"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.