What is will Call?

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  • Written By: Michael Pollick
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 02 August 2018
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"Will call" is a special section of the box office at a theater where tickets that have been ordered or set aside in advance can be picked up. If a performer or crew member gives tickets to a performance to a friend, for example, they might be left at the "will call" window to be picked up just before the performance. In some cases, tickets that are ordered by phone or online might also be left there for the purchaser.

Some venues may have self-service kiosks to take the place of "will call" windows. Electronic tickets are kept in reserve until the proper buyer arrives and completes the transaction. This method may also be used in other businesses, such as catalog outlets with a physical pick-up point. The item may be ordered weeks in advance, but the buyer is not required to produce a receipt until the time of pick-up and delivery. This type of station can keep pre-orders separate from the regular point-of-sale orders.


Not every venue offers a this pick up option for customers, and sometimes tickets would to be purchased during the regular box office hours, with little guarantee of their availability. Some performance halls have strict requirements when it comes to "will call" tickets. Proper identification must be presented at the time of pick-up, in order to prevent an imposter from claiming them. These tickets may also have to be picked up within a few hours of the event, not days in advance. This could mean some time spent in a line at the window, rather than an immediate pass into the venue.

The benefits of a "will call" option usually outweigh the disadvantages. Tickets can be ordered immediately online or by phone instead of waiting in line at a distant box office. Other pre-show plans can be made, since picking up the tickets is no longer a time-consuming prospect. There are no tickets to be forgotten at home or lost along the way. Occasionally, there may be some clerical errors or miscommunications, so buyers should be prepared. Double-checking with the box office staff during the week before the show may not be a bad idea, especially if the tickets are complimentary or conditional.


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Post 8

Besides the benefits over disadvantages of Will Call noted in the article, some kind of a “pick up” arrangement at the venue is always helpful. My wife and I purchased timed tickets online for the Christmas event at the famous Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, PA last December and printed them at home. When we arrived at the Gardens, we realized we left the tickets at the hotel. We were promptly led to a customer service window where the attendant printed duplicate tickets right away.

Post 7

I have had both positive and negative things happen when I have tickets waiting at 'will call.' I think the most frustrating thing is the times I have had to wait in a long line to get the tickets.

Most of the time this is really easy and quick, but there have been times when this line is really long, and they usually only have one window open for this.

I hope more venues will start using something like a self-serve kiosk. This would cut down on long lines and leave the window open for those who have problems or need to make some kind of changes.

Post 6

For several years I volunteered at our local community theater box office and often sat at the 'will call' window. For many of our season ticket holders, they preferred to pick up their tickets that way and enjoyed the convenience of this service. We had a few glitches every once in awhile, but most of the time I think this was the best way to handle tickets for events like this.

Post 5

I do agree that in most cases, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages when it comes to picking up tickets at 'will call.' The only thing I would recommend is to call the box office before the event to make sure your tickets are there.

Once when we were going to a concert, out tickets were supposed to be waiting for us and I never gave it another thought. When we arrived to pick up the tickets they didn't have them under our name and couldn't find them.

There was a clerical error on their part, and it was eventually figured out, but it took quite awhile, and I know people in line behind us were getting tired of waiting. Just a simple phone call which only takes a couple of minutes might possibly save you a lot of time and frustration.

Post 4

I use the 'will call' option every chance I can when it comes to picking up tickets for an event. More than once in my life I have bought tickets for an event only to forget to bring them with me when I leave home.

This is not only embarrassing, but also annoying and inconvenient. If I have tickets waiting for me at 'will call', I don't have to worry about doing this and can relax and know the tickets are waiting for me.

Post 3

@doppler - You should always check to see if your event has a will call window for that purpose. We had our 2 year old (then 18 months) with us and, as you can imagine, it didn't just save us time and money.

Post 2

@turtlez - A Will Call location is often specified with the events general information. As far as will call pickup goes, it can be any number of things from prizes to tickets to just general information. The Will Call window is a great feature to have at an even because (as you said) it saves time and sometimes even saves you money.

Post 1

A Will Call box is a great convenient feature if you order tickets online as well. I purchased tickets for a Bridal Expo last summer online and they were available at the Will Call window. Not only did this save me from standing in line - possibly for hours - but it also allowed me to receive the discount for purchasing tickets online.

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