but not if the wait is vastly increased by a pokey customer who cannot get her change back in her Tory Burch wallet in timely fashion. Gentle readers, once you’ve paid for your Korean tacos, kindly step aside.

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