The Funeral Business – It never fails…!

Every Friday at 5pm….we get a walk in! It never fails! WHY…WHY….WHY…??? Why don’t they call first? Makes me want to cry sometimes and other times, it makes me want to punch something! How hard is it to make a phone call!?!?!?! Don’t ‘most’ people have cell phones? Even if you are actually driving to our funeral home…can’t you just call and say that someone has passed and you wanted to come to make arrangements and is now ok? Because you are driving right now and near the funeral home? I mean, maybe, just maybe, we are busy with another family…or getting ready to leave!!!!!!! I don’t know how many times, we get all the lights shut off, have our keys in our hands and…..DING DONG! ARE YOU KIDDING ME? OR…we have visitation going on and all the day people including the Director are heading out the door or the Director is already gone and someone comes in and says “I need to speak to the Director or I need to speak to someone about making funeral arrangements”. Really? Now? I really love the ones who say, “hi,  so and so passed away and we need to make funeral arrangements, we didn’t know if we needed an appointment or not”. Well, YOU didn’t know you needed an appointment because you DIDN’T CALL!! I cannot remember a Friday in the recent past that we have not got a walk-in between 4pm and 5:30pm! There are somethings that we are unable to do after a certain time. If it is after 4pm, especially on a Friday, we aren’t able to get information from the cemetery for you. They are CLOSED! If for some reason you select a certain casket and want a different panel in, or hardware that we are unsure they can make like that, we are unable to call to find out. Even getting ahold of clergy for you is difficult on a Friday evening!  I just get that feeling in the pit of my stomach when I hear the door close to closing time. It sucks. I know it sucks for the person who just lost someone as well…But I just don’t get and probably never will, how people just show up without calling first! Or when people show up during a funeral service. It is OBVIOUS that a funeral is going on. So WHY would you just walk in? Don’t you feel like you are intruding on someone’s funeral?

If your loved one was a Veteran they are entitled to a Military Honor Guard Service. There IS a charge for having one. Just as you would donate to the clergy for their time, you would make a donation to the Honor Guard. These Veteran’s take time out their day to Honor their fallen brother/sister. Their donation/charge is typically $100. Which is by far cheap! Several Veteran’s show up, not just one or two. They will do the service at the funeral home if you wish or the cemetery. So they are taking the time out of their day, each one of them is using their fuel to drive to the funeral home or cemetery. Dressing in uniform. Using ammo. So how do some people feel as if they do not OWE them any money? We recently had a man who was a Veteran and the family the son was pretty much the only person making arrangements. He was cremated but he planned on a burial of the cremated remains at a cemetery. The son wanted the Honor Guard service at the cemetery. He asked us if we would set it up or if he had to do it because he didn’t want to be bothered with having to do it….! We told him we would do it, he would just need to let us know when and where he planned on having the burial, because the cemetery that he was to be buried at was not in our area, it was about an hour and half away. The son also wanted us to contact the cemetery to set all of that up too. We told him to call us when he decided when this was going to be. So, when he came to pick up the cremated remains, he said he was still not sure when he wanted to do the burial but would call and let us know. Now, we do not need to be present for the burial of cremated remains, unless the family requests us to be there, but if the family wants us there, we do charge for that. This was explained to the son. he said, okay, that he understood. So, a couple of weeks go by and he calls and asks if we have the Honor Guard set up? We tell him, No, because we have not been notified of when the burial will take place. That we would wait until we know so we can let the Honor Guard know, it is pretty pointless to contact them if we do not know when the burial will take place. Well, he asked if we know who we were going to call since the cemetery is not in our area. We told him that we would contact the Veteran’s in the area near the cemetery. He asked if he needed to find out where they are located, because he really didn’t want to be bothered with it! YEAH, we know you don’t ! so quit calling us! So, we went ahead and contacted the veteran’s in that location and asked them about their fee and to let them know we would be needing them once the family let us know when the burial would be. He said, sure no problem, but to try to give them a couple of days notice since they are a smaller group and would have to make sure they had enough men. Okay, sounds good. Well, the son finally called us about a week later to let us know that he spoke with the cemetery and what is a good day for us? REALLY? So…we explained once again, that we are not  needed to be at the cemetery unless he wants us there. If he does, than there will be a charge. He claimed he was not informed of that, but okay, as long as “we are sure” we are not required to be there and he definitely does not want to have to pay us when all we are doing is driving there  to watch!!!! He asked about the Veterans’ and if they would be able to do it that following Thursday? We told him we would call them and find out, but didn’t think it would be a problem but they do require a fee of $100. He said, “A $100 for what? I thought this was a Veteran’s Honor Guard Service? You don’t have to pay for anything when it is the Military”! So, we explained that they do not do this for free. They have fuel for travel and time out of their day. There is a standard fee for all Military services! He wanted to know EXACTLY what he was paying them for!!! Unbelievable! Then he said, I did not want to do this, I did not want to have to take the time to call around myself to set this up, but since you guys keep screwing things up guess I will have to! We asked what exactly are we screwing up? He told us that we couldn’t get anything right! THEN had the nerve to ask us for the phone numbers for the Veteran’s so he could call! We called the Veteran’s that we contacted and told them what was going on…He said that is what their fee is. However, if he is going to bitch so much about it or really doesn’t have the funds, then they would reduce the fee or if only a few of the men went they wouldn’t charge him.  The son called us back the following day to ask us if the Honor Guard service would include the gun salute. We said yes. We also told him that we spoke to the Veteran’s and what they said. He then said to us, “if only a few guys show up how will we have the gun salute? If I have to pay $100 I want all 21 men there!!!!!! I am NOT paying for only 3 men to show up when I feel it should be what every other Veteran gets and that is a 21 gun salute! We told him that 21 men never show up for the service, it is typically 7 men !! So he argued with us that we had no idea what we are talking about! We said “there are 7 men, you get your 21 gun salute! 7 men shoot 3 times each! And if 7 men could not show up, the Veteran’s will make it work no matter what! He still said he was NOT happy and that we just keep screwing  everything up! So, we asked if he was going to take care of it than since he felt we were not doing a good job? he said YEP! So…I have no idea what happened. To be honest…I don’t care either! Hope we never have to deal with him again.


3 Responses to “The Funeral Business – It never fails…!”

  1. Kayla Snow Says:

    Hey, just so you know I really enjoy your blog, I have an interview to be the secretary for a funeral home in my home town and I was just wondering if you had any advice? What’s appropriate to wear? Thank you!

    • thefuneralbizz Says:

      hi kayla! so happy you like my blog! sorry it took me so long to answer as well. advice? just be professional and honest. Be calm and let them know that you are able to remain calm during ‘situations’..alot of times people are upset and high strung at funeral homes (the families) and if you remain calm, it usually helps the families stay calm. As for what to wear…well, black is always a good option! lol Wear a suit with a nice shirt, maybe for starters a nice white button up collared shirt or another subdued color. Once you get the job, then you can kinda see what others are wearing and go from there. If you have a skirt suit, I would probably recommend that for the interview with the white shirt. panty hose (i know it sucks, but at least for the interview) a nice pair of black heels, nothing to high (no stilletos). Minimal jewelry. a nice necklace and earings. Bring your resume even if they already have it. Bring anyother certificates or diplomas and bring your references. GOOD LUCK!! and I HOPE you get the job!! Keep me posted

  2. The whole scene reminds me of a drive in movie theatre. Funeral people drive their hearse up to the cemetery, plug into the stone for the mic (or ear plugs, whichever one, I’d go with the latter!) and watch the show unfold in front of them of some dickhead wanting to know how many honor guard attendees will be pissed off with this guy. Pass the popcorn Bizz.

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