Working at a funeral home – Walk ins, revisited


I have written about walk ins before and I have bitched about them several times in many posts but I was asked to post about them again.

If someone passes away and you are going to be making the funeral arrangements, DO NOT just show up to the funeral home! CALL first! This is a MUST! Funeral homes are NOT open 24/7 and we are not just sitting around waiting for customers to ‘show up’!

If you just show up without calling and scheduling an appointment you may be a little ticked when you get there and no one is available to help you. We will also be ticked that you just showed up unannounced because if the Director is not there and we have to explain to you that no one is available to sit with you we may lose you as a customer. We DO NOT want you to not come back! However, we may not have a choice. We are also going to be ticked that you did ‘just show up unannounced’!

Reasons for a Director not being at the funeral home when you ‘show up or walk in’ may be:

  • He/She is on a funeral with another family …. Duuuhhhhh
  • He/She is with another family making arrangements because they had an appointment and if you would have called you would have known that “now” is not a good time!
  • He/She may be out of the office for several other reasons; getting a death certificate signed, filing a death certificate, making a removal, meeting at another location with another family, or we are actually in the middle of a funeral service at the funeral home (which the Director is there but again, if you had called you would have known that “now” is not a good time!)
  • He/She may be out to lunch (yes, we eat lunch too!)
  • He/She may have had something personal scheduled and is out of the office (we have lives! we have children! families of our own and we also go to the doctors, and have other personal appointments that sometimes need to be done during the day!)
  • He/She may be in a meeting either at the funeral home or at another location.
  • He/She may be embalming .   

So you see, there are several reasons.  Most often the person or families that just show up are probably tired and upset and thought that “oh, I will just go up to the funeral home now or I will just run up to the funeral home in an hour or so and make the arrangements.” So, when you do arrive and I or another staff member says to you “I’m sorry but the Director is not here right now, did you have an appointment with him/her because they did not mention that they had any arrangements at this time….?” Guess what….. your going to be irritated! Your then going to probably roll your eyes and act is if “we” somehow put YOU out!  Somehow, we, the funeral home, has purposely done this to you. You going to tell me that you did not have an appointment and you did not know you needed one! but your so and so just died and you need to get these arrangements made because people want to know when the visitation is going to be and the funeral and you have so much to do!!! Well….SO DO WE! We really do not want to start out our relationship with you on the wrong foot….we want you to use our funeral home. We want you to be happy with our services, but you make it difficult when you cannot stop for one second to realize that the world has not stopped because someone has died. This may sound very insensitive to many and I apologize if I sound so rash….but it is the truth. Death is inconvenient. I have missed many birthday parties. Have had to leave parties and holiday gatherings early. Missed MY appointments because someone has passed away and I need to be at the funeral home! This is my job tho and I knew this going in! So, we sacrifice our lives, our families, our needs to tend to yours! We only ask that you have some ounce of consideration! And if after all of this you still decide that you are still going to walk in to a funeral home with out having an appointment, don’t do it at 5:00 p.m!! Or before 9:00 a.m. If you see a parking lot full of cars and a big black vehicle called a HEARSE in front of all the cars… NOT think that you are going to walk in that funeral home and someone be able to help you right then! I’m sure some funeral homes may have more than one Director on staff at all times, but many do not! I find it extremely odd that many people will show up to a funeral home at 5am, 6am, 7am or 8pm, 9pm and come to the door and ring the bell and when no one answers they call and get the answering service or the Director if they are answering the phones and say “I am at the door ringing the bell and no one is answering!” I mean really? Funeral Directors do not typically live at the funeral home! Not these days! We have regular business hours! And if the Director did live at the funeral home, why would you think it is ok to show up so early or late and wake him/her up? Do you think they don’t sleep?

So…I could go on and on and on and one and on……….but I won’t, not right  now anyway.

I am going to add my Tip of the Day to this post as well, it is short and sweet.

Tip of the Day for February 16, 2012

Do NOT show up to your loved ones funeral with a sweatshirt/hoodie/t-shirt that reads “I don’t do fat chicks” !!! Who the hell let you leave your house with that on to come to a funeral? You and your family should be ashamed of you! And I don’t want to hear “maybe that’s all they have to wear”    BULLSHIT!



8 Responses to “Working at a funeral home – Walk ins, revisited”

  1. We’ve got a couple of the larger funeral homes here that are open 24/7. The staff go on a roster, who works at night, day etc. They’ll do removals at 3am if have to, but they still have times in the daytime only for visitations and appointments. And yes, they stress to CALL first, don’t just walk in!

    • thefuneralbizz Says:

      I am sure somewhere in the U.S. there are funeral homes that may stay open 24/7 but I do not know of any where I am at. It really doesn’t make any sense to really stay open 24 hours a day. We do removals during the night as well, we just have a company who does it for us. But as far as arrangements go, we try to make them between 9am – 5pm. We do make exceptions, and have had later ones or as early as 8am. We have had an arrangement at 10am and the family wants viewing that same day at 4pm! We have pulled it off, but I just can’t get over what some people expect!

  2. How about mini skirts a midriff top and knee high boots on 12 year olds. Saw that at a service once. I’m sure people think that going to a funeral service is likened to some kind of fashion outing so they can get some kind of attention. Newsflash people. The service is for the person lying in that casket, not you!! And if the funeral staff ask if you would like to sign the register before entering the church for the service, don’t write Spiderguts waz ‘ere! Followed by some stupid signature drawing like flowers around the name or some kind of hand signal. I mean honestly…

  3. I agree with all of your points. We had a similiar situation a few weeks ago where a family came in just as services were about to start and there was no one available to meet with them.

    I think in some cases, some of the facilities around here, where people pass away (nursing home, hospice facilities, hospitals) tell families “Oh just go ahead over to the funeral home.”

    Many times, I speak to family members on the phone and they want to drop off clothing, trinkets or other sundries and they ask “What time do you close?” and when I tell them 5pm they sound surprised, like we should be there all night.

    Speaking of time, we usually tell families who send us obits that the deadline for obits is about 2 hours before the deadline. We learned the hard way that if you give them the actual deadline (like 4pm for example) they will send the obit at 3:59pm and then wonder why the obituary missed the deadline.

    As for how people dress at funerals, ugh!! What are people thinking? I’ve seen dirty jeans, shirts with holes in them and baseball caps, women with low cut blouses and really short skirts. Years ago, a young woman showed up for calling hours in a bustier! Classy!!

    • thefuneralbizz Says:

      well….i should kick myself in the ass for posting that lastnight! why? because at 4pm we got a walk in! we have been so freaking busy the past two weeks and to top it all off we get that walk in!
      I agree that some hospital, nursing homes, etc… tell families to head on over to the funeral home. I wish they wouldn’t though…I mean what would happen if I just told my D/C person to just head on over to get the D/C signed? They would get there and the staff would say, the D/C isn’t signed yet…no one called about it”!
      I hate when people ask what time we close because you know when they do that they will show up right at that time! I always tell people a half hour to an hour prior to closing. Not long ago, we had a woman who was suppose to drop off flowers…yeah, just flowers the evening before..she was a family member, not even a florist and the Director told her that he would be there until 6pm and then he was closing up so if she didn’t make it by 6pm she would have to wait until morning. Well, of course she did not show up. So…the Director was grocery shopping with his kids in the other town, which is about 10-15 min away, not far, but still…and this lady calls and gets the answering service and insists on speaking with the Director because she is…..AT THE FUNERAL HOME with a delivery AT 7:30pm!. So, the Director calls the lady back and the lady with her attitude says “I am at the funeral home with these flowers I SAID I was going to drop off and I have been ringing the door bell on the front door and the flower room door and NO ONE WILL ANSWER!” so the Director tells her that no one is there because we closed at 6pm! and that she was there waiting for her when she could have left at 5pm! The lady says that she knows someone is at the funeral home because there are two vehicles in the parking lot. Director explains to her that those are the company vehicles and they are ALWAYS there! NO ONE IS THERE! The lady had the nerve to tell the Director that she will wait until he gets there then! The Director told her that he was NOT coming back to the funeral home that he is off for the night and about half an hour away in the grocery store with his children! Lets just say this lady was not happy…but too freaking bad! I mean seriously!
      We usually do the obit at the funeral home for the family but we do get some that want to do it themselves and we tell them that the deadline is earlier than it really is because we have had the same issues and then they bitch so much or say we never told them the deadline and we get stuck paying for it!

      • We had a walk in yesterday. It was an imminent. The people walked into the funeral home, announced that they didn’t have an appointment and plunked themselves down in a chair and waited for an FD to come and take care of them. So clearly they knew they were being kind of rude.

        Our FDs would have done the same thing as your FD regarding the late arrival of flowers. They would have said the same thing, “We’re closed. You’ll have to bring the flowers back in the morning.”

        As for obits, we encourage families to create them and then email them to us and we’ll send them off to the papers. That way, if there is a mistake, it’s their mistake, not ours. We do type obits for families (like seniors who don’t have computers) but we have them check and double check them before we will send the to the papers.

      • thefuneralbizz Says:

        Just gotta love people, huh!?! I just don’t understand how people can just be so openly rude…..

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: