Life at a funeral home – WHY

I often wonder when it was that people became so rude, impolite, self absorbed? I’ve worked with the public pretty much my entire working life. I have always known there were “those” people, but I’m not sure if it’s me who is getting older and noticing it more or if people have really become so selfish, mean spirited, and well, assholes?
Every day almost I encounter someone who is just unpleasant. Wether it be on the phone or in person. I am speaking of work, but yes, of course I encounter them outside of work as well.. But it just seems that people do not have any hesitation being rude or speaking down to others. For example, we receive quite a few calls per day requesting pricing. We do not have any problem giving pricing over the phone. When I give pricing I explain to them what is included in that cost and what is NOT included. However, most of the time I cannot even begin to tell the person what is not included because I either get hung up on, the person will say, “what?!? NEVERMIND”! and hang up, or they will say, “that includes everything, right”? When I say no, I usually get, “that’s ridiculous, why is it so much”?!? I have people who have started bitching at me because the cost is high and they can’t afford it, or just be downright rude! Especially the ones who just hang up. Is it really that shocking that funerals are EXPENSIVE? And is it necessary to speak to someone that way? YOU called ME! I nicely answered your questions, I took the time to speak to with you, yes, it’s my job, but I would never speak to someone the way these people speak to me, regardless of the answer! If I called some place to request cost of something, why would I be rude in return just because I did not like their answer? ! ? Can people just simply say, “ok, thank you for your time”. Or even just, “thanks”.
I have also experienced quite a lot lately where people arrive for viewing  (the family) and other family members have not yet arrived. Now when people come in to make arrangements there is an informant. Usually that person is the next of kin. This is the person who is ‘in charge’. So if that person has not yet arrived and other family members have, we typically wait for them before letting anyone go into the chapel, unless the informant has told us previously that it is ok that people go in if they are not there. Well, you can imagine a group of people arriving expecting to be able to enter the Chapel for first viewing, which is considered the family hour, and we have to say that so and so has not arrived yet so we will have to wait for them…you would think people would understand this, but no. Usually they get quite pissy with us! I mean really? Here is let’s say, the grandkids and maybe some cousins and even the deceaseds siblings but the husband hasn’t arrived yet and the husband is the informant. So we tell them that that Mr. Whoever hasn’t arrived yet but once he does then they may go in. Why would we NOT wait?? This happens alot when we have a younger person and there are two sets of parents and also when there are siblings. If siblings arrive early, they seem to think they can just go on in. To be honest, I don’t care one way or the other. Well anyway, they get pissy because they have to wait and also think they are above having to wait. This not only happens with family but friends as well. We get so many friends that show up during family hour who feel they should be allowed to go in, regardless if family has gone in yet or not. Of course if the family is there, we will ask them, but if no one has been in yet, then no! Why would you think it’s ok for us to let you go in before any of the family has even been in? I’ve heard the excuse that they won’t be able to make it later, they have to go to work or whatever, so they just thought they would come by early. It just doesn’t work that way.
On to the next.. Life Insurance. I know that people want their money!! Don’t call me, call the insurance company!! Calling the funeral home is not gonna help you get your money faster. We want our payment too! So of course I have to explain, AGAIN, that it’s not uncommon for us to wait 30 days or more to receive payment. Also that we will only receive OUR portion, not yours! Your payment will be sent directly to you. Ok, they say. or they ask why it takes so long. . Then a week goes by and that same person is calling, AGAIN, complaining that it’s taking too long. Not my problem.. As I stated TWO TIMES  already, call the insurance company!
We ask our families who will be coming in to pick up the flowers, the family items (sign in book, extra prayer cards, death certificates, anything we removed from casket prior to closing casket, etc). We always ask them the evening before the funeral. We also ask if they would like the cards from the flowers removed and put in the bag with their family items. We explain to them that whoever they list will be the only people we will release the flowers to as well as anything else! It seems lately that this has become a big deal. Some people, wether it be family members or friends, feel that they are doing the family a favor by coming to the funeral home and trying to pick up everything for them “so they don’t have to worry about it”. Well, that’s nice and all, but we can’t let you take anything”. This seems to piss people off. They can’t grasp that flowers are “that big of a deal”. I don’t care personally, but the family does! Also, there are personal items as well, like jewelry, donation envelopes, cards, death certificates, etc. How do we know you aren’t going to help yourself to the jewelry or the donation envelopes and then say you didn’t take anything and blame the funeral home? When there are several children or siblings or whoever and they have to split up flowers because one person wants this plant and another wants this arrangement, do it at HOME! And NO, we do not take photos of each flower arrangement! And again, if you want to take pictures of each arrangement, DO IT AT HOME! I hate when family arrives to pick their things up and they stand there going back and forth over who is taking what and then arguing over it! I don’t really care if your employer sent that one or this one, just someone take it already! As far as the cards being removed, it’s really annoying when they have told us to remove them then when they come to pick them up, someone mentions that now they won’t know who sent what and now when doing Thank You cards your not gonna know!! You do not have to write in the thank you card that you are thanking them for the flowers they sent. You simply write the deceaseds name… and since I’m speaking of Thank You cards, you do not need to send a prayer card with each Thank You card! If you are sending out a Thank You card to someone chances are you are sending it to someone who came to the visitation and or funeral, right? So, more than likely when that person came to funeral home and or church, they took a prayer card! And what do most people do with those cards anyway? They hang on to them for a little while maybe.. or they put them away someplace and I bet most of them end up in the trash. I’m sure there are those who do keep them, but I’m sure most throw them away…eventually. But, anyway, unless someone wasn’t able to make it, but did send something, then yes, by all means, send them one, but if they signed the book, don’t waste your money by ordering more! I have so many families come back and ask if they can have more just for that reason. I always tell them they don’t have to send them, but…they want them anyway. I will usually just give them away, unless they want alot or if there was a photo on their cards. I had one family who wanted more and there was a photo on these particular cards, so not only did it take a day for us to get them ready for them it cost them over $100 because they wanted 100 cards! It’s just kinda ridiculous to spend that money on them when you already did and you are now going to send another card to the same people who already got one.
Most of our State is now on edrs, which just means we can file death certificates electronically. But there are still a few cities who aren’t on it, which makes it very inconvenient for me. I can’t do a death certificate on edrs if the city in which it files in is not using it. Also, many doctors still haven’t grasped that they can now sign a faxed copy of a death certificate, even when I try my hardest to explain to them that they can and why! Even though they have ALL been notified by the State of what edrs is and that they can sign a faxed copy! It just makes it all so much easier on us because otherwise we are running around dropping off and picking up death certificates. The doctor can be an hour away and when we go to their offices they don’t just sign them while we are there, we have to leave it and wait for a call letting us know its ready, so then we have to go to their office again to pick it up! Most doctors are not so cooperative when signing either. There are laws regarding time frame, but they really are not enforced and there are times when doctors will just leave it sit on their desk for days and we are calling the office asking if its ready yet. The office staff aren’t always pleasant to deal with either, which just makes the whole experience a pain in the ass!
Well, those are my recent rantings…
Hope you all are enjoying Spring, now that it has arrived!


4 Responses to “Life at a funeral home – WHY”

  1. Admin.Asst. Says:

    I feel for you, regarding death certificates!!! We’ve electronic death certs for about 15 years now. About 5 years ago, the system became available to doctors so they can complete, or certify, the death certificate online. But in my city, only one doctor will complete the death certificates online. The rest of the doctors will only sign them by hand. And completing them by fax is not allowed in my state. So we are wasting our gas and time running dc’s around town or even outside of town. It’s frustrating. And like in your state, there is no enforcement of signing the death certificates online. DCs have to be completed within 48 hours (I think) but again, there are no penalties enforced when they don’t sign them within that time frame.

    You are correct, people are getting more rude as the years go by. I think it comes from the bad behavior from TV. Like those Bridezilla shows, or any of the reality shows. Bad behavior gets ratings and people emulate what they see on tv. They think it’s okay to be mean, I guess.

    We had a family, last week, who just kept stopping by the funeral home. They think it’s okay to just come and go. It was a very busy week and we only had one funeral director on. This family would stop by at least 3-4 times a day, despite the funeral director being with other families when they showed up. Then they would try and get me to do stuff and I’d have to tell them “I can’t do that. Only a funeral director can do that.” They were clueless.

    We had another family, on Friday, who also came by 3 times in one day. They would call and say “Tell the funeral director we’ll be there in 5 minutes.” Finally, around noon, they called and said “We’ll be there in 5 minutes.” and I told them “The funeral director has stepped out for lunch. She’ll be back in half an hour!” They seemed shocked that the FD wasn’t available to them whenever they wanted. Yes people, funeral staff need breaks too.

    Part of the frustration with the job is that when we are busy, we cannot devote the kind of attention that family’s require. But I also would love to be able to say to a family “Look we have 6 other families who have also lost loved ones this week. They deserve the same kind of service that we are providing you, so please understand you are not the only family who just lost of a loved one.”

    • I think the doctors are just as rude as everyone else. Once I’m a while when we get paperwork with a body, especially from hospice, a doctor’s name and ph # will be on the paper. Sometimes it’s the doctors cell phone! Heaven forbid you call that #! How are we supposed to know it’s their cell and then the doctor is bitching at us about calling it! Tell your staff or Hospice nurses, not us! I am not the one who will typically call the doctors office, but when I do, I always look up their number online first! Sometimes when we do have to page a doctor and they call back, I will have to put them on hold a minute just so I can get the person who did page them..They don’t like that! I was told the other day by one thst he didn’t have time to wait! I told him that I was not the person who called him, that we are also very busy caring for his now deceased patient and his/her family! I absolutely hate that everyone thinks we are not busy! You are so right when you say you want to tell your,families that we also have other families who we are helping! But again heaven forbid anyone think they are not TOP priority! I wholeheartedly understand that every family feel they are our top priority, but sometimes you get those families who just are so high maintenance! I absolutely hate having to be nice to the people who are just downright mean! They have no reason to treat us that way. It’s almost as if they feel they are doing us a favor by being there. Just the other day a woman who came in said “I can go down the,street to such and such funeral home, it’s not a problem, just so you know that up front”. Ok, go then! I’d really rather you go anyway, now that I know you’re a bitch! But, no, still gotta sit there with our sympathetic ear and take their shit..
      TV is ridiculous. .I have to admit tho, I use to watch Bridezillas all the time until one episode with this one of the horrible brides stuck her dog in a cake! I was disgusted and have refused to watch it ever since and I also wrote an email to Bravo for even allowing that to be shown on tv!

  2. We’ve had edrs for a few years now and it is nice. We were required to take classes on how to use it before it was implemented. Too bad doctor’s offices were not required to take training as well. We still get the occasional question of, “When you will be dropping it off?” or, concerning the fax, ‘We didn’t know what it was so we threw it away.”

    • we all has to go for class too.. I only wish everyone would hop on board, it really does make it so much easier! Most of the doctors are just so hard to work with, regardless.

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