Life working at a funeral home
Please be warned if you are easily offended, it you are, please stop here .
Well, I am here to blog about day to day life working at a funeral home. It may some boring to some or interesting to others. I have to say that in my years working at one things get very hectic and in general, people suck. I don’t mind the deceased, it’s the family and friends on the deceased who just piss me off! I’m here to rant, and to give some etiquette lessons to those who plan on attending or planning a funeral. Probably bitching most of the time though. There are days when absolutely nothing happens, then there are the days when all hell breaks loose.
Never ever “just” walk in to a funeral home to make arrangements! CALL FIRST. Why? Because the funeral director may not be there. Why? Because he/she may be on a funeral service, attending another family, out of the office, in a meeting, or gone for the day! So what happens when you just walk in? Well, a few things. One, I am going to be irritated that you just walked in, of course I won’t let you know that. I understand that you just lost a loved one. But what happens is, you are going to be irritated because pretty much no one is here to really help you. I am going to have to explain to you that the director is not available right now. I am going to have to call a director to see if one is available (we have 4 directors), then they are going to have to drive here, which takes time, of course, which means you are going to have to wait. Then, you are going to ask me, “well, can’t you help me/us?” Well, yes of course I can. BUT, I am not a director, so I will not be able to assist you to the fullest. I can take your information, the info on the deceased and kind of get an idea of what kind of arrangements you are looking for. I am the secretary (not greeter), I do, do arrangements, but usually just direct cremations. I cannot sign a funeral contract because I am not a director! If you have specific questions, I may not be able to answer them for you, then what happens? You get irritated! See where I am going with this?
Also, we do not accept payments. I do not know of may funeral homes (at least in my area) that do accept payments. So, when I say “no” do not get an attitude with me. Then this is the best part…….don’t say “what, you don’t take payments? I don’t have any money, how am I suppose to do this, and you won’t accept payments, you expect me to pay and my ‘insert relative here’ just died?” Umm, yeah. We are a business just like the next guy. How are we suppose to keep our doors open if we didn’t make people pay? I realize that funeral are expensive and I have also lost loved ones and have had to pay for their funeral. There are plenty of options available. If you do not have enough money, then there are options. Direct cremation is under $2000. So, if you do not have enough money, then don’t try to plan this big elaborate funeral. You know how much you can afford. Don’t pick out the most expensive casket and vault. Don’t buy a ass load of flowers. Don’t plan of having 2 days of visitation and the 3rd day the funeral service. Have a couple of hours during the day and that’s it. Don’t think just because you are having funeral visitation during the day, before 5pm, that not everyone will be able to attend, believe me, they will! I have had families say that they really didn’t want to have visitation from say, 1 – 3pm, with prayers at 3pm and that concludes the services because they were afraid that not everyone would be able to get out of work on time. But you know what, those usually turn out to be the biggest turn outs!!! If people want to come to pay their respects, they will! Also, just so no one feels guilty, the funeral is NOT for the visitors, it is for the family of the deceased. Do not feel guilty about what you can and cannot afford, it is for YOU, no one else and if others cannot understand that, well, they aren’t the ones paying for it.
Dressing for a funeral or visitation. Please people, seriously can you not find anything else to wear? I mean, sure, rules for dressing have really toned down over the years. You are not required to wear all black. You don’t have to come in a suit even. But, please, can you find something else than that favorite old AC/DC t-shirt you’ve had since 1989? Wear jeans, just wear the pair without holes. Try a nice dress shirt with some nice shoes. Women, no mini skirts and tank tops, that’s just ignorant! I’ve seen it all. For those of you who have children, especially ones in their teens. PLEASE check to see what they are wearing before they leave the house. The red velvet dress with the spaghetti straps and the black platform shoes on your 13 year old is not proper wear for a funeral home! Yes, I have seen it!
NO CELL PHONES during prayers! Turn them off! I mean really! That is the rudest most ignorant thing that people do! The minister/priest is up there saying prayers, it’s quite and all the sudden you hear the ‘baby got back’ ring tone on someones cell phone. Do you know you have the option of vibrate or silent on your cell phone? Then the most retarded thing you can do is actually answer it! Then get up and walk out into the hall way, which by the way, we can still hear you, and talk!
Food. DO NOT BRING FOOD! This has got to be the one thing that irritates me the most. Do you really need to bring in crock pots full of food? Bring in some donuts, maybe some water or soda pop, a meat and cheese tray, etc. But do not bring in full meals, this is not a banquet facility, this is a funeral home. If you get hungry, then leave. Go down the street to the local diner or fast food joint. Get out for a few, you need to clear your head and get away anyway, it will actually do you some good. The funeral is not for “everyone” else, the visitors, it is for YOU! Why do feel the need to bring in ass loads of food? Where do you think you are going to put all that food anyway? There is limited space in the lounge, no we do not have extra tables for the hams you had delivered. (Yes, I had a family that actually had 2 whole hams delivered along with all the fix-ins, plus all the cookies, meat and cheese trays, and fruit baskets, plus the crock pots full of crap). When you ask me for another table and I say, ‘sorry we do not have any extra tables, we do not encourage so much food’. Don’t look at me like I am the devil. Don’t give me any sarcastic remarks either and tell me, ‘well, you should”. If you want to have a feast, then invite people back to your house, or like you should do, WAIT until the day of the funeral service and have the luncheon so you can stuff your face and everyone who attended. Like I said, we are a funeral home, not a banquet facility. Also, there are signs in the lounge that read “Please, keep all food and beverages in lounge, thank you”. So, why do I find cups with coffee in them out in the hallway or on the tables in the chapel? Can you not read? Is there someone there that can read if you can’t? And if so, why did they not tell you that you can’t take it out of the lounge? Why do I find half eaten chili dogs in the ‘wicker’ waste baskets in the chapel? or frosty’s in those baskets as well? That’s ignorant? Would you do that at home? Oh, and my favorite! A wad of gum stuffed in the plants we have on our tables in the hallway. You mean to tell me you couldn’t throw it away in the trash can sitting not more than 3 feet away from you? There are tissues ALL over the place, you couldn’t put you nasty gum in a tissue and throw it in the waste basket? You had to stick in a plant? What is this 3rd grade?
Well, as you see I can go on and on……………….and I will, another day. peace