Life working in a funeral home – tip of the day & stuff
Tip of the day for May 24, 2012
Tip of the Day
DON’T be a jerk!
On to other ‘stuff’…………………First and foremost. We are here to HELP YOU! That is our job. We are not here so you can be rude to us. I know I have said it before….but….I will say it again. We know that you have just lost someone. We know and understand that you are going through one of the most difficult times you will go through in your life. BUT, that does not give you the right to be/act like a complete asshole! Not to us, not anyone for that matter! It does not excuse you from behaving like a civilized human being. Does not excuse you from using common sense (altho, a lot of people do not have common sense at any point). Little things like saying ‘thank you’, ‘please’, etc….are still something you should practice using while going through this difficult time. For some reason I have found that over half of the people who I have dealt with tend to turn into rude, obnoxious, demanding, and argumentative people when they are trying to plan a funeral. I believe that part of this comes from the way they are thinking, like, ‘oh, I just lost someone so everyone/everybody MUST be nice to me’ and/or feeling as if they are being taken advantage of when it comes to cost. I can clearly see why. Funeral are expensive. Very expensive. Families tend to blame the funeral home for “making” them pay such high prices. For one, it is no secret that funerals are expensive. Two, we aren’t ‘making’ you do anything. Understandably, state law (my state anyway) requires a funeral director to handle the deceased and any viewing and burial/cremation and death certificates, but this is the law, not the funeral homes rules. If it were not required by law for a funeral home to handle this, than you would obviously have other choices…But, as it stands, unfortunately you do not. When a loved one passes away, you have several options available to you. Most people do not know this. But, most people do not stray too far from the “traditional” funeral. Most families want what they are accustomed to. However when money becomes an issue, it is advised to think outside of what the “traditional” funeral is. Now, I have had my fair share of those families who come in and claim that they “do NOT have ANY money”, so they say “we do not have ANY money, so what can you do for us”? I usually cringe upon hearing this. NOT because I think any less of the family just because they do not have a lot of money. NOT because I think we will not be making any money off of the family. But because typically I have found that those who do not have the financial capabilities to pay for a “traditional” funeral are the families who usually want it “all” , the elaborate funeral without the cost. It would be wonderful if everyone could have a grand send off, if that is what the deceased wanted, the finest of caskets, the biggest and most beautiful flowers, the limo’s, etc…..But, it doesn’t always work that way, some people do not want any of that. You do not need to spend thousands upon thousands of dollars to have a nice funeral. You do not need to purchase the finest casket. The casket will be viewable for only a short time and most of the time that casket is in the chapel with a spray on top which covers a majority of the casket anyway. The other half is open. Then, it is buried. I do not think most people think of that when they are deciding on which casket to purchase. So, anyway, when you have limited funds, please consider doing less traditional options. Because when you tell us you have no money but then start asking for this and that and of course we are going to tell you that it will cost this much or that much, suddenly the family becomes irritated with us. When we also explain that we expect half down now and the rest in 2 weeks or a month or, 2 months (and that is ONLY if we are working with you and approved by the owner) half means half of the TOTAL bill. When you start adding things on, then that ups your bill. So, you owe us more. It is also not the funeral home who requires you to purchase a vault for burial. It is the cemetery. We offer them for you to purchase through us, as well as the cemetery. You may certainly go to the cemetery and purchase one. Many times we have suggested purchasing the vault at the cemetery because if you have to purchase property at the same time, they usually have discounted packages available. So, when you ask us what we can do for you since you have no money, do not expect us to say that you can have a traditional funeral for a low-cost. It doesn’t work that way. If you say something like “well, that’s kinda high, we really don’t want to go anyplace else, but we may have to go see what so and so funeral home will do it for, we’ve always come here though, but…..” We are not going to stop you from going. Of course we want you to stay with us! But, knowing that we just gave you the lowest possible price we could, I cannot go any lower. And believe me, when we get a family like that, we ALWAYS go the lowest we can. I am sure there are other funeral homes that just say they are going as low as they can, but really, we are actually going the lowest we can. This is where the ‘jerk’ in most people come out! Just for instance. If your loved one was a veteran and you want a veteran’s service, the norm is to make a donation to the veteran’s who have taken the time and came to the funeral home or cemetery to honor your loved one. They are very serious about what they do. They are professional and have the utmost respect for the fallen vet they are there to honor. So, why would you question why a donation is asked for? Wouldn’t you want to donate something for all these men/women have done for you and what your loved one has done for you? The typical donation is $100. For someone who has little money, that seems like a lot. To me it’s even a lot. I don’t usually just have $100 in my wallet to give away. BUT, if it came to something like that and it is something that I requested, than I would certainly find a way to donate that money to them, they risked their lives for us. They use that donation for uniforms, equipment, fuel for traveling to the funeral home and or cemetery and taking the time out of their day to honor your loved one, their fallen compadre. I recently had a family who was just appalled at donating to the local vet’s. The way they thought about it was why would they expect to get paid for something they “should be doing”? Really? People have such different ways of viewing things. One family wanted a photo of their loved one printed on their prayer cards. Well, we charge extra for that. Of course they asked why on earth would that make a difference? Just something else to charge them for? It takes more to print more! More ink. Different printer. More work. Same for a sign in/register book. We have different types. The more elaborate the book , the higher the cost. The smaller plain books cost less… why? well, we have to order these books from our supplier. We pay for them when we order them. So, based on the price we are charged, we in turn charge so we can make a profit….just like ANY other business. We are not hiding any charges from you either. We itemize everything we charge you. We are required by law to itemize those charges for you. We are required by law to give you a General Price List as well. At any time anyone wants to see our charges, all they have to do is walk in our funeral home and ask for a price list, no questions asked, and we will happily hand you one, and it is yours to keep. But….the more you want, the more it is going to cost….just like anyplace else. It is not a conspiracy against anyone that funerals cost a lot…! This is something that is known by most everyone! It is a wise choice to use a Life Insurance Policy if you have one to pay for the funeral cost. Also, even better, Pre Plan! Yes, you must pay now for later however, you will be saving money in the long run…. When using that life insurance policy though, we have to make sure the ins. co. accepts an assignment otherwise you will have to complete the claim yourself and most funeral homes will not wait for payment. If you are doing it yourself, then that insurance check is coming directly to you, not us. So, who is to say that when you receive that check you are going to pay us…? We have had this happen so we no longer do it. If we take care of it, we fill out all the paperwork for you and send everything in, our assignment is made out ONLY for the amount of the funeral bill so anything above and beyond that amount will be mailed directly to the beneficiary or beneficiaries. We explain this families all the time. But yet I still get families calling to see where their money is! We also tell families that it can take several weeks for us to receive payment, so, more than likely it will be several weeks before they will receive payment. How many times have families ‘told’ me to speed up things because they need that insurance money…Hmmm, well, here’s the thing…I do NOT have any control over how fast or slow the insurance companies work. I really can’t imagine calling up the ins. co. and telling them “oh and by the way such and such family would like you to speed things up because they really need this money”. Somehow I don’t think they would, for one, ‘speed things up’ and two, even give a shit if you need the money or not! When I get families like that, I tell them they need to call the ins. co. themselves. I always mail out the insurance paperwork on my end no later than 2 days after getting everything filled out and all the signatures needed. Once in a great while I will have to delay sending them out if we are waiting for a D/C to be signed and filed, but that usually doesn’t happen. Then, I always mail them certified mail.
So basically what I am trying to say is that everything is our fault. People/Families always think there is ‘someone’ to blame…no matter what. But, please stop and think for a moment before you treat someone bad. Just because you have lost a loved one does not give you the right to treat others like crap! So, don’t be a jerk! Don’t bitch about little shit! If our parking lot is full and you had to park on a side street or a block over or wherever…why would you come in and start complaining to us? How is this normal behavior? Our parking lot can only be so big….
Quick note… DO NOT call a funeral home when you are looking for a phone number to another business. Do NOT call a funeral home when you need directions to someplace. We are NOT the phone book! We are a funeral home. Why do people call a funeral home to ask if we have the number to other places (that are NOT related to the funeral home)? Or directions to someplace? I’m lucky to find my way home everyday and you are asking me for directions? Good God!