Funeral Business…..is just that
It’s a business. I cannot stress enough that we make our money just like any other business out there. So, how come people are so quick to argue with us the cost of items we sell? Caskets. Vaults. Our “services”. Flowers. Register Books. Prayer cards. Thank you cards. Hearse. Death certificates. And again, we do not include the cemetery charges with our charges. We are not the cemetery. Cemeteries have their own costs! If the deceased does not own property at a cemetery, then you must purchase property and, yes, pay for it. You can purchase your vault thru the cemetery if you wish, if they sell them. I find that more and more people are choosing cremation just for that reason. And if you want you can bury the cremated remains, but there is a charge for that as well. Even if you decide that you want those cremated remains buried with someone who is already buried.
I had a gentleman stop in the other day to get some pricing for a friend. Well, I asked him what for? Meaning, burial, cremation? Then, what next? Visitation, and where? At the funeral home, church? Then what? Do you want to go from the funeral home to church or to cemetery or both? Do you want a graveside service ? What kind of casket? I always try to explain to people who call for pricing that it would probably be best if they make an appt. with the pre-arrangement person to sit down and go over all of this. It is not because I don’t feel like helping them. It isn’t to try to get them to commit to our funeral home either. They are under NO obligation and by no means is someone going to try to make them buy or pay for anything! it is just so much easier than to try to get all of this information over the phone! I don’t think people understand that you can’t really just call and ask “how much do you charge for a funeral”. there are so many different options and so many people have their own idea as to what a “funeral” consists of. There are charges that one would not expect, like explained above. Like the opening and closing of a grave. People always ask us, what do mean, “opening and closing”? Well, just that, to open up the ground and close it back up.
On to Social Security. Almost every family when they come in and sit down they immediately ask about social security and that this is going to help pay for the funeral expenses. NO it will not. Sorry. First of all, any social security payment is only a one time death benefit paid out to a surviving spouse or any dependant children under the age of 18. AND, it takes sometime to actually be paid out. So, it will not be available to pay the funeral bill. Again, we do not make these rules. Same goes for Veteran benefits. These are not paid out until AFTER the funeral. Although, I have to agree with the families, that these should be available immediately just for this instance.
If you plan on having a burial and you want to have visitation and service and burial all in one day, which we do often, you have to do it at the times alloted for you at the cemetery. Most cemeteries will not do any burials after 3pm. Which means you will have to have your visitation pretty early if you want to get a few hours in. And the service must not go on and on! You can’t say, “well, we can have our service at 2pm and then go to the cemetery afterward. You have to keep in mind the ride there and more than likely you are going to be going in procession which is going to take a little longer. Getting everyone OUT of the funeral home is the biggest challenge! One of my biggest pet peeves. When we say “this concludes services at the funeral home, please pass by the casket and exit to your vehicles for the procession to the cemetery” we mean EXIT TO YOUR VEHICLES! I just cannot stand those of you who stand around in the room, the hallways or even just outside the doors, go to your freaking cars! This holds things up, for all of us! I also cannot understand why some people feel it necessary to actually come back into the chapel after they have exited the room, while the doors are SHUT! There are a few minutes when everyone is supposed to OUT of the chapel except the family, sometimes they want to stay to watch us close the casket and here are you dopes who have to come back in. We have the doors closed for a reason! Then once the family leaves, whether they watched us close the casket or not, we have a few things to take care of. Then we have to move the casket thru all of you people who have been just hanging around. I know I have mentioned this before, but I just can’t stand it! There is a schedule to keep! Go!
If you know someone who is going to be layed out at a funeral home make sure you find out what time they will be shown! Because if you show up early, before the family, you are not getting in! I will not let you in, I don’t care if you are going to work and can’t get out to come for the viewing, I don’t care if you are leaving the State, I don’t care! If the family has not been in yet to see their loved one, you will not be let in! Also…….there are times when a family will come in to see the deceased maybe the day before visitation or service is just to “ok” them. When this happens, we ask the family if the following day if people show up before them are they allowed in or are they to wait until the family arrives? If the family tells me that they are to wait until they arrive, then that is what we are going to do! You can argue with me up one side and down the other, but you will not GO IN! Same thing goes for anything AFTER a service. If it is cremation, the service will take place at the funeral home then conclude at such and such time. If anyone comes afterward and the casket is closed, which it usually is, you will not be able to view so and so. And I will NOT open the casket back up! I had a man come one day after the service, it was probably about an hour and half maybe two hours later. NO ONE was at the funeral home, no family, no visitors! They were ALL GONE because everything was done. I would have imagined this man should have taken the hint when he saw no cars in the parking lot, but anyway, he came in and asked if he could view so and so and when I told him that the service was done and the casket was closed he became irate and insisted that we open the casket so he could see the person. Again, I said no, sir you cannot. We cannot open the casket again for you, sorry. He was yelling at me and he said that he was going into the chapel and opening the “damn” casket himself! I told him he could go in the chapel, but do not open that casket, which at this time I cannot remember if it was a sealing casket or not, but I don’t believe it was, of course he did no such thing, he just thought he could come in and push me around and yell and me that I would give in. If you know me, you know that I don’t “give in” to anyone, especially people like that. I do not respond well to threats. I do not respond well to people/families that threaten to take their business elsewhere because of our charges, which I get often. I tell them by all means, go, if you can find a better price, then do so, I would! Or to people who get irritated with us when they want to come in early or late and we tell them, NO, they think by saying “well, I/we will be sure to let everyone we know not to use your funeral home”. Fine by me, because honestly I don’t want you here if you are going to act that way anyway!
Summer…….here we are. It’s hot outside. But hey, we have central air! So, yeah, no need to wear your tank tops and short shorts and flip flops. YOU ARE PAYING YOUR RESPECTS, so, please dress RESPECTFULLY! Why do you think it is ok to show up like that? I am amazed.
I received a call from a family member the other day. They buried their father there a few weeks ago. One of the brother paid the funeral bill. So, I get a call from the “other” brother asking me if the death certificates were back yet. He proceeded to tell me that I am NOT to give the death certificates to anyone else but HIM. Well…..it doesn’t work that way. WHOEVER paid for the funeral will be the one who gets the death certificates unless otherwise specified at the time of the arrangements! When I told him this he was none to happy. Of course he went on to tell me that it was none of his brothers business to what the death certificate says. When I told him that anyone could go and get a death certificate on anyone they wanted, he was hesitant to believe me. I told him to call the city clerks office and ask himself. If this was none of your brothers business, then why is it that he paid for everything? I don’t care what kind of drama is going on in your family, so don’t feel the need to call me up and tell me. Same thing goes for those of you who have power of attorney. Power of attorney terminates at time of death. Ask the lawyer who did it for you! So, when you come in and I start telling you about cremation authorizations that need to be signed by the next of kin or the insurance needs the next of kin or so and so is the beneficiary, I DO NOT want to hear that you have power of attorney. It mean NOTHING to me. Nothing!
Back to our charges. Things like urns and pendants are NOT included! You pay extra for those items as well. Urns can run anywhere from $100 to thousands of dollars. Pendants, usually from $90 to $300. We don’t typically set these prices on either. We have companies that we order the urns from. They charge us a certain price and we charge the family a certain price. Of course we make somewhat of a profit off it, but not much. As far as the pendants, we don’t make any extra money off of those, we only charge what the company we order them from charges. So, for you to argue with me and get mad will do you no good. There are so many different types of urns, some are wood, some are metal some marble. If you want engraving it is extra, again, the charges of the company we order from, not ours.
When someone passes away and they are taken to the Coroner’s office and have an autopsy, the funeral home does not have access to the autopsy results! When you call me and tell me that they told you we would get the cause of death, that does not mean we get the autopsy results. We do get the cause of death and that will be on the death certificate. The autopsy contains more than just the cause of death. And when we tell you that we will not get that information do not ask me if I can get it. I can’t! YOU must get it yourself.
I received a comment the other day from someone who was apparently having problems with a relative who would not get the cremation authorization permit notarized so that their loved one could be cremated. Well, it depends where you live if you need it notarized or special circumstances. Where I am at, you do NOT need it notarized. It is not the funeral homes fault that someone will not sign something. It is the state law and the funeral home will not break that law. It is obviously a family problem. We deal with these situations too often. And to those who are the ones who refuse to sign these authorizations are only holding up the proper burial of the deceased. The “other” family members have nothing to gain from this. If you disagree with cremation and know for a fact that the deceased did not want cremation, then that’s a different story and if you have the money to pay the funeral home those charges, then fine. But if you have no other problems with the cremation other than you just want to be a bitch/asshole, then you should be ashamed of yourself for not giving the deceased the respect that they so deserve.