10 ways to annoy Box Office staff

Work in a theatre box office and you’ll quickly develop a real love/hate relationship with certain aspects of your job. Most of the time it’s the best job in the world – you’re at the theatre all day – somewhere people go to be entertained only you’re getting paid for it. Box offices are generally fun, open-minded and relaxed workplaces and the vast majority of customers are lovely.

But even with the best job in the world there are always some things – or people – that will drive you mad. Here are our top ten:

  • When you ask a customer what date they want and they say “I don’t mind”. Because you can bet your bottom dollar, whatever date you pick, they won’t be able to make.
  • When friends you never hear from suddenly call…it’s pretty likely they want tickets. And normally it will be the ones you don’t have!
  • You spend ages searching for a customer’s tickets…only to find they ordered Print at Home. The clue is in the name…
  • People who spell their name r-e-a-l-l-y slowly – because SMITH is quite complicated…
  • …but people with REALLY complicated names just leave you guessing! Sometimes it’s like being at a spelling bee.
  • When you ask “how would you like to pay?”…and they say “Theatre Tokens”. Seriously, theatre tokens are fantastic – just not £500 worth all in five pound tokens 2 minutes before curtain up!
  • When you ask for a contact number, it’s like you’ve killed their firstborn. We ask for good reason – lost tickets, cancelled shows, medical emergencies. There are tons of good reasons why we need to know.
  • Customers who ask you a question and wander off before you can answer. You’d be amazed how many people pop in to ask directions and then disappear before you’ve explained.
  • Customers who call while they’re driving. No ticket is that important! There’s a good reason why we politely ask people to call us back when they have parked up.
  • When you ask for a surname, they just keep repeating their reference number. Funnily enough, we haven’t committed 80,000 numbers to memory. But we can DEFINITELY find your tickets in the COBO* box if we look under H for Henderson!

*COBO = Care of Box Office.

Most customers are great…and working in a Theatre Box Office is pretty fabulous, even on a bad day. So if you love theatre as much as we do, why not drop your CV in to your local theatre? Alternatively, check out one of these great sites and keep an eye out for new opportunities:

Creative & Cultural Skills – a great, clean and simple description of working in Box Office
Get In Media – A more in-depth look at duties, skills and what to expect from the role
Arts Jobs – A great site for scoping out new jobs

Working in a box office is one of life’s truly guilty pleasures…and that’s even without the chocolate hob nobs.