Leadership / 07.06.22
Who Is Will Call? And More Funny Ticket Office Customer Stories
Is your outdoor amphitheater air conditioned?
You said Will would call about my tickets — but I never heard from him!
Will it be loud when the music is playing?
I was emailed print-at-home tickets. Can I print them from my office instead?
The last couple of years have been anything but funny, but you just have to laugh at the foibles and quirks of our customers. And because the hilarity is never-ending, the INTIX team is always on the hunt for more true tales from the ticket office. If you haven’t already read the first three installments in our series (or you just want a good laugh), we highly recommend checking out part one, part two and part three.
But yes, like a good encore, there is more!
We have opened our inbox and scoured the social feeds to bring you more LOL-worthy moments in live event ticketing.
Sandy McCambridge has been the ticketing and box office manager of the Schauer Arts Center in Hartford, Wisconsin, for more than 21 years.
No, the venue is not in Connecticut.
But yes, people who live in Connecticut have bought tickets online!
Other customers have done some pretty funny things in person.
Case in point: One time, a man stormed into the Schauer Arts Center box office, all hot under the collar.
“He had to drive down here because he [could not] order tickets over the phone,” Sandy says while sharing one of her all-time-favorite customer stories. “He tried calling, but the recording said to push extension three and he doesn't have that option on his phone! There is no extension three button at all, and we should not expect people to have that on their phones.”
Perhaps even better, shares Sandy:
“A man comes in with his 4-year-old daughter. His wife sent him down to buy some ballet shoes. Our education coordinator asks him what size she wears, and he says he doesn't know. So, he turns to his daughter and asks her what size shoes she wears. She shouts, ‘Pink!’”
Things Were Going Swimmingly…
The Hartford Recreation Center is located next door to the Schauer Arts Center. “When we first opened, for years [we received] daily calls asking what time the pool opens,” Sandy says.
The calls dropped to weekly, and now, after 21+ years and a pandemic, there is just one call or less per month.
“Finally, people know who we are, I think,” Sandy says.
There is, however, also an auto museum in the Schauer Arts Center building, and it has a separate ticket office.
The auto museum ticket office is on the side of the lobby with the cars, but everyone walks in and rings the Schauer Arts Center bell, which is sitting on top of a sign that says:
Please ring bell for assistance.
The Auto Museum is located at the RED WINDOW behind you.
Sounds obvious enough, right?
“We ask how we can help them, and they ask for tickets to the auto museum,” Sandy says. “One day, a man approached the box office when we were open right before a performance asking for six tickets. I showed him what seats we had available. He smiled and nodded and did not even bat an eye when I charged him $240 for six tickets (auto museum tickets are $9). He did come back for a refund when he realized that there were no cars in the theater.”
From classic cars to classic rock, Rebecca Gordon Simmons shares the words of a fan before the “Live and UnZoomed” tour stop at her venue, which featured Styx and REO Speedwagon with Loverboy.
“We had someone in the window who got paper tickets instead of mobile and said, ‘Ooh! We’re going vintage tonight!’”
Indeed. Indeed, we are!
If I Could Turn Back Time
OK, you caught us. That subtitle is from the lyrics to a classic song by Cher and not one of the bands mentioned above. But those words immediately come to mind with this story from Lindsay Freedman.
“Today, a ticket holder emailed city council to complain that she couldn’t find her tickets and we didn’t respond quickly enough. Upon researching her inquiry, I let her and city council know that she asked for and was given a refund in 2021.”
Lindsey Ann has been there too, she shared on Facebook. “In Rio Rancho, New Mexico, they would call the mayor! Luckily, his secretary knew just to call me and find out what was going on.”
Deb Scott says, “Back in the day, I had an irate woman demand to speak to ‘The Ticket Master!!’”
Veronica Maynard has had her share of irate customers too. “One set of patrons sent the police after me after they turned up 20 minutes late for an event with a ‘ticket only valid until five minutes before start’ policy and were denied entry.” This was after they had been given a choice between a refund and exchange.
Did the police show up? Yes, yes they did!
The patrons had run into a couple of officers on their way up the street.
“The police wandered casually into the venue, asked a few questions, had a bit of a laugh with me about it and left,” said Veronica, who added that the policy is clearly stated on the back of the tickets, says. “[The police said] they're obligated to follow up on complaints, no matter how silly.”
From Silly to Nutty…
OK, this is not exactly a customer story, but it is about a vital customer-facing role.
“We strive to be inclusive with our hiring practices … but I have to put my foot down with this new hire!” Tracy Shunk Noll says.
This little one may make a better mascot, perhaps?
You Can’t Make This Stuff Up
We continue our laughs and giggles with recent questions fielded by Lenore Schwartz Heller.
“Is Riverdance too loud for my 4-month-old to sleep during the performance?” And…
“I'm nursing my 2-month-old; will Riverdance be too loud, and will I be able to nurse while watching the show?”
Then, the patron arrived at the venue with her baby in a stroller. She tried to convince Lenore’s colleague that the ticket office said she could walk up and down the aisles to rock the baby to sleep.
“You know how far she got with that one,” Lenore says!
From obstructing the aisles to seats that are apparently obstructed, Ashley Dillow shared this conversation with her “Women in Ticketing” peers:
Customer: Why don’t you mark your obstructed view seats on the map?!
Ticket office: We don’t have any obstructed views.
Customer: Every single seat I choose is obstructed; it says so right here!
Ticket office: It is a completely open room; there is nothing blocking your view.
Customer (now yelling): IT SAYS RIGHT HERE, “view seat block,” AND EVERY TIME I LOOK IT IS THE SEATS I AM CHOOSING!
“The even better part is the guy gaslighted [my] ticket office [colleague] into thinking she was not sure what a seat block was,” Ashley says. “She hung up and came to check with me that it was in fact ‘the block of seats he is choosing.’”
Welcoming the New Season
On June 30, Cate Foltin shared that tonight would be her work New Year.
In honor of the 2021–2022 season, she penned a year in brief review:
Shows? Yes! No! Maybe! OK! Some!
Masking? Yes! No! Yes! No! Up to you!
Social Distancing? Yes! Modified yes! No! Back to Yes! No!
Proof of Vaccination? Yes! Oh, heck no (patron response)! Yes! No! It depends!
Touchless features? Yes! Yes! Sorry, but yes!
Audiences? Yes! No! Yes, I'm buying a ticket but not showing up! No, I don't have a ticket, can't I just come anyway? Yes!
I didn't get my refund! Yes, you did! Oh! Is that what it was for?
Forehead slaps? Too many to count
Pivot? Don't even say that word around here!!!!
Did we survive the year? Yes, we did! And goodbye to you ’21–‘22!
That Guy Will
Audrey Arseneau survived nine Disney on Ice shows as her first event back after the COVID hiatus.
She says the highlight of the run was this quote, “I have a goodie bag for pick up in the William Call room. Could you help me find it?”
Goodness, this level of formality calls for a ballgown or a tux or something!
Gina Gioiello Davis once had a patron ask, “Who is Will Call? Is that a person? Am I supposed to know who Will Call is?”
We all do! Will Call is the guy who always makes us laugh. The life of every ticketing party.
And unlike the difficulties and challenges of the recent months and Cate’s latest season, I think we have all missed Will very, very much.
If you have funny customer stories to share, please reach out to us via media@INTIX.org or on our social channels.
Want more true tales from the ticket office? We recommend:
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