Life working at a funeral home-Types of families.

Posted in Uncategorized on May 14, 2019 by thefuneralbizz

Here are some names we have for people/families and their definitions.

The Food Worriers

The Outsiders

The parking lot people

The stand-in-the-wayers

The micro managers

The drama seekers or just “drama”. As in “.. Ugh, here comes drama”.

Brats (kids)

Idiot parents

Lounge seekers

Lounge police

The in and outters

The when can we “set up er’s

The don’t want leave “ers”

“High maintenance”

The let’s make a deal guy

The we don’t have any money but….

“Demanding”

The payment plan family (or/and state, veterans, and social security pays tho, right?).

The Food Worriers: My favorite..NOT! These are the families who are more concerned with wether not we allow food in the lounge. They want to see the lounge. Do we have refrigerators. Some ask if we have a stove/oven or microwaves! Do we supply utensils, napkins, plates… some even ask if we supply the food! Why the Hell would we, a funeral home, supply you with food? This is not an uncommon question either! Then they, the family, proceed to sit there and discuss what they will be bringing in and who will be in charge of getting this and getting that. How much will be needed, which is always more than they need! Let me make this clear, Do NOT bring food into the funeral home! Then the focus is now switched to the luncheon. You are now not only going to go out and buy a bunch of shit to bring into the funeral home during your visitation but also plan a luncheon at a restraunt or hall to feed those same people! Why are you feeding people that come to the funeral home to view the body when you are planning a luncheon for after the funeral? Ugh! I am now even seeing families actually have their luncheons BEFORE the burial. So after the service or mass, they go to a luncheon then have to meet at the cemetery at a certain time. And watching them bring “all” their food in is like watching a line of ants taking a bread crumb back to the ant hill. But even tho I’m a lover of nature I still I have this urge to step on all the ants!

Outsiders: Outsiders are those who, well, stand outside for most of the day. Why did you bother coming? And usually they are standing out there smoking. Sometimes drinking… and leaving their empty bottles scattered around or stuffed in the bushes… Classy.

Parking Lot People: these people are kinda like the outsiders except they just stand in the parking lot or tailgate. Yes, tailgate… at the funeral home, during grandma’s visitation… Trashy! They too are usually drinking. Being a Parking Lot person or an Outsider causes services to start late. We have to round you all up like cattle, it’s annoying, irritating, and frustrating!

Stand-in-the-way’er’s: These folks are those who see you coming but don’t move. I can be literally standing in front of someone saying excuse me but NOTHING! If I’m trying to carry flowers in to the room and no one is moving out of my way, I start getting rude and when I’ve gotten rude, people get mad.. how does that work? I’m carrying a big awkward ugly flower arrangement and probably a plant stand trying to maneuver thru a crowd of people but I’m the asshole! Yep.

Micro Managers/Control Freaks: They are those who try and take over the funeral arrangements. WE, the funeral home, do that, not You! You tell us what you want and we do it. That’s it. Let go! These types of people will confuse everyone and ultimately mistakes WILL be made. They like to change things without notifying the funeral home which is a huge problem! These people will in the end blame us for any mistakes even tho they were the ones who told us to do it. They go over things and over again and change things in their own minds and forget to tell anyone else. And that’s always our fault. We ruined grandpas funeral because after the 4th time you changed your mind about the prayer card verse, YOU forgot that you actually did tell us to use the one that got printed on the cards or they want the death notice this way but then forgot to add name, or they misspelled a name or want to write a novel about the deceased but later on call us and want to add more to it but it has to go after this line but before that line and let me remind you if this is to go in in a newspaper, there are deadlines ! So most likely by the time you’ve thought about adding or changing we have already submitted it to the paper which now means we have to contact the paper to make these changes and it just becomes one big pain in the ass!

“DRAMA”. There are just certain people in this world who love drama. It’s like they look for it and if they can’t find it, they create it. This is amplified when dealing with a death. Just put aside your differences for 2 days and get thru the funeral. Don’t look at one another, don’t talk to one another. And more importantly, do not try and drag us into your drama, it won’t work. We don’t really care who you don’t want showing up, we have absolutely no control over who shows up for PUBLIC VIEWING. If you don’t want it public then make it private. But there is no door man. There are no bouncers. We also don’t care that you took care of mom more than your brother did. I just don’t give a shit. If you feel that for any reason there will be fighting, which is really trashy by the way, don’t have a public viewing and funeral then. Or better yet, act like an adult, a respectful adult and just keep your mouth shut. Be the better person. We will not call the police because you don’t want a certain person there, they don’t have the time for your petty DRAMA either but if you begin fighting inside the funeral home, we will call and then it’s not really up to us who the police tell to leave and not come back! So your fighting may just get you kicked out of the funeral home and banned from returning and if you do and we contact the police that you did come back or someone else in the family called to tell them you came back, they will come back and arrest you. Just behave and be a respectful adult! End of story!

Brats. LEAVE THEM AT HOME!! With a sitter, anything but bringing them to sit at a funeral home all Day! And you know your kid is a brat, you aren’t fooling me. Every parent knows if their kid is a brat or not however, most kids will turn into a brat if they are expected to sit at a funeral home all day because of their idiot parents thinking it’s a good idea to haul their asses with them.. which brings me to the next on my list….

Idiot Parents. It is NOT OK to let your child run free around the funeral home!!!!!! I cannot stress this enough. What makes people think that their child should be left unattended and to do as they please for 8 hours at a funeral home? Please someone tell me what exactly goes thru these parents minds!! First and foremost, your child should not be running or screaming!! The funeral home is NOT their playground and it is NOT “your” home!! There are other people there! No one wants to listen to your brat scream and yell. They also should not be permitted to run, at all! They will get hurt or hurt someone else. Maybe there are steps/stairs and they should under no circumstances be allowed to play on or near any steps! I’m not clear on why parents feel it’s ok to let their kids do this, it infuriates me and the rest of the staff. Also, as I’ve said before, there are STRANGERS in the funeral home, you do not know each person that walks into the building! Especially if there is other families there! Anyone can snatch up your child, you wouldn’t let your kids run free at the Mall would You? Don’t be stupid, don’t be an Idiot parent!

The Lounge Seekers. Are just that. They are not concerned about who they showed up to pay their last respects to, nope, they come in the door and are only interested in where the lounge is. They don’t go in the chapel. They seek out the lounge and they seek it out for one purpose… to see what they can shove down their necks!

Lounge Police. These people are typically given this job. To stand watch over “their food”! To make sure that another family or another families guests are not taking any of their food! Also to make sure that they have enough food/drink for their visitors. They too usually stay in the lounge the whole day. If coffee is low, they will send someone else in their family to come let a funeral home employee know instead of them leaving their post to do it!

The in and outters. First Part of the In and Outters: These people don’t understand when you walk out the door after passing by the casket that the service is over. It’s time for you to get in your car and leave or sit there and wait for everyone else for the procession. These people will actually pass by the casket, walk outside the chapel door and walk right back in thru the front door! Why? I’m not sure what these people are afraid of missing out on but you will be ushered out BEFORE we close the casket. If you were not specifically asked to hang back in the chapel then go, go on, get!! Second Part of In and Outters: the ones who can’t stand to sit all the way thru making arrangements without having to get up to go outside to smoke or make phone calls!! That can’t wait one hour? Every time you walk in and out of that door if there is no visitation going on at the same time, the staff has to get up to make sure it’s just you going out the door and not someone else coming into the funeral home.

The When Can We Set Uppers (aka the when can we come in people): let me try and make this as clear as possible. When scheduling your viewing times, there is always usually what is called A Family Hour. It is one hour given to the immediate family only. One hour prior to public viewing. This is and should be considered your time to “set up” whatever the Hell it is you think you have to set up? If you are bringing in photos, it does not take but a few minutes to set a few pictures up. If you are bringing in picture boards then we typically take those from you and set them inside on easels for you, which takes all of 2 minutes. If you are bringing in a DVD, it literally takes seconds to put the DVD into the DVD player! If you insist on bringing in food (Which you shouldn’t be!!!!) all of this can and should be done during the family hour!! So when we hear “ok, so what time should we come in to set up”? We cringe! We just set your times for the love of cheese!! And if one hour is not enough time for you to “set up”, then you have too much shit! Period!

The We don’t want to leave ‘ers (can also be classified as the In and Outters): At the end of the evening, when your visitation is over, go HOME! Get out! You paid for these hours. We do close! And the evening staff does not want to be there Any longer. And just because they get paid by the hour means nothing, they still want to go home. They still have work to do once you leave and when you don’t want to leave they can’t get their work done. This also applies to when a funeral service is held at the funeral home during day hours but there is no burial so all services conclude at the funeral home. It never fails that no one gets it, even tho the Director makes their speech after the clergy is done. “The family of so and so would like to thank you all for being here today. This does conclude all services today and I would like to invite each of you to pass by the casket once last time before exiting thru the chapel doors as again, this does conclude all services. If we could please start with those in the back. Thank you”. So, what do you think happens here? They pass by the casket and turn around and come back in. It’s over! Leave! Go away! Ugh! Now we still have a bunch of people still hanging around and we need to get you out so we can finish working! This person is more than likely being cremated so once you all get your asses out of the funeral home we have to take that person to the crematory. You are only holding everything up. You are also being disrespectful to the family who will want to spend alone time before we close the casket.

The Lets Make a Deal Guy: This is not the game Lets Make a Deal. This is what the costs are and that is what you pay. There are no discounts because you used our funeral home for all of your family. Usually the first thing out of these people’s mouth is, “so, what can you do for us, what can you discount because you know we always use your funeral home”. It really makes for an awkward moment because we are going to say, “oh, well we appreciate all of your business and putting your trust in us but no, unfortunately there are no discounts. But we can certainly work with you in finding a Funeral that fits your budget”. “Awww, whattya mean, after all the business we give you”? Yep, even after all the business you give us because I’m certain that you probably shop at the same grocery store and I can’t imagine that once your groceries are all rang up you don’t say to the cashier, “so, what’s the discount since we do all of our shopping here”? I’m also pretty certain you shop for groceries more than you make funeral arrangements!

“We don’t have any money but”: when we sit down with you to begin making arrangements, one of the first things we ask is wether or not you’ve had a chance to discuss with your family or if you know what type of services you are wanting. This is where the ‘we don’t have any money but we really want to have a one day viewing and then the service/mass the following day and then burial, but we are really limited on funds, so we can’t really afford alot’. Ugh!! Well.. then you most likely will not be getting a one day next day.. sorry. These people can almost be part of the “let’s make a deal crowd”, because I guess they ‘think’ since that’s what they want, we have to give it to them when in reality no, no we don’t. You will find the money or you will have to settle for other services. If you are aware you have little money to spend then why not say, “we have very little money, what type of services can you provide with this budget”?

“Demanding”: These are the people who think we have some power over time and deadlines. Over other people. Over just about anything. We don’t. These people are usually use to getting their way and they behave entitled. I don’t have the patience for them… If you want a certain day and time for Mass and when we contact the church and we are told that Father is not available at that time or there is another funeral at that time there is no other option then settling for a different time or day. We have had people ask us if we would contact a family who was having visitation on the day they wanted because they wanted to use the chapel that the other family was going to be using. Are you kidding me? Just to let you all know, we did not ask the other family to switch. These people are also the ones who feel that deadlines don’t apply to them. We let them know we need the photo of grandpa by a certain time for the obit but the clock is ticking and low and behold we have to call them and ask them where it’s at. So many times I’ve been ‘told, “Oh, they’ll wait”! No, they will not! They want certain things that we just can’t get but usually because of time constraints. Especially death certificates! It’s almost impossible to rush getting a death certificate. We are literally at the mercy of the signing doctor. Once the doctor does sign it, then we can try and hurry to get it filed and get your copies but I just love those families that expect that when they show up to make arrangements that we have the death cert for them and even when told the procedure they still insist on telling us that they “have” to have them asap. Yeah, I get it, you have to have them but I’m telling you it just ain’t gonna happen. You can bitch all you want, your bitching to the wrong person and no, I’m not lying to you or dragging my feet. You wanna bitch at someone, call the doctor!

The payment plan families: we do not accept payments and there are not many funeral homes in my area that will accept payments. Some families come in assuming they will be allowed to make payments and get a bit upset when told we don’t accept payments. Many people will call to get pricing and ask if we take payments. When we tell them no, I’ve had several people get angry and ask, “how do you expect people to pay for all of that”? I know it’s a Lot of money but it’s not a secret either! But during the actual arrangement we tell the family that payment is due by day of service. That is when most will say, “Oh, we can’t make payments”? No, sorry. We’ve had a few families get up and walk out and some of those families end up coming back because after leaving our funeral home and going to other funeral homes and have been told the same thing… this is another example of only planning for what you can afford. A direct cremation in my area is under $1600. Use a life insurance if the deceased had one. Get a small loan from a funeral funding company. These families also think that the State pays if they can’t afford it. No, they will only pay up to a certain amount (Which in my area is less than $500) and you have to apply and be approved! And you cannot exceed a total amount of $3900. Then a lot of people assume if the deceased was a veteran that there are all these benefits. Unfortunately there aren’t. I do feel that Veterans do deserve way more than what is offered ! Veterans benefits consist of free burial at a National Cemetery, a grave liner, a headstone/marker, military honors and a burial flag. That’s all. And as far as social security goes, they pay nothing toward a funeral. Social security only pays a surviving spouse or dependant child a one time death benefit of $255.

I’m sure i could list more, but this sums it up.

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Life at a funeral home- “that donation site”.

Posted in Uncategorized on February 26, 2019 by thefuneralbizz

I may get some shit for this but I just don’t care.. I won’t say what site I am referring to, I’ll just call it “A donation site”. You all can figure it out.

So, we get some families who have little to work with, money wise. We do our best to work with them on finding a funeral that fits their budget. Some are grateful, some still don’t have the funds for anything, and some just aren’t happy and want “it all”! We have some families who hold fundraisers and or post it on that donation site.

Let me start by saying that we do not and will not wait for that money. If you are having a fundraiser you will have to either have the fundraiser and then the funeral or pay first then keep the money from your fundraiser to pay yourself back, same goes for when you may use a donation site. We have absolutely no connection to any donation website and no, we will not agree to have anything to do with it. We will not wait to receive payment from them or wait until you receive payment from them. We have no interest in if we can go to that website and see that the money has been donated, we will not wait! Period. You can sit here and tell me all day long that you just know that there will be lots of donations, everyone you know will donate, blah blah blah.. Don’t care. We will not wait. Maybe there are other funeral homes that will and good for them but not ours.

But.. my point in writing this is about the irritation we feel when we do see the listing for this person on this donation site and what the family is asking for or what the ‘story’ is, what they wrote. It is so FRUSTRATING when we see that the family or whoever made the posting is asking for an insane amount of money and when the story goes something like this…

“My sister died unexpectedly and we want to give her a proper funeral. We are asking for your help in giving her a much deserved funeral but the costs are extremely high and we just cannot afford to do this on our own. Please help by contributing”. And then they have the option of asking for whatever amount.

So, what infuriates us the most is when I see this and there is a donation goal or in the ‘story it says some absurd amount, like $10,000. Even $6000! Why? Because if you KNOW you cannot afford something that expensive, then DON’T PURCHASE IT!! And don’t ask for others to pay for it either if YOU KNOW there are other less expensive options OR you have already chosen the less expensive options but are telling EVERYONE that it cost more! I’ve seen so many families asking for some insane amount of money to cover funeral/burial expenses when they have already paid for much cheaper services. Here are these people who actually donate their hard earned money to these liars to pay for something that has already been paid for. It also makes it look like the funeral home is charging some outrageous amount for some simple inexpensive services. It gives us a bad name. And what are you doing with all this money you are getting that you clearly are not giving to the funeral home? If it’s for the deceaseds young children, then state that on the donation site!!

Just recently we had a family who did this for a young woman. They said they needed help paying for her funeral and burial. They were asking for $7500!! First let me say that yes, you can easily spend that amount on funeral and burial. If you do not have the money then obviously you should NOT! Secondly, this family did not choose services that exceeded $4000. There was no burial. It was a cremation. There were no children either. So, tell me why the $7500?

And again…. choose options you can afford!! You (or the deceased) does not “need” an expensive funeral! If you disagree then please, tell me why. What is the purpose? What is the purpose behind spending thousands of dollars on a funeral? There is not one good reason. I don’t even care if the deceased was a millionaire. And for the love of Pete, do not come in to a funeral home for arrangements, sit down, look at the Director and say, “just to let you know, we have no money, but we have to have a visitation and then a funeral service and preferably burial”! Instead, just say that you have very limited funds and need to do something that is very inexpensive. And be prepared to do the bare minimum. Don’t say “since we have little money, what can you do for us, what type of discounts can you offer”? Uhhh, none. We have some options that cost less but those come with stipulations and most of the other funeral homes are the same. This isn’t a used car lot. And don’t go on that donation site and ask people to donate toward your funeral costs and lie about the charges!! I wish I could comment on that site under certain pages that I’m aware of that are asking for more money than needed. To those of you who think about donating, don’t. Call the funeral home and make a payment to them directly! The funeral probably will not give you what the amount of the bill is but they will give you a receipt for your payment. And if the bill has been paid in full already, we will NOT take your money, we will tell you that it’s been paid. You can call and do a payment by phone. Go in person. Mail it in. Just write a note with your payment that you want it to go toward so and so’s funeral bill. You can even say you do or don’t want the family to know. We will let them know if you want us too, up to you. This way you know your hard earned money is going to what it’s suppose to.

In addition to my previous post

Posted in Uncategorized on February 12, 2019 by thefuneralbizz

Re: Flowers

DO NOT.. DO NOT.. stand over our shoulders as we are putting flowers in the chapel.

It is so so so so so so very annoying! Here we are carrying these heavy awkward flower arrangements and maneuvering our way thru a bunch of people who 90% of the time not move out of the way for us and then here you come running up behind me as soon as you see I’m about to set down yet another flower delivery just so you can see who it’s from!! You can’t wait one more freaking minute until I set it down and walk away?

Life at a funeral home – Donations!!

Posted in Uncategorized on February 11, 2019 by thefuneralbizz

Please consider donations instead of flowers….or food!

For one, I HATE carrying all those hideous flower arrangements. Ok, some are pretty, even cute, but for the most part I find they are just ugly and you spend way too much money on them!! If you are going to spend THAT much money on flowers don’t you think all that money you just WASTED would be better spent donating to a charity? Even if there is no Charity listed and the family didn’t specify, donate to one of your choosing! Think about the illness (if there was one) that caused your friends/relatives death, donate directly to the family!! The charity you donate to usually has a “In Memorium of” and will notify the family that you donated to that charity in that persons name. It’s not about “showing off” how much money you spent on the biggest flower arrangement in the room.. some families get so many flowers they end up leaving them and most of them get thrown away, so why not put your money to a good cause instead of throwing it away, literally. Oh, and for those who say they order plants, same thing, for the most part, especially if the family has received a lot of flowers, they still won’t take them and they won’t give them away to someone else, they just really don’t want to be bothered with having to take them all home. So quit wasting your money on flowers but….. don’t decide to buy food either and if you still want to, contact the funeral home first and ask if they have any idea if there has been anyone else who has had food delivered or if the family is bringing in food because there comes a point when there is too much food. Whether it be cookies, cheese and crackers, lunch meats, veggies, etc.. And don’t have meals sent! The funeral home is NOT a banquet hall! It’s not a restraunt! It’s not a party either. It’s a freaking funeral home and unless the funeral home you use actually has space for that type of set up, just DON’T think you can bring all this food. And yeah, I get that in certain areas this is encouraged but in some areas it is not. I personally feel (as you all know) that too much emphasis is put on food. I think it’s ridiculous. I’ve had families say how disappointed they are that we don’t have enough space for everyone in the lounge so they can eat. And we remind them that it’s not their luncheon, it’s their visitation/funeral, their luncheon is for AFTER the funeral at a Hall or restraunt not the funeral home. So many times I hear the family say during their arrangements, “we are allowed to bring food, right? We are going to be here ALL DAY, it’s going to be a long day, so we will want to have some food to snack on and of course for any guests who want something”! Here is my solution to this.. Don’t stay all day! You are allowed to actually leave you know. As I have stated so so many times before, take turns with other family members and go eat at a restraunt or go to a drive thru! You DO NOT need to feed guests!! You are not expected to provide anything for those coming to pay their respects! Have a luncheon AFTER the funeral if you want to do something and again, you do not have to even provide a luncheon!! I think many people feel they are expected to do so because that’s how it’s “always been”, you DON’T! Most people struggle to pay for the funeral so a luncheon is just added stress! Stop with all the emphasis on FOOD! Also to prevent you being at the funeral home all day.. don’t have an all day visitation. Just have a half day, you can do whatever times you want. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise. If you only want to have your viewing from 4pm-9pm, 2pm-7pm, 12pm-4pm, whatever time you want!

Sorry I haven’t been posting a lot, have had a lot going on personally and at work. I’m working on another post, hopefully it will be done soon.

Hope everyone is taking care during these winter months, it’s been a long winter and I’m looking forward to Spring!

Life at a funeral home-Can’t we all just get along??

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on July 8, 2018 by thefuneralbizz

Can’t we all just get along?

Apparently not. It is extremely frustrating to deal with families who do not get along. Or when there are certain family members who create problems or drama.

I know that death seems to bring out the worst in people but shouldn’t it be the other way around? And can’t you just put aside your differences for a few minutes so you can say good bye to your loved one?

Here’s the thing, I don’t care about your family issues. I don’t care who did what to who or who said what to who, we just really don’t care. Please do not drag us, try to drag us, into your issues. Our job is to give your loved one a proper funeral. We will work very hard to do so, even when you are giving us a hard time. It’s our job and we take it very seriously. So, for one, we don’t have time to get involved in your family drama and two we dont want to.

Work out your differences PRIOR to coming in for the visitation or even better, before making arrangements. Please don’t call us and tell us your life story and all the reasons why so and so should not be allowed to come to the funeral home. I’ve mentioned this in past posts.. we are not a bar and we do not have bouncers! The funeral home is a public building and if someone wants to come in to pay their respects and do so respectfully, then they may do so! If for some chance anyone starts yelling and fighting then we will call the police and let them handle it. I personally feel it’s disrespectful and immature to cause a problem, yell, or fight at a funeral! Don’t show up just to piss someone off. Why? If you know you are not welcome, don’t come. It’s as simple as that. Yeah yeah yeah, I know… why shouldn’t you be able to come and see your loved one. Well, to be honest, you should!! You should be mature enough to be able to do without causing a fight! It should go both ways, if you are at the funeral home and someone shows up who you dislike, you should just keep your mouth shut, avoid that person and refrain from any interaction with them. It’s really that simple. No one is asking you to sit with them, no one is asking you to talk to them, so don’t!

Be the bigger person. Put aside your differences for just a few minutes and be respectful!!

Do not ask us to let you come at a different time! Do not ask us to let you come in and not tell the person who made arrangements! The person who made the arrangements is the person in charge. We have to have a person who is in “charge” in case of questions, etc.. the person who made the arrangements is also usually the person who is paying for the funeral. How would you like it if you made arrangements and paid $5000-7000 and someone asked us to go behind your back? I bet you’d be pretty pissed off if you found out and you would also hold the funeral home responsible! Do not ask us to change times because you feel you should have that time alone with the deceased. The times are set by the person who made the arrangements and paid for by the same person so if you want to come in 2 hours early because you don’t want to be there when everyone else is and the person who made the arrangements agrees that you can visit at anytime you want, you will have to pay for that time! And really do not ask us to re arrange everything! Once arrangements have been made, we immediately start scheduling things. Cemetery times get set, Mass times, clergy gets scheduled, limo/hearse gets scheduled. Paperwork gets started, obituaries get submitted, funeral home staff get scheduled, etc.. it’s a pain in the ass to reschedule anything!

The reason i bring this topic up is because we recently had a family where one side did not like/get along with the other side. One side said they had no problem whatsoever with the other side being there. They said it was this man’s funeral and they would be respectful and they had no issues. Well, the other side claimed that if they did show up during the hours that were set that there would be all kinds of fighting and yelling. We told them that the other side said they were more than welcome but they weren’t having any part of that and insisted we let them come after the other side was done with their visitation. Well the problem is that their viewing time was until 9pm. My boss said no. They could come earlier before the visitation (the other side of family did say they could come outside of their hours if they wished to but they would have to pay for their own time). Nope, they did not want to come earlier. The viewing was set for 12pm-9pm. They said it was too early for them and it has to be after. Again, my boss said No! You can come in before and pay for the time you are here or you’ll have to just come during regular hours and be an adult around the other side of your family who said they did not care! They threw a fit. Saying WE were keeping them from their loved one, WE were keeping them from grieving properly. They then said they would pay us for a few hours the following day. We explained to them that it was not possible because the funeral/burial was the next day. Everything was already scheduled and paid for by the person who made arrangements! They wanted us to call the person who made arrangements and tell them that they would be having a separate viewing and that the funeral and burial would take place the next day!!! My boss finally just told them we were no longer involved and if they wanted to see their loved one they would need to work it amongst themselves. That he did not care about their family problems and to not contact us again about this. If they wanted to really see their loved one, they would behave appropriately and come for viewing when it was scheduled! Needless to say, they were not happy about this and it turns out they just never showed up. Which I guess is a good thing since they knew they could not behave! It’s sad really.. And what’s even more sad is that they blamed us, the funeral home from keeping them from “grieving properly”, when in fact it is themselves who are to blame!

Along the same lines, the obit. When their are issues within the family and we get calls about who should be included in it or not included in it. Again, we take our direction from the person who is making the arrangements aka the informant. We have NO CLUE if names are being left out! We do not know how many children, siblings, grandchildren, great grandchildren, cousins, aunts, or uncle’s this person may have and we certainly do not know the names of any if them! So during arrangements the informant is asked for names for the obit. Those are the names we list. When you call the funeral home and ask US why wasn’t so and so listed, how the Hell would I know? Or when you call and say to take someone’s name out. Well, I’m not going to do that because you are not the informant. Also, when the person who was excluded from the obit calls madder then Hell because they were not included, I’m not going to add your name unless I am given the ok by the informant! Again, this is a family issue!! Take it up with your family!

So, please, either put aside your differences just for a few minutes, be the bigger person, be respectful when attending a visitation and or funeral, take care of your family problems outside of the funeral home, and do not involve the funeral home in your family drama!

Happy Summer!!

Life at a funeral home-Stuff

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on February 18, 2018 by thefuneralbizz

I know, it’s been forever since I’ve posted. To be honest I haven’t had anything new to post about. I mean, I still have a lot of venting I can tell ya all about… that is the reason I started this blog years ago. I’ve got a lot of negative feedback for my bitching, so I tried to not complain so much but I thought, why am I letting others dictate what I want to say, so I’m not going to NOT bitch about what I want and need to. I can only complain so much to family and friends and co workers. My co workers all bitch about the same things. I know all jobs can be frustrating and I believe that letting yourself vent about it helps you deal with it better. So anyway, here are some things I wanted to say..

If you are not the beneficiary on a life insurance policy, you cannot assign the policy to the funeral home. If you are not the beneficiary on the policy and we do accept an assignment because the beneficiary did sign to authorize the assignment, no, we cannot somehow arrange for the portion that is due to the beneficiary to go to you instead! Whoever the beneficiary is will receive any amount due to them once the insurance company pays the funeral home. The funeral home only requests the amount of the charges for the funeral and that is all the insurance company sends the funeral home. Any amount that is left over is sent directly to the beneficiary listed on the policy! No, we cannot request it be mailed to anyone else. We have absolutely no control who the beneficiary is! The owner of the life insurance policy appoints a person to be beneficiary. Not us! It does not have to be a spouse or child, you can appoint anyone you wish, but again it is the owner of the policy! Even if you try to pull a fast one and somehow insert your address on the assignment with the beneficiaries signature, that check will still be made out to the beneficiary! If by some chance you do that and receive the check and you sign that person’s name, it’s illegal!

Also, if you want the funeral home to accept an assignment, do not call the insurance company before we do and tell them you are not doing a funeral home assignment because when we do call them, they will tell us that you have already called and stated that you are not assigning the policy to the funeral home. We have had quite a lot of people do this thinking that some how if they do this they are pulling a fast one on us. I guess they figure if they just tell us they have spoken to the insurance company and told them they would be assigning the policy to us that we just accept that.. no, we HAVE to contact them to get information from them.

Not all life insurance companies accept a funeral home assignment. This is why WE call the ins co. to verify that they will accept an assignment. It is no fault of the funeral home if the life insurance policy you have is not assignable. And no, we will not wait on the insurance company to pay you. Your bill is due by day of service, in full. I’m not saying all people are not trustworthy enough to pay us once they receive the check from the life insurance company, but we aren’t taking that chance. We’ve done it in the past only for it to bite us in the ass and we never hear from the family again, never get paid, from the very people who swear to God they will pay that bill as soon as they get that check. No amount of phone calls from us or bills we send them matter. It is not our fault, like I said, if they will not take an assignment and we are very up front with our families about how the process works usually BEFORE the family even comes into the funeral home to make arrangements. Some families will ask us upon calling about the life insurance or while we are on the phone discussing arrangement appointment we will let the family know that if they wish to bring in a policy we will contact them for them and possibly take an assignment if the insurance company allows one. It’s never a guarantee and we certainly do not lead you to believe it will be guaranteed. The amount of the policy is also not a guarantee. Sometimes, most of the time, the ins company will not release the amount the policy is worth to the funeral home. Sometimes there are loans out against the policy so the amount you think is available is not. Again, some ins companies will not release that info to us. If the funeral bill exceeds the amount of the policy, the family will owe the difference.

And here I go about food again, sorry… About a year ago there was a Facebook page that I use to follow. It was a funeral blogger who set up the page for others in the funeral industry and for those who are just simply interested in it. I am no longer on Facebook, so I’m not sure if the page even still exists, but anyway, the person who ran the page would post question/topics and everyone would answer or comment. There was a post about how every one felt about food at the funeral home during visitation. Of course I responded! I don’t recall my exact words but I know that I said I thought it was ridiculous how much attention is put on the food, how the food sometimes becomes the main focus, that the amount of food that is brought into the funeral home is absurd and that we do not allow crock pots or anything that requires to be kept warm or heated. That the families even have asked us if we have an oven/stove, microwave, plates, utensils, etc.. Well what I was unaware of is that in other parts of the country (U.S.), food is more than welcomed and even encouraged, mainly in the South. I of course received some negative comments but also some that agreed with me. My intentions were not to say that it should not be allowed anywhere, I was saying that “I” don’t like it, it is not encouraged at our funeral home and most funeral homes in my area. If you live someplace that encourages it, then fine, I don’t care, but where I am, it’s a nuisance and most of the funeral homes in my area feel the same. It’s not that we do not allow anything, but when families have to go overboard with having food catered in for during the visitation, well, no we don’t allow that. Sometime families do it anyway without asking and of course we don’t make them remove the food (unless it’s being kept warm with crock pots, steno plates, etc). We do not have a large facility and it becomes an issue. There is no room for it! People pack in and to be perfectly honest, most people make a mess. Maybe not on purpose, but they do. There are typically children who are not being watched as well and kids will make a mess. Who has to clean this mess? Our staff. People do not care about our facility. It’s a shame really that people have no consideration for our funeral home. We work very hard to keep it clean, to look nice for our families but in return many of those families or visitors of those families do not care to appreciate the work we put into keeping it nice, they do not have the common sense to see that their child or someone else’s child is spilling their juice on the furniture or dropping candy all over the floor that now others have stepped on and it is being tracked thru not only the lounge but in our chapels into our carpet. Ultimately this can be a reason our prices go up. And of course this is all just my opinion but it still boggles my mind why the family feels they have to have food for the people who are coming to visit/pay their respects to the deceased. I get that the family may want to have something while they are there all day, that’s fine but when you start bringing in bag after bag and coolers filled with beverages and ice and crock pots.. it’s just not necessary. As I’ve said before, it’s a funeral home not a restaurant not a banquet hall, not your home. We are not set up as a restaurant, banquet hall, bar, etc. When so much food is brought in, the space available becomes crowded, over crowded. There is more food than people. No room for people to sit and eat or drink. People then will take their food and stand or go to an area that is not designated for eating or drinking (we do not allow food or drink outside the lounge) and now we have people dropping crumbs and spilling things. To be honest, it’s aggravating and frustrating to have to tell a grown adult to please go into the lounge if they want to eat or drink, that you cannot have food anyplace else. I find most people do not like to be told they cannot eat or drink any other place and we receive rude remarks or the rolling of the eyes or the argument that there is no room in the lounge. Well, then there shouldn’t be that much food that over half the visitors are in the lounge! Again, these are my opinions and pet peeves. I know there are places, like I mentioned that don’t mind the food and that’s great, but we do mind. I also mind when the family asks us about if food is allowed and we tell them yes, but nothing that has to be kept warm and that we do recommend keeping what food you bring in simple. Snacks, fruits and veggies, sandwiches, subs, etc. and what do they show up with? Crock pots. Full dinners. And I suppose it’s because people fail to listen…. or they just don’t care.

When a family comes in to make arrangements, at some point we will ask if they want an obit it the paper and also let them know that we can post it on our website. I think these days most people go on line to read the news and check obits. When we gather the info from the family for the obit, we have our way of doing so. We of course will ask how they would like the deceased name to read, then the spouse of the deceased, wether the spouse is living or passed. Then comes any children and their spouse, siblings and their spouses (if they want the spouses listed), grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces, nephew’s, etc… Typically when starting with the children we start with the oldest child first and go from there, same with siblings, grandchildren, and so on. We tell the family that is how it will read, that is our format. If the family prefers to write their own, that’s fine as well. There is no other reason we put someone’s name first, wether it be children, siblings, grandchildren, etc. We only go by oldest first. It does not mean that the first person listed is the one paying the funeral bill, it does not mean that person is in “charge”, it does not mean that person was liked more than anyone else! And we only have names of those people because that is what the family gave to us. We have NO idea if the family left someone out, wether on purpose or by mistake! We have NO idea if the family may have given us an incorrect spelling of a name. We only list who the family tells us to list. I cannot begin to count the number of times that we have received calls from relatives upset that their name is not in the obit, that a name is spelled wrong, why is so and so listed before this person, why isn’t this person listed!! And then they demand we change it. First off, why are you contacting us FIRST? Speak to your family, the ones who came in to make the arrangements and second, why are you so quick to blame the funeral home and be angry with us? And lastly, we aren’t going to change anything with out the ok from the person who is in charge aka informant. We also get families who bring in a photo for us to place with the obit. We DO NOT choose the photo, the family does. Many times families will pick an older photo of the deceased. Why, I don’t know, maybe that photo is sentimental to them, maybe it was the deceaseds favorite photo of themselves, we don’t know and to be perfectly honest, we don’t care. That is what we were given and told to use and that is what we do. Again, why do people ask us why WE chose to use that photo? “It looks nothing like them” “that’s an old photo, why are we using that”? Again, we did not pull that photo out of thin air… And further more what makes people think we are going to change anything because they want us to change It? Wouldn’t you be a bit upset if someone changed the obit or photo you wanted because a friend of the deceased called upset because they ‘feel’ a different photo should have been used instead of the one you chose?

Another thing that can be extremely irritating is when we have a funeral service at the funeral home and after the Priest, Pastor, Reverend, etc.. is done, the Director will then speak to everyone and give instructions. This will usually include any luncheon that will be held, if we are going in procession to cemetery or if we are just meeting at cemetery, the Director will also tell everyone that they will be given the opportunity to pass by the casket to pay your last respects and then please exit the funeral home and proceed to your vehicle, turn your bright head lights on and to please pay attention, as we will be leaving shortly and of course pay attention to the car ahead of you, stay close but a safe distance in the procession. Now, if there is no procession to the cemetery because this person will be cremated, the Director will still go thru all the announcements but instead of giving instructions on following in the procession, he/she will still let everyone pass by the casket one last time to pay your final respects and please exit the funeral (usually thru one of the doors in that particular chapel, which will be open at that point) as this does conclude ALL services. Once all friends and family have passed by the casket and exited the funeral home, we always allow immediate family their last few minutes. We close any doors to that chapel, inside and out as a way of giving them their privacy and also a way of letting it be known that you are not really welcome back into the chapel, so the family can have their privacy. So basically we are trying to get you to leave, get out of the funeral home without coming out and saying, “exit the funeral home and please do not come back in. For some reason people just have a hard time doing this. It never fails, people will exit out the chapel doors and walk right back in thru the front door. Of course some time it’s to use the restroom, but other times it’s just them standing around or they try to get back into the chapel. If we are leaving for the cemetery, you need to be in your car! We are on a schedule! Other times people will come back in and go into the lounge and stand around, eating or drinking or whatever. There is no reason to come back in! Also, if you were not asked to stay in the chapel with the family, by the family, don’t think you ‘should’ be in there. If you do try to go in, we will tell you no, you can’t. Of course I’ve been told several times that “I’m going in anyway”. There are those people who come back in then find out that the procession is getting ready to leave and then act rushed or as if they had no idea… I’ve had people in their cars get out of their cars to go talk to someone or come into funeral home to use restroom and they are holding everything up. We have also left without those people ! You are not special, so it’s always amazing when those very people get upset that the WHOLE procession did not wait for them. But, if there is no procession it seems as tho people just won’t leave? Why? They will walk right past the doors and just stand there. Doing nothing but being in the way. They can clearly see we are trying to wrap things up and give the family their time. Also, after the family has gone up and are done, we ask if they would like to stay while we close the casket. Some families choose to stay others do not. When they do not stay, we wait until they exit the funeral home to close the casket and those people who are ‘still lingering will ask why we aren’t closing the casket as if they feel we need to do so for them. I guess I’m just always amazed at how people feel they have a say in what goes on or how things should be done when they really aren’t anyone important to the family. Not just with them hanging around when they should be minding their own business but with anything funeral related. I’m sure most people feel as if they are “helping” the family, their intentions are good but really they just need to not concern themselves with it. Unless the family has asked you specifically for your help, then don’t ‘help! We really won’t release anything to anyone other than the next of kin or informant anyway. We have a list, a Funeral Day List that we will give to the family the evening prior to day of funeral and ask that they fill it out. On that list it asks for names of the Pall Bearers, the first few cars in the procession, name and address of the luncheon if there will be one and a section to list what needs to be removed from the casket before closing it and a section to list who is authorized to come back to the funeral home to pick up any flowers and any other family belongings such as the sign in book, photos and death certificates. So, if you come to the funeral home and say you want to pick up the flowers because you want to help the family, you are wasting your time if you are not on that Funeral Home List. I don’t care if you are their neighbor or friend for 30 years, if you are not on the list, you will not take anything!

If you do not have a priest, Pastor, etc… the funeral home will find one for you. So during the arrangement, we will tell you that we will call someone for you and once we find someone we will coordinate times. If you want your funeral service to start at say 11am, well, we will ask if the clergy is available at that time however, if he or she is not, we have to schedule around their availability. We will also post on our website that funeral service times are pending, until we get that time. So even tho you want it at 11am does not mean it will be at 11am, we will try, but it’s not a guarantee. So please do not begin telling your family friends it will be at the time you want! Please wait until you hear back from us. Do not post it on social media either until you have heard and confirmed times with us! Too many times people call and say that they read on Facebook that the service is at such and such time and we tell them no it’s not, it’s at this time, they ask US if we are sure!! YES I’m sure!! People/Families are too quick to decide when they want the funeral. Most likely the days you want will be fine and we will accommodate you but times are never a guarantee. Especially if you want a Mass at church. It is when the church is available and when clergy is available. You may want Mass at 10am on a Wednesday but we do not know if the Priest is available, if maybe there is another funeral mass scheduled thru another funeral home. These things need to be done at the time of arrangements and confirmed. So when you post days and times on Facebook, tons of people are going to see this and now they all have the wrong info and what happens is once we post it on our website or they maybe see it in the paper if you placed an obituary in the paper, they begin calling the funeral home. They question us about days and times and we tell them when it is….. they go into the story about how they read on Facebook or so and so saw it on Facebook and said it was this day ad time. Well, I’m sorry they posted the wrong info but I’m telling you when it is. Believe me!! I despise when I get asked, ‘Are you sure? YES, I’m sure!

Ok.. there is my venting, for now..

Life at a funeral home – stuff

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 10, 2017 by thefuneralbizz

Who has the right to pick up the cremated remains from the funeral home? The person who is handling the funeral arrangements aka the informant, the person paying the bill. Usually, but not always, the informant is the next of kin. If the informant tells us that someone else is allowed to pick them up, then fine, but NOT UNLESS they tell us and tell us who that person is! I don’t care who you are or what your relationship to the deceased is, unless we were told specifically by the informant that you are allowed to pick them up, you are not getting them! It’s not because we are being mean, it’s because we have to follow certain rules. Say for instance you are the deceaseds sibling but the deceaseds child made the arrangements and is listed as informant (and is the legal next of kin), but you feel that you have the right to pick up your brothers/sisters cremated remains. Regardless of how I even feel about it, it’s not us to make that call. That is why we have what is called the informant  (contact person). If you feel that you should be able to pick them up, discuss this with your family and if you disagree, again, discuss it with your family not the funeral home! Same goes for the death certificates,  which I’ve talked about several times. And it does not matter to me or make one bit a difference if you tell me that they won’t mind. we’ve heard it all before and in the end only to be yelled at and held accountable by the informant and it makes the funeral home look bad and incompetent.

As far as picking things up from the funeral home, such as the cremated remains, any cremation jewelry, death certificates, work excuses, your flowers after your fineral, etc.. If we are closing at our normal business hours   (which will mean if we are not having a visitation) you will have to come before we close or wait until the following day. I’m not sure why people think we are in the office 24/7. We are available for ’emergency’ calls or first calls 24/7, not because you need an excuse for work, or even because you need to drop off clothing. If we know we are waiting on clothing, we make it clear to those families what time you have to have the clothing to us. If we tell you we close at 6pm, we close at 6pm! Not 6:30pm. Do not show up after that time, realize we are closed then call the funeral home, get the answering service and act as if you have been inconvenienced because YOU showed up late without calling to inform us that you are running late and ask if will be there or if someone can wait or meet you at a certain time.

If you call the funeral home after business hours you will be speaking to our answering service. Our answering service follows a guideline when taking calls. They will gather information from the caller to pass on to the person/director on call. This seems to annoy some people. They are only doing their job, correctly. I understand emotions run high when a death occurs but the info they are asking is necessary.

Now, I feel as if some people just don’t grasp the concept of BEING ON TIME. When you plan a funeral everything that happens once you finalize those arrangements is usually time sensitive. We, the funeral home are now on a tight schedule. From the obit to getting the deceased dressed and casketed. It becomes extremely frustrating to us when things do not run smoothly and ON TIME and we do have to rely on the family for certain things. You want a photo for the obit, you need to have it to us by the deadline! Otherwise, its not going to be published, there is no being a few minutes late. Clothing always seems to be a big issue, I don’t know why! We always tell the family we must have clothing by such and such day/time! It never fails that they never bring it on timer nor do they call to let us know they are running late. It is so important for us to get the clothing because we must cosmetize the deceased, if a woman her hair more than likely needs to be styled…There are just a lot of little things to be done and done ON TIME.

If your loved one is near death then spend your time with them. Too many people want to come in and go over things while their loved one may pass at any minute. You will only have to come back to the funeral home once they pass anyway. There are also times when someone is put into hospice care or taken off life support and the family assumes that death will occur very soon after that. That is not always the case. It could very well take only minutes or hours but there are times, more often then not, where the person has lived for days, weeks, even months. You just don’t know, you can’t predict those things.  Hospice workers as well as hospital staff tell families that they should be preparing because death is imminent. Well, there is not that much you can do as far as pre planning/pre paying. If your loved one is near death and not expected to make it much longer…..stay with them! Pre planning is always a good idea, but its meant to be done before death in near. Do it well in advanced so it doesn’t have to be something you or your family has to worry about at the last dayts of your life. If you come to us when your loved one could be taking their last breath at any moment, sure we can get everything wrote down, but to pre payat that time is pretty much useless. First, the funeral home cannot just hold your money. The money yoiu pay us goes to a pre need company that holds that money in a Trust so to speak. Once that person passes, we fill out a form and send that form to this company along with a death certificate. The company then turns around and pays us that money. So its just senseless to do all that paperwork when more than likely yoiu loved one will pass before the pre need company even receives it all…So, just spend those last hours, days with your family. If you want, write down what it is they want, cremation, burial, what cemetery, church service or service at funeral home, then write down the info needed for the death certificate (vital info), like date of birth, social security number, place of birth, parents names, mothers maiden name, highest level of education, if the person is a veteran and ask where the veterans discharge paper (dd-214) is located, etc. Of course I am not saying not to pre plan because I sincerely feel it is a very good idea to do so and not just because I work at a funeral home, but had I never got into the funeral business I would not have known just how important and how much easier it really does make things so much easier. Not only because it’s paid for (and you do not have to prepay, just getting everything wrote down and picked out and kept on file at the funeral home) but it eliminates the guessing your family will have to do and yes, the disagreements or arguing. There is also now a form that you can fill out and have signed which will allow you to appoint anyone you wish to be in charge of making your arrangements. This is new to the State I am in buyt I understand its been available in other States for a while. This was not available here until about a year or year and half ago and I don’t believe many are aware of this. If you do not have family or you just do not want your family, for whatever reason, plan your funeral you should definitely look into filling these forms out, ask your funeral home about these papers!!

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