work at a funeral home…


been busy! too busy to even think straight. and of course trying to deal with unrealistic families! how do you deal with people who are, lets say, drug addicts? they want this and they want that, but NO one has any money to pay for anything! and if they don’t get their way and what they want, well then they have no problem telling us that we will NOT see any money! how nice, right? we could have told you we did not want your business and to take it elsewhere. however, we did not tell you to go elsewhere, we helped you in your time of need. we did the removal of your brother, we transferred him to the crematory, we secured the proper paper work (medical examiner permit, death certificate, crematory charges. that equals approximately $600.00. that does not include our charges, what the funeral home charges for our services! we took your brother as instructed by the family to the crematory to have him cremated, instead of the declining your business and then having your brother transferred to the medical examiners office so he could spend weeks upon weeks there waiting for his family to actually pay someone to do what we did for FREE! as any other funeral home in our area would have demanded ‘some’ payment before even doing the removal! then it turned into who is picking up his cremated remains from the funeral home….ONLY THE NEXT OF KIN can LEGALLY pick them up unless the next of kin instructs us otherwise! NO WAY AROUND IT! NONE! altho you people tried your hardest! calling us continually! lying to us! and yet still NO PAYMENT! from NO ONE! why is it so hard for people to understand that there are laws that we MUST follow?  

i have bitched about this before but last week we had a service at the funeral home, there were quite a few people who attended. the pastor was speaking and “most” everyone was quite….but there were some rude people who just wouldn’t shut up! the pastor stopped speaking and asked that everyone please be quite or leave the funeral home! then about 5 minutes later, someones cell phone starts ringing! i can never understand why when that happens the person whose cell phone is ringing just doesn’t immediately hit IGNORE on their phone … instead they let it ring and ring  and ring…..! well, the pastor stopped again, and now he is mad, and says to everyone ‘if i could please have everyone’s undivided attention, no talking, no cell phones, if everyone here who has a cell phone please take this time to turn them OFF before I begin again. it is disrespectful. if this was your loved one up here then i am sure you would not appreciate people talking or cell phones ringing”. AWESOME! i loved it! finally!

14 Responses to “work at a funeral home…”

  1. So glad I found your blog! I too work at a funeral home as an admin. asst. Everything you have posted I have experienced too. The same irritations, frustrations etc… I’m coming off 5 days off and I’m dreading returning to work tomorrow. I know there will be a pile of paperwork awaiting my arrival. I’ve kept an eye on the paper to see that we had quite a few calls the whole time I’ve been off.

    I’ve noticed a few of your posts you mentioned business was slow. Lucky you!! Usually our business slows down around May through Oct. or Nov., but not this year. We have been right out straight all year. We haven’t had any slow time to catch up on the stuff you have to put to the side until you get the d/c’s filed, certifieds ordered and picked up, deposits, obituaries etc….

    By the way, quick question do you find obituaries the worst part of the job? It seems like they are never right and many families complain about them (despite the fact that they review them before they are sent to the newspapers!).

    Consider me a regular reader from now on!!

    • thefuneralbizz Says:

      HI! Glad you found me! sorry it took so long to respond. Usually I try to keep up on my comments and blogging, but lately, its just been so hard.
      I am amazed that no matter what, with “certain” families that the obit is never right! They can spell out a name for you, they can list all the children, grandchildren, sibling, etc…give date of birth, and there is something WRONG! and it can never ever be their fault! then we end up eating the charge! and yes, we usually have them review and sign them before submitting them!
      I am so glad that you will be a regular … please feel free to comment about your daily frustrations as well! Happy Holidays!

      • No problem on your reply. Believe me, this time of year things are hectic both at work and on the job. Yikes!!

        One thing we have started doing, with regards to obits, is have the family email it to us then we just add the service times and send them off to the newspapers. But even then, you send it off to the paper and about a 1/2 hour before I’m about to leave for the day I get the dreaded phone call from the family with a correction or they forgot to add “Aunt Gladys” or a distant cousin from another state. Ugh. Gotta love it.

        Hope you have a very happy holiday season too. I’m looking forward to two 3 day weekends in a row. We all need the break where I work.

      • thefuneralbizz Says:

        how was your christmas at work? just as i suspected, the day after christmas we got busy and have stayed that way!
        i get that alot when the family wants to make changes just before deadline! i always try to explain to them that we have deadlines so if they want it for a certain day they better make up their minds! and of course you always get those families who just do not understand what deadline means!!!! so when they call or come in and say they want to change this and add that blah blah blah…. I say…uhmmm, yeeeeeah, it’s too late, deadline was at such and such time, like we explained. and of course they ask, can’t you just call and ask? and again…uhmmmm, noooooo, i can’t! it is a newspaper! really! deadline was at 10am and you wanna make changes to the death notice at Noon and i tell you it is past deadline and you want me to call 2 hours afterward! give me a break! like the newspaper is going to HOLD THE PRESS because you want gram gram’s obit changed.
        anyway…sorry for my short rant! how are the 3 weekends in a row going, are you on your last one or done?? Hope they weren’t too hectic for you! HAPPY NEW YEAR!

  2. Re: the plants. I have some small pot plants on my balcony which I have to take in at night because we have possums who visit to see what’s “on the menu” re my salad herbs I have growing! One night I forgot to take in a tomato plant and next morning there was just a stalk remaining. This morning there’s not even a stalk! So the possum killed that plant, okay I left it outside by mistake. yes I did end up killing the damn plant didn’t I:)

  3. When I first walked into the home that day the first person, a lady, greeted me and handed me a pamphlet of the home and what was on today then she said that we’re trying to disspel the myth on homes that it’s not like that series Six Feet Under or anything creepy. Ha ha I love their humour! For the 100+ years the home has been operating this was their very first open house. I think maybe about 25-30 people turned out in general on the day. I thought it was funny the young girl with the punk pink hair and black gear she was wearing roaming around the home having a good look. My dear, I thought, if you think the home is going to satisy your gothic haven on Halloween, you are mistaken! As it was a really humid day, most people including me were just dressed smart casual. Thank goodness the home had central air. Lovely and pleasant inside. Before I got talking with staff there about working at a funeral home, I made a few casual jokes to break the ice (which I often do when I meet new people) about referring to a comedy tv series we used to have in the 80s here about a son living with his elderly senile but very cunning mother and every episode she would get herself into a bit of strife and the son would have to end up getting involved unintentionally in his mothers’ actions and get into trouble.

    There’s an episode called ‘the funeral’ where a reletive of theirs dies and they attend the service but halfway to the cemetery she stops the whole funeral procession to get out of the car and buy a bag of discount oranges at a roadside market then proceeds to take the bag along to the service where leaning by the grave, the bag breaks and the oranges fall into the grave and bounce against the coffin! It’s so funny. In another episode she wants to plan her funeral and so a snooty director comes along to their house with his “full portfolio of “Loved One Departure Modules” which the son translates as a coffin, but the director corrects him and say ‘yes, a coffin, but we find less consumer resistance to the term we are referring to – loved one departure module or L.O.D.M. I told that to the staff at the home and they cracked up laughing and the lady who handed me the brochure said oh I’ve got that pass that one around.

    As the home’s been running since the 1880s, they had on display old archive records of funerals being planned and old photos of funeral processions with the horse and carriage through the town up to the 1970s with the old gas guzzler Valiant hearses. They had a display of coffin trimming where when the coffins are delivered to the home they’re stacked on top of each other like packed boxes but they’re not trimmed with handles, lining or painted. So we got a demonstration of how they’re “done up” for a funeral. I was surprised that they use plastic handles for the coffins which look like the old brass and silver ones until you actually pick them up and they’re as light as a feather. The guy giving the demonstration (who used to be a carpenter he said until he joined the industry 3 years ago) said for economical reasons most families will choose the plastic handles and trimmings as it lowers the price of a coffin if they’re on a budget or only took out a low insurance policy and can’t have a lavish service. They can still do real brass or silver handles if a family wishes too though. The guy made a joke that they tried to get one of the staff to get into the coffin to “show the finished product” but no one wanted to. I had a talk with this bloke afterwards about working at a home and he said if you work here, rule number one, don’t fall asleep here as you don’t know where you’ll wind up! LOL Love their humour.

    They have a guy who works for the home who’s job is just to do up coffins as the finished product where they go into the display room. I saw the display room too and I spoke to the lady about one coffin they had which had an Australian flag folded over it and I asked if that was specifically for a military funeral. She said no, it was just for anyone who the deceased or the family was patriotic and wanted to have a flag in the service. She said it was also if the deceased had been an old “Digger” (what we call a soldier serving in the First and Second World Wars or Vietnam) they could have a flag too.
    I also saw an engraving display where the home still uses the original iron engraving tool and letter plates from the 1800s to print the name plates for the coffins. The guy demonstrating (same carpenter guy) the tool said to us that they did have a computer engraving tool but it was too unreliable so they continue to use the old engraving kit that the original founder of the home (a woman) had used for the name plates. Too cool for school!

    When I spoke to the lady who I got her direct email to send my resume, she said to me we always like to have fresh meat on board…now I’ve heard that joke expression before in workplaces, but at a funeral home it makes you raise an eyebrow into what they do with “new employees”! The time I was there, there was mention by the staff of the rival funeral home who’s been operating for the same amount of years but each one makes out that they’re the better home. They had their open house too that day as well, if I’d known that I would gone along there as well. So I didn’t ask the home I visited if the rival home was hiring. I think I’ll do that in my own time and contact the staff myself. Might cause a bit of discontempt and jeopardise my chance of getting a job at the home I visited. At the end of the day we could fill in a feedback form and put our name on it if we wanted to go into the draw for a gourmet xmas hamper. Now that’s different as well.

    Thanks for tips too. I didn’t think of working for a cemetery or crematorium (hmm don’t know there, but a cemetery would be interesting). Most of the large ones here are owned by the city council but there are a few here that are private. I’ll have to check our directory if there are any vault companies too. Thanks for that!

    I just had a thought with your co-worker that with the directors not believing she’s causing trouble you could have like a mini hidden camera or microphone in the office on the days she’s there and if she screws up you’ve got her on tape! Then next time she denies anything you or anyone else could say, that’s not what we saw!

  4. Ever heard of Elvis songs being played and balloons and candy offered at a funeral home when there’s NOT a funeral on? I did at the Open House. Awesome place and I got a direct contact from one of the staff to send my resume too. More later….gotta get my train.

    • thefuneralbizz Says:

      hmmmm…well, no. actually i don’t think i have ever even heard of a funeral home having an open house at all. altho, like i said before, i think its a great idea. now i have heard of cemeteries having “open houses”, like when a new section opens up. but i think thats cool with the elvis music, candy and balloons. i would think it would make some people who are timid about entering a funeral home or those who have pre conceived notions about funeral homes feel more at ease, and im guessing that was probably their whole idea…! i am so happy that you got to talk to someone about contact info and your resume! i really hope that they call you even if they aren’t hiring, i still hope they at least give you a call and maybe you can ask them to keep your resume on file or to pass it on to another funeral home. have you thought about working at a cemetery? they do similiar work in the cemetery offices as they do in funeral homes. or even a crematory? just a thought….. i would certainly ask that funeral home if they know if any local cemeteries or crematories and of course other funeral homes are hiring, they would be the ones to know if anyone else is hiring. are their any casket or vault companies in your area? i know its not a funeral home, but it might get your foot in the door if you have one in your area and they need help? alot of the casket companies, well most of the casket companies that the funeral homes deal with, they have representatives that come to the funeral homes and talk to the director or staff. for instance, we carry/sell caskets from company “A” and we have a few of their caskets in our display room and we order from them on a regular basis. we have a catalog which showcases other caskets available from them and of course in order to sell those caskets, we have a price sheet. there are several caskets, materials, inserts, etc for those caskets. those caskets, materials, and of course pricing changes alot. so these rep’s will come to the funeral home and give us new pricing sheets, new pages for the catalog, etc…. there are also so many other items that a casket company will sell, they may also carry a line of Urns, pendants, etc. so these reps come in a tell us about them and so on…. i guess you would have to like to drive and talk alot to people, but i would imagine there are several other positions at those companies too……. anyway, i am rambling, just wanted to share. hope you are doing well. . . . and not killing anymore plants! LOL !!

  5. Oh yes, he thinks he’s marvellous! Mr Tech Savvy-I-got-a-new-mobile-phone-yesterday-now-i-got-5-and-new-hands-free- to-go- with it. (Who the hell has/needs 5 mobile phones!) I never did hear the House on the Prairie ring tone, thankfully (I still can’t believe he took me seriously when I suggested it. You can only roll your eyes so much at a person’s stupidity. But that would have been hilarious if he had, he would have copped so much from us). He’s still got Bonanza as his tune and he has this big smile on his face when it rings as if we’re supposed to be impressed and he does this stupid shoulder-moving dance to it while he sits in his chair. I hope the bolts on his chair come loose one day…lol!

  6. Forgot to mention that I had a joke with his Bonanza ring tone by saying to him that he may as well as have the Little House on the Prairie theme on his ring while he was at it considering Landon was in both. instead he says to me, alright I will! And proceeds to go on the Internet to try and download it..yep, a total dork!

    • thefuneralbizz Says:

      OMG! really? was he able to download it and use that as his ring tone? he probably thinks he’s funny and that everyone else thinks he’s funny too, huh?

  7. Yep, Bonanza, really:)

  8. My all time favourite pet hate when it comes to cell phones ( known as “mobiles” here) is when someone chooses the most irritating, noisiest ring tone they’ve found and put it on their phone then allow it to ring a lot in the hope that everyone else will appreciate the tune as well. (I get this all the time with Gen Y on the train.) When in reality, everyone is just thinking what a fucking jerk they are to use THAT particular tone. Guy at my work put the “Bonanza” theme song on his phone and got steamrolled by everyone when he let it ring too much…. His phone is now only on vibrate:)
    And we all know it’s only his mum ringing him too!:))

    • thefuneralbizz Says:

      HA HA HA! Bonanza! really?!?!? what a dork!
      i usually always always have my cell phone on vibrate, especially at work. but when at a restaraunt, the market, anywhere in public that i think my cell phone ringing would be annoying, i turn it on vibrate! i don’t understand why people feel it necessary to leave theirs on especially at a funeral home! and then even better than letting it ring, is answering it!! amazing!

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