As Box Office Manager, I have the pleasure of handling ticket sales and talking to patrons. I and other Tecumseh Center for the Arts (TCA) staff help them pick which show to attend, determine where the best place in the theater is for them to sit, help them sit next to family and friends that have already purchased tickets, reprint lost tickets, resend emails, and even reminding theater goers how many tickets they have purchased for an event. One of my favorite happenstances is when a patron needs just one more ticket for a performance and I have that exact seat available – it happens far more often than you think! I and other TCA staff manage tickets sales on the day sales open, day to day, and at the door on performance dates.
On-sale dates are exciting, whether it is the opening of ticket sales for TCA National Touring Season events, special events, or events by renting organizations. The office is a flurry of activity, especially for dance recitals and youth theatre performances. Ticket orders are simultaneously being place online, in person at the box office, and by phone. Ticket orders must be processed quickly and efficiently, while staff monitors complimentary tickets being redeemed by volunteers. Many times, individuals are in a hurry to purchase seats and inadvertently purchase tickets for the wrong performance, wrong date or time, or purchase more tickets than they need.
Day to day ticket sales are relatively consistent in number, with patrons purchasing tickets for any number of shows or subscriptions, buying or redeeming gift certificates, making donations, or taking advantage of our “Take A Seat” or “See Your Message In Lights” campaigns.
Day of show sales keep office staff and volunteers on their toes. After eight years of working in the box office, I’ve learned that at least 75% of patrons arrive in the last 15 minutes before a show starts. I’ve also learned that most of the issues that arise happen in the last 5. Box office staff has to be ready to look up orders, print tickets that were not printed at home, and help patrons figure out what name the tickets were purchased under or if someone in their group already picked them up. Regardless of the issue, TCA staff and volunteers help patrons get into their seats before the lights dim, ready to enjoy the talent and creativity of the live performance.
Some days, it is easy to feel like a circus performer, juggling multiple orders at the same time. All while trying to will ourselves to remember the details of every order that has been processed and every patron has been interacted with. The end results of these endeavors are most definitely worth the effort. Thousands of patrons from our community and around the country are able to see high quality entertainment from travelling professionals and aspiring youth alike, right here in our home town. Our hope is for community members to return again and again as they continue to exchange their support, time, and attention for the continued presentation of the arts on the TCA stage.
You may have noticed two words in bold in the last sentence. The above paragraphs about ticket sales have been a prequel, leading to a discussion about the TCA returns and exchanges policy. Tecumseh Center for the Arts has had a “No Returns or Exchanges” policy for many years. With that being said, we understand that life is crazy. Things happen, mistakes are made, and confusion is inevitable. TCA staff makes every effort to help when we can. We make exceptions to our policy 95% of the time by making exchanges if we are able to do so. Tickets have been exchanged for different seats on the same performance date or a different date for the same show. Returns are only offered if a patron contacts the theater prior to the performance date to let us know they are unable to use the tickets and the performance sells out. Only then are we able to resell the tickets and offer a return to the original ticket holder. Very rarely and under extenuating circumstances, the TCA has offered refunds for account credit. This is for TCA shows only, including National Touring Shows and Special Events. If the performance is not sold out, we do not issue refunds for a renting organization’s tickets. Patrons may contact the individual organization directly to request a refund.
Thank you for taking time to read this blog post, as I endeavor to be honest about what happens behind the scenes of ticket ordering, giving a clearer picture of the moving parts that are involved. I am inclined to enjoy the challenge of problem solving, but I love solving problems for other people. I will continue to do my best to make a night out at the theater most enjoyable. There are limits to what staff can do, however, to ensure that performances start on time and alleviate major issues at the door on the day of a performance. With that, I am happy to unveil our slightly updated Return & Exchange Policy. Thank you for your understanding and your continued patronage of Tecumseh Center for the Arts. See you at the theater!
Joanna Gall | Box Office Manager
Return & Exchange Policy: All exchanges must take place during regular box office hours, Tuesday through Friday from 12:00 pm (Noon) until 5:00 pm and tickets can only be exchanged by the person whose name is on the order. Tickets cannot be exchanged at the window on the day of the performance. Returns for a full refund will only be offered for sold out performances. Refunds for account credit will only be offered for TCA performances, under extenuating circumstances and at the discretion of TCA staff. Refunds for renter organization performances cannot be issued by TCA staff, and will only be honored with approval directly from the organization.
Behind the scenes of Tecumseh Center for the Arts.