"Will call" is a term that is used in a number of retail settings to describe a situation in which goods are ordered by a customer and are subsequently made available for pickup at that customer’s convenience. This type of in-person pick up is most commonly used for picking up tickets to various theatrical or sporting events, but in recent years has also come into common usage within the food industry, as clients order groceries and then arrange to pick the order up at the market after a certain date and time. The idea behind a will call order is to make arrangements to pay in advance and avoid the need to wait in a long line to complete the transaction.
Will call tickets to sporting events have been commonplace around the world for a number of years. The process normally requires that the customer place an order via telephone or online. Often, the order is paid for using a credit or debit card in advance. Once the payment is processed, the tickets are reserved for the customer who is able to circumvent the long lines of patrons waiting to purchase tickets. Instead, the customer with a will call order is directed to a separate area and is able to pick up the tickets with relatively little trouble.
Live theater and movie tickets can also sometimes be obtained with a will call option. Like tickets to a sporting event, a customer can call the theater in advance, purchase the tickets, and have them held at the box office under the name of the buyer. Upon presenting proof of identity, the tickets are tendered to the buyer. Along with providing the convenience of avoiding long lines to buy tickets, this approach also allows the buyer to select seats in advance that are more to his or her liking and reserve them.
In recent years, some supermarkets have begun to offer a will call option. With this approach, a shopper places and order via telephone or online, and pays for the order in advance. The shopper is provided with a date and time that the order will be available for pickup along with a confirmation number for the order. For a limited time after that date and time, the shopper can go to the store, present the confirmation number, and pick up the order without the need to do the actual shopping.
While a will call option is still very popular, the ability to order and print tickets to events online has become more common today. Some vendors will offer this option along with the ability to order tickets in advance and pick them up on the day of the event. Providing both options along with the traditional method of standing in line to buy tickets makes it possible to accommodate customers who may not have Internet access as well as make it easy for online users to easily obtain and pay for tickets while still avoiding the inconvenience of waiting in line.