Life working at a funeral home – Busy Busy Busy!


Haven’t been able to post, sorry. It  is that time of the year again and we have been slammed at the funeral home! Since just after Thanksgiving we have had just about one new call everyday… and oddly enough we have had quite a bit of pre-arrangements over the last few weeks as well.  We have had a couple walk in pre-arrangements, which is pretty much just as bad as a walk in at-need! The other day we had a visitation set to begin at Noon, and it was one of those days where the phone never stops and you have a ton of shit to do. Well we already had a prearrangement scheduled for 10am and they were there just about finishing when a man and his daughter showed up because she has a prearrangement with us and “stopped by” to “go over” her preneed! Well she had to wait for director to finish. Well, the woman did her thing and the old man spoke up and said “well, get out your pen and paper since ya ain’t coin nothing else and let’s do this for me too”!  Uhhhh who says we aren’t doing anything else! The director said “well, we can go ahead and get you started but I am expecting a family at Noon so I will have to excuse my self for a moment”. Just because there is no one else in the building when YOU show up does not mean we are not busy!
We have also had a lot of insurance papers to do too. Well, I should say, a lot of insurance papers I have had to do! I hate when a family brings me a ton of old insurance policies and I have to make heads or tails of them all! Then having to sit there and call on each one of them. I especially love when I call the insurance company and, 1: I can’t understand the customer service rep! 2: the rep is not friendly or act as if I am somehow bothering THEM! And 3: when I ask if they will accept an assignment from the funeral home, they say “yes, but we cannot release the amount of the policy to you!!” Well, for starters I didn’t ask you for the amount! And then most of the time they won’t even tell us who the beneficiary is. Usually I have the policy in front of me so I already know who the beneficiary is. But sometimes I get a family that brings me a piece of paper with a policy number and name of insurance company on it….gee thanks, this is helpful, I think to myself. And when people first inquire if they can use their life ins to pay for funeral costs and we tell them we can but we will need to verify the policy is good, that the inc company will in fact accept an assignment from us and that their are no loans taken out on the policy but please bring in ALL the info you have and we will call and report death for you and inquire about the rest at that time…..they say ‘oh great, thank you, so I don’t need to do anything then?’ Nope, nothing, just bring it, don’t call them, we will, because if you call then chances are they will begin the claim process and all the paperwork that WE will need is going to be sent to you not us and then we are going to have the have you bring all that paperwork back to us and then get it filled; it and then more than likely have you come back again or sometimes just wait while we look it over to see where you need to sign and what other info we may need from you. BUT….I say 70% of the time, they still call!! Then when they come in they don’t tell us they called so when we call we sound dumb saying “we are calling to report death on so and so, the family is here and Asked us to call for them and they would also like to do an assignment” and the rep says…. “well I show here that Mr/Mrs already called and reported death”! UGH! Hate that!!
OK enough ranting for today…. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and have a safe and happy New Year!!

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7 Responses to “Life working at a funeral home – Busy Busy Busy!”

  1. Wow I can’t believe what you go through with luncheons. That is insane and really quite selfish on the part of the family. I mean this is about your loved one, folks, not you and your appetite. I feel for you.

    I also totally relate to wishing tomorrow wasn’t Monday. I feel that way every Sunday night LOL. I used to really like my job (I still do) but it has changed in the 10 years since I started working at a FH. The people have changed. When I first started, people were pretty mellow and didn’t ask for much. Now, people are so demanding, “I want, I want, I want!” Like I’ve replied before on this blog, funerals an event nowadays, not something to honor the deceased but an opportunity for families to show off to their friends about how elaborate they can make the service and how much attention they can get. It’s sad really.

  2. Or the families are thinking clearly enough to want certified copies ASAP. That drives me crazy too. “When can get the certifieds?” is usually one of the first questions. There’s nothing that can’t wait unitl after the service including getting affairs in order using the certifieds.

    Fortunately we don’t do a whole lot with luncheons. Most of the families we serve do it on their own. The only thing we do is, if asked, is contact a local restaurant for the family and reserve a room for them, that isn’t very often.

    • We don’t actually do much either for the luncheon, it just that all the families seem to focus on is the luncheon. What time will it be…and then the whole funeral is scheduled around that! You know how it gives when you have to secure times at church or schedule around other services at the funeral home…and then there is a family who is more worried about the times available at whatever hall or restaurant they want to have the luncheon at or if the funeral has to start later in the day they get upset because they think they have to have it earlier in day because everyone will be hungrier later and they don’t want to have to wait to eat! I have heard it all! I just had a lady who wanted us to get a certain Minister, her family has services at our place before and we got this Minister for the service and she really liked him so she ask we get him again. So we called him and he was available but only at 1pm. The service was to be at the funeral home then to cemetery, which was a cemetery that was fairly close. So we call her and let her know that he was available, but only at 1pm. Which would work good on our end and the cemeteries end, because we have to be to cemetery by 3pm. Her response was “oh no way, we are having our luncheon at 2pm. Why can’t he do it at 11am?” Well because he already has a commitment at 11am and is not available until 1pm, do you want to reschedule your luncheon or get someone else? She was mad at US because we suggested she change the luncheon time! I mean how dare we!?! I have had families that will have Mass at Church or at f.h., have their luncheon, then go to cemetery! I absolutely hate that!!! Don’t even get me started on the GOLDEN death certificates! Sometimes I wish I could take them and shove them right down their throats! Even after explaining what process we have to do in order to even get it signed let alone filed, they are still up our asses about them! Its not even like it takes us long…typically within a day to 3 days. Ugh…I wish tomorrow wasn’t Monday!

  3. I so relate to everything you posted. That same thing happens to us all the time, walk ins whether they are atneed or preneed. Ugh. And it usually happens when we’re busy.

    We’ve been fortunate this holiday season. It hasn’t been too bad. It’s been steady but not crazy busy. It was crazy busy for the last 2 years and suddenly in Sept. everything slowed right down and we’re all relieved about that. Hope it stays like this, steady is a much easier pace, and less stressful than busy.

    I did want to contact you about an incident that happened 2 weeks ago, though. I thought you could relate to it. We had a family that submitted an obit to us. They said it was all set and to go ahead and send it to a bunch of newspapers. It was in the morning so we were able to get it out, no problem, confirm it and we were done, so we thought. At 3:30pm the family called and informed us that they had changed the obit and wanted it resubmitted to the papers and they added about 3 more papers to submit it to!! The deadline is 4pm for local papers and I was dealing with a number of out of state papers as well. So frustrating. They had all day to advise us of the changes but waited until the last possible moment to resubmit it. So for the next hour I ended up sending and confirming with the papers, prepaying some papers ect….Then they called 2 days later and added 2 more papers they wanted the obit in.

    • Gotta love it.. personally i think putting an obit in more than just your local paper and keeping that obit to a minimum, sharing only pertinent info (name, d.o.d, closest relatves, and funeral info), is a waste of money. Some families want obits that contain from where the person was born, grade school, higj school, college, employment, when they were married, etc.. it is alot of money to run an obit like that and no one is going to keep that obit except maybe the family.. and another pet peeve i have about obits is when they bring us a photo of when the deceased was young! Why!?! If i had been you with all those changes i would have been sooooo pissed! And heaven forbid you make a mistake at the last minute like that!

      • Obits are the worst part of the job. They really are. They are never right, even after the family reviews them, says “Ok. Looks good to me.” Then when it’s published in the newspaper the family calls and yells at us because Aunt Bertha’s name was spelled wrong or a relative was left out. Despite the fact that the family reviews everything before being published, they still find mistakes and blame us.

        I agree with you, keep it to a minimum and there are fewer mistakes. I’ve looked at obits from the 1920s through the 1950s and they were very simple, the person’s name, date of death (sometimes cause of death), close family (i.e. wife, sons & daughters-they didn’t include cousins, in-laws, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews) and services. That was it.

        I hope things slow down for you so you can get caught up. I also hope you have a very Happy New Year!

      • Altho i get the fact that “you may not be thinking clearly”, there are still decisions to be made and included in that decision making is the obit. So when a family approves that obit and it turns up wrong…too bad, they approved it so cominv back at us and saying they werent thinking clearly isnt an excuse for us to have to pick up the cost! Families are thinking clear enough to schedule that luncheon! One of my BIGGEST pet peeves!

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