Will call refers to a method of delivery for purchased goods where the customer picks up the goods at the seller's place of business, primarily in North American commerce. It may also refer to the department within a business where goods are staged for customer pick up.
An equivalent service for goods which are paid for in installments then retrieved once fully paid, which was common before credit cards became available, is called layaway, and is still used among those without access to credit cards.
The word "call" is a shortened form of "call for", which means "to come and get", so "will call" literally means "(the customer) will call (come and get) the goods." In a linguistic process similar to initial-stress derived nominalization, the first syllable of the noun phrase is usually stressed ("will call") rather than the second syllable in the verb phrase ("will call").
As of 2014[update], Will Call is still in wide use for ticket sales at a box office where patrons of entertainment venues go to pick up pre-purchased tickets for an event, such as a play, sporting event, museums, or concerts, either just before the event or in advance. At large venues such as stadiums or theme parks, "Will Call" pickup windows may be designated specifically for this purpose.
In the wholesale and retail trade industry, a will call memo is given to wholesale delivery drivers as an instruction to pick up items at the address stated on the memo.
Normally in the UK the term used is 'at the door' or 'on the door'; such as 'tickets can be collected at the door'. The acronym COBO, for "Care of Box Office", is used internally by ticket offices and not common with the public. A similar term 'buyer collects' is used on online auction sites, to imply that the customer must collect the goods from the vendor after sale, usually implying that they will not post.
- New World Dictionary of the American Language, Simon and Schuster, 1980.