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Life working at a funeral home – SO BUSY

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 20, 2017 by thefuneralbizz

First off, I got a new tablet and I haven’t mastered this keyboard yet and so there will be a lot of spelling errors…my apologies!

Secondly, I have not posted in a long time…I have a lot to write about, but of course its mainly about how truly awful people are. So yes, this post will once again be me venting and bitching! sorry, but this is why I started this blog, to vent my frustrations!! So let’s begin the bitch fest!

I’ve about had it with people, had with the way people feel its ok to speak to others so rudely. How everyone is so quick to pass the blame or take out their bad day in people they have never met before. How people have become so demanding! Its not only those planning a funeral either, it can be a simple phone call asking a question, but just gotta be a smartass or rude, or don’t like the answer… Especially if your calling for pricing. You called and asked me to give you a price. I give you that price and you don’t like it. You have the option of saying a few things. You can simply sand Thank You and end the call. You can ask for differnt prices of other options, you can say ok, that’s out of my price range but thank you for your time…. I don’t see the need for any rude remarks. I don’t see any need for anyone to start bitching about how “I” charge way too much just to rip people off, etc. You don’t like the price, that’s fine, just say thanks good bye! 

When we are assisting you in planning a funeral, there are SEVERAL questions that need to be asked. We aren’t doing it just to piss you off! I would say most of the questions that we ask come in the beginning of the arrangement. Those questions are the info we need for the death certificate. You know, those death certificate’s everyone thinks are gold and just have to have them now! Well, without the info we cannot get you any! We always explain before starting with the questions why we are asking, yet it never fails that we get asked, “….what are ais these for, and why are these questions necessary”? So we go back and explain again! Its as if we are wasting their time. Its irritating. Know what else is irritating…When you have a family come in and there are several family members and they all talk over you and get off track and the arrangement lasts for two hours! Then while we are trying to get questions answered and trying to do all the work so the family doesn’t have to.. We sometime step away into another office to make those calls especially if there are a lot of people in the arrangement office, because they can’t be quiet long enough for us to be on the phone. So while we are making phone calls on behalf of the family, the family is in the arrangement office, we usually leave them to pick out prayer cards or flowers other times we just say that we will be a few minutes. Well the other day, we had to call the cemetery and while on the phone, which was approximately 10 minutes, here comes one of the family members. My boss was on the phone in another office and I was in mine. The person who came walking into the office was one of the deceaseds sons. I said hello and he said, “where’s that guy that was meeting with us, we need to get this wrapped up and get a move on, we still need to pick out the flowers and my sisters don’t feel like sitting around here anymore”. REALLY?? That irritated me. You need to get this wrapped up and tired of sitting around here? Well, we could have told you to call the cemetery yourself, we could have told you to go get your own flowers, but no. That “guy” you were meeting with is the Funeral Director and he TOLD you that he was going to call the cemetery for you and he would be back in a few minutes, it make take a few… So I said to him that the DIRECTOR is on the phone with the cemetery getting YOU and your family the information you will need and he will be done once he gets that information for you, so you can go ahead and go back to the arrangement office and the director will be back once he finishes up. He simply just walked away. Its just bothersome that noone can just take into consideration that WE are actually helping you. If we didn’t do these things then it would be that we aren’t helping you enough! Also this particular family wanted a specific day for viewing and funeral, unfortunately we could not accommodate them for the days they wanted, we already had two other families there for visitation and funeral services. Believe me when I say we do not like telling anyone we cannot accommodate them for the dates they want. Well, they were not happy about it and asked why there was nothing we could do.. My boss explained to them the reason why and he apologized and discounted their funeral charges, but that was still not enough.. He just came out and told them that there was nothing he could do and if they needed to go to another funeral home then that’s what they should do and he wouldn’t charge them the transport fee. In the end they stayed with us but made it clear they were disappointed. Ok, so we are fully aware you are not happy about it, so are you going to keep bitching about it? So finally they were on their way, thank God. That same day we had another arrangement about an hour later, it was close to the end of the day and I had been running my ass off. Before the next arrangement came in, my boss was in the embalming room, I was working on all the funeral arrangements and answering the phones. The family who had just left called. It was one of the daughter’s of the deceased. She wanted to know if there was anything at all we could do to accommodate them for the day they wanted!! Were you not just here for almost two hours discussing this! No, I’m sorry, there is not one single thing we can do! On to the next arrangement, not as stressful as the other one but during that arrangement, someone is at the door. I answer it and it’s the other family! They have “things” they need to drop off…. I asked what they had and if there is a lot. They say, yes there is a lot, food, soda pop, snacks, pictures, and the deceaseds violin!! They have a stand for it and NEED to set it up! I told them they could bring it in, but could not set it up because there is a body in the chapel whose funeral is in the morning! They of course were not happy about this and said they HAD to set it up and can’t they just place it in back of the chapel? No, you cannot, there will be a family in there tomorrow along with their friends and family, I don’t think they will understand why your mothers violin is in their room! So, they said they had to bring in their food. I had to explain to them they were welcome to bring it in but we would have to put it all in the storage closet until after the other family leaves, again, not pleased with anything I was telling them! I told them I would leave the door unlocked for them so they could bring in their things. I’m pretty sure they expected me to help them and if I had not been so busy I may have, but at this point I was fed up with them. They even asked ifthere wasn’t another door closer they could use. Unfortunately there is not and I was given the “ugh, ok”. Because somehow its my fault. Maybe you just don’t need to bring in ALL that CRAP! On to day of visitation, big family, lots of kids! No one bothered to watch these screaming misbehaved children who thought it would be ok to color on the bathroom walls with their crayons! They were obviously bored being stuck at a funeral home all day because at one point they decided to make about 20 cups of coffee using all the cream and sugar and make a horrendous sticky mess and put the empty coffee pots back on the hot burners! First of all WHYwere they allowed to play with HOT coffee!! I just don’t get it!! They were also playing with something that had a lot of glitter because it was everywhere! I am always amazed by the lack of supervision! I don’t understand why no parent is watching what and where their kid is at and what they are doing!! Then for them to destroy our bathroom walls and not one person apologized or offered to pay for the cleaning cost.. This is one of the reasons why funeral costs are high and continue to rise, overhead! Who do you think has to pay for the cleaning and damages? Not that it happens that often where we actually have to repair or replace things, but it does happen, cleaning we must constantly do. 

I’ll stop here and stop the moaning and groaning, for now ūüėÄ

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Life working at a funeral home – Family Items & other stuff

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on March 16, 2015 by thefuneralbizz

After a funeral the family will usually come back to the funeral home to pick up any flowers and their other items. Other items are usually, the certified copies of the death certificates, the sign in book, thank you cards, any extra prayer cards or folders, any photos or any other items the family had brought in to display for visitation. Once the funeral leaves our funeral home the staff gathers these items and will put them together for when the family comes back.
What is irritating is when families come back and they take photos of all the flowers! Especially when they have alot of them.. Then they stand there and say “well maybe so and so would like to have this one or should we take this one and leave these or…blah blah blah”. Just take the flowers, take your photos home, then distribute them at that time! Also, if you have photos and you have used our picture boards, usually we will not remove those photos. Reason being is we do not want to be responsible for damaging them. Also, some photos may belong to different family members. But…I have removed them before, but usually only if I have worked closely with that family or if they only have a few pictures. What i don’t like is when a family will use tape on the backs of their photos. The older photos are already very fragile and removing the photo off the picture board will sometimes rip the back of the photo.
A tip to families who are planning on bringing in pictures. Make your own boards! Put your photos on a board, cardboard, whatever, then…we can place that in front of our boards. Ours happen to be felt, so we can therefore tack the cardboard to that felt board and place on one if our easels. Now, speaking if easels… We only have so many. We do not have an endless supply of easels. So bringing in hundreds of pictures and or boards, understand we only have so many. Also keep in mind that we may also have another family there who are also using some easels. What i hate is when a family comes in carrying 10 picture boards and hand them to us and we stand there like, uhhhh, and you want me to put ALL of these where!?! We also have several tables around the chapels. Families will bring in framed photos as well. Many times I get… We would like these around or near the casket… Well, uhhhhmmmm, there are flowers around the casket and we can only place maybe a couple near the casket on a smaller easels made for larger framed photos..there are tables everywhere, USE THEM! Of course we always try to do what the family wants, but sometimes we just have to say…No, you can place them where you want. Another issue I often get is when a family brings in photos and picture boards and photo albums a few days prior to their visitation. The problem is they want to go ‘set it up’. That is not always possible because we may be using that chapel for another family at the moment or we simply are unsure what chapel your family will be in. I cannot count how many times i have had this happen and when we try to explain that we cannot let them, but we will keep their items until day of visitation and then we will place them in chapel and when they come in ‘for family hour’ they will have the time to set them up where they want. And…next question I get… Ok, so what time should we get here then? Well…your family hour begins at…’ whatever o’clock’ so that time.

When you are planning a funeral and whether or not the deceased has property at a cemetery, most cemeteries will require the family to physically go to the cemetery to pre site the grave space. Cemeteries also typically require at LEAST 24 hours notice. Alot of them require 48 hours notice. So this means that when you come to the funeral home and arrange the funeral, you must give the cemetery enough notice. If you come in to the funeral home at 3PM and want a burial the following morning….it’s more than likely not going to happen. Also, when we tell you that you need to go to cemetery TODAY to pre site because they need 48 hours (and funeral/burial is in 48 hours) you MUST go. You cannot leave the funeral home and say, well we have to here then here and then here first… no, you must go to the cemetery! We get so many families who don’t listen when we say just how important it is to go…now! It’s different when the actual burial/entombment isnt for another few days, but we often have those who want to have the visitation and funeral asap. And, yes, we have had those families who altho we stressed the importance of getting to the cemetery asap, they do not go and….the cemetery says, ‘Nope’. The family of course becomes upset or angry and it is usually at us and or the cemetery. Not too long ago we had a family who was planning a funeral and part of the family lived out of town. It just so happened that the family who lived out of town were the ones who were in charge of planning the funeral.. Let me take a step back for a minute, this was also a ship in from out of state.. So, the deceased was shipped in from where the other family members were. Now, it typically takes a day or two for a body to be shipped. We will not schedule anything until we have the body at our funeral home. Once we have the body, the family typically comes in to the funeral home and finalizes all the arrangements. If the family is also coming from out of state, they will come in once they get in to town. But in this instance, the family was not going to be getting in to town right away and wanted to do most of the arrangements over phone so once they did get here they didn’t have to worry about coming in prior to visitation. We had also worked with this family and many of their other family members before, so they knew that we knew what they wanted. But…this particular person did not have any property at the cemetery they would be using. All of their family uses that particular cemetery. Well…the issue we had was that the family was not going to be in town soon enough before the burial to go to cemetery and pick out grave space to purchase, even tho their main concern was getting space close to all their other family members. They initially wanted entombment and not burial..but, to purchase the grave space was more within their budget. So they were relying on the cemetery to find a space close as possible to their other relatives. The cemetery told them they had a grave space available, it was ‘near’ the other family members.. The cemetery told them they really did require a pre site. The family then contacted us and wanted us to go pre site for them. We do not do that, ever! We explained that to them and told them the cemetery may agree to fax a waiver of pre site to us, so they could sign it, but the waiver states that the family hold the cemetery harmless. The family agreed and said to fax them the waiver. The cemetery agreed to do so. When the family came in on day of visitation we told them that if they had time, they should go take a look at the gravesite. They insisted that they were sure it was fine. We told them that we do not know where it is at, that noone from the funeral home went to see it because again, we do not do that and that is why they signed the waiver. Well… day of funeral, funeral arrives at cemetery and when they were taken to the gravesite, guess who was NOT happy? So, they were told at that time, if you are not happy, then do not go forth with the burial. They could just conclude the services, go speak to the cemetery and see what, if anything, they could do. One option was paying…again…for the crypt they originally wanted but decided on getting gravespace due to cost. They said, NO, they were burying the deceased and what a disgrace it would be to conclude services without burial.. However, they continued to yell and voice their displeasure the whole time and continue to say how we, the funeral home, screwed up! The director politely reminded them that they signed the waiver and that we made it very clear that we or the cemetery were not responsible for anything. Also if they in anyway feel they do not want to have the deceased buried in that space, then they should not do it because it would be much harder later on if they decide to move the deceased. They continued with burial. A few days later we started to get the phone calls from family complaining about how we screwed up and that they trusted us and they would have never chose that spot for the deceased, etc… They then told us they wanted the body moved! But they did not feel it was their responsibility to have to pay for it! They were told that we were not paying for it and the cemetery was not paying for it and they knew, understood and agreed to siging the waiver and not personally going to the cemetety themselves! This went on for a few weeks. They eventually let up because they knew they were the ones responsible for this, but they still decided to move the body…and pay for more space!!¬† As a funeral home, we go out of our way to please our families. We get many unusual requests, asked to do things we do not do, etc. But when it comes to approving a grave space or approving engraving on a marker or urn, we will not do that because things like this cost money, is most of the time permanent. Alot of people will say, ‘we trust your opinion or trust it is correct’. But when there is a mistake, guess who is not happy and says they never personally approved it?!?

A word about embalming. It seems, for some reason, every now again we get families that ask us if embalming is necessary. No, it isnt. However…if you plan on having a viewing then more then likely you will want embalming. A dead body is safer then a live one. So chances of disease spreading is typically not a risk. The reason tho you would want it is…you really wouldnt want to see your loved one decaying before your eyes. It is not pretty. So embalming slows down that process so family and friends can come see that person and, hopefully, see that person they remembered. With there hair done, makeup on, their skin intact. Yes, even men get makeup so the skin looks as if they are only sleeping, which is also why eye caps are used..otherwise it would look bad..the mouth is also sewed shut so its not hanging open, which I know I wouldn’t want to remember my loved one laying there with their mouth hanging open, unless if course that person was always maybe yelling…just trying to add some humor…i said trying. Also, there are gases that build up in the body, the body will also…leak. when it leaks, its not nice to see or sometimes…smell, just like the decay is not a pleasant smell. I can tell you first hand that there is really no comparison to a rotting corpse. Once you do get a whiff, it sticks with you all day…and night, and if you dont shower, then probably the next day too. You just cant shake it. So you really wouldn’t want to walk into visitation and have to endure the smell of decay. Personally, and ONLY my opinion, I would not want to be embalmed..and my family knows this. I do not want to be viewed tho either..I do not want to be buried either…I, personally, want to be cremated, then you can bury my cremated remains.
I think alot of people think of a dead body spreads diseases…but the dead are not actively coughing, sneezing, etc… If they did have a disease, usually that disease will also die within a few hours after death. Not all of them, but most. Embalmers take precautions to protect themselves from diseases and we also rely on the hospital, hospice, nursing home, etc, to notify us of any contagious diseases.
So..theres all that.
I havent had a whole lot of time lately to write, work has been busy as well as my life…and by busy i mean STRESSFUL!
I am however, very glad that the weather has began to get warmer!! If it wasnt going to warm up, I was seriously thinking of not leaving my bed until July!

life working at a funeral home…positive??

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on April 27, 2010 by thefuneralbizz

okay….so i¬†do realize that i¬†bitch non stop. i¬†usually don’t have anything positive to say. but, really, this is the place that i¬†come to “complain”. i just usually don’t write about anything positive. so, maybe i will once post something positive. here goes……..

I “do” like the work I do. I do like helping those in time of need. Making sure that all goes smooth so they do not have to worry about anything! When the family comes to you after all is said and done and they thank you for doing such a wonderful job and everything was beautiful and they didn’t have to worry about a thing, it does make you feel really good and appreciated! I love those days when the family comes back after their luncheon to pick up their flowers and keep going on and on about what a great job¬†we did. I enjoy that part of my job, when I am working making sure that all is complete all is done and taken care of, it is a sense of satisfaction. When the family contacts me the day before and asks me questions and I am able to say “nothing to worry about, it’s all taken care of!”

But…….and you all knew there was a “but”, right? I don’t necessarily bitch about the actual work I have to do on my blog. I know my work, I know what I am doing I know when I am supposed to do it, etc…..

If I worked in the retail business, say I worked at a clothing store, I am sure I would be bitching about the people (customers) in that field as well.

In the funeral business, it is time sensitive. So, if things are not completed on time……than, there is trouble! If someone doesn’t contact the cemetery on time, well, then¬†someone isn’t going to be having a funeral that day! Most of the cemeteries around here need at least 24 hours notice. The newspaper, for death notices, they have deadlines, so if someone doesn’t contact the newspaper, someone isn’t getting their death notice in the paper on the day they wanted. Flowers, if the family orders their flowers thru us, and we don’t fax or call in the order on time…..well….you¬† know. There are alot of other things as well, like ordering the casket, the vault,¬†etc. There are also those things that need to be done in office, such as prayer cards/folders, name boards, those items need to be done as well and done right, they must have the correct spelling, if the spelling is incorrect then it makes us look incompetent.

So when I complain about families changing things, it changes all the above. I also complain alot¬†about death certificates. For some reason people think that these death certificates are the most important thing. I realize that people have legal matters to tend to. But they take time and we do our very best to try to get them done as soon as possible. However, we are not only working on just one death certificate at a time. We may have between 2-10 death certificates at any given time. It involves getting the deceased doctors information (finding out who will be signing the death certificate), typing of the death certificate, funeral director must sign as well, calling the doctor to find out when we can come get the death certificate signed (and at that time the doctor will fill in the cause of death), then we have to take it to the appropriate city clerks office (not all death certificates are filed at the same place) then once at the city clerks office they make the appropriate amount of copies of the “certified death certificates” that the family ordered, and then bringing the amount of certified death certificates back to the office and giving it a once over (double checking to make all info is correct) and then calling the family to let them know that they are ready, if the family has yet to have their viewing then we would just keep them in the office until they come in.¬†We can also mail them to the family if they have already had their viewing and services or if it was a direct cremation. So, it involves alot, plus travel time. And remember, there is usually more than one death certificate being done. The person doing the death certificates may have had to go to several different doctors offices and city clerks offices. Traffic, waiting, etc. Sometimes, the funeral home may even be waiting on them to be completed because we may need one for an insurance assignment and with an insurance assignment we usually need to send a certified copy along with the other paper work.¬†

It’s a hard business, especially when you see young people who have passed, either from being ill or senseless matters, such as suicide, drugs or murder. It sucks. And you see the family trying to keep it together and others who only fight with each other. Sometimes the family tried to put the funeral home in the middle of their problems and we cannot¬†do that. It also sucks when you have someone who passes away who had been married for 60 some years and you see that¬†spouse just lost without the other.¬†Just recently¬†we had a woman pass away, her and her husband had been married for 64 yrs!! They had 3 children. They actually live in my own mother and fathers neighborhood. Well, 3 days later the husband died. It wasn’t suicide, he wasn’t ill. Never had any heart problems at all, until 3 days after his¬†wife of 64 yrs passed. When I came into work that morning and received the call that the funeral home received the call the evening before that he had passed, I was¬†just so sad. Later when the family came in, they were not crying, they were in good spirits, but they were upset! The son even said “we may look and be joking around right now, but we really don’t know how to act right now, we are just trying to deal with this minute by minute.”¬†It makes you think for a minute about how important the people in your life are. At any given moment someone you love could be taken away from you. How sad that he passed away of a broken heart and that is what I truly believe. I can only hope to know that kind of love. I hope that they are reunited and together forever now. I have tears in my eyes right now. Although, I have not spoke to the family since,¬†it was a direct cremation for both the husband and wife. I wonder how things would have been if the wife passed first. I hear of that often, when one spouse passes the other is soon to follow. I also find it hard when a mother looses her child at birth or soon after. I have had several cases just like that. usually they are cremations. I believe I have only had one service (with embalming and viewing) for a 1 month old. Most of the time, when we receive the cremated remains of the baby, and we contact the family, it is always the father of the child who comes in to pick up the cremains. I can’t imagine how hard it is for the mother. Then we have had a few services for children who had been¬†on the news due to their death being either an accidental shooting, etc….and the people who call us to find out information and those who feel they are “entitled” to know certain things. That is when I get angry. We had the news channel calling asking us questions. First off, they should know better! This is a child we are talking about! It makes me sick.

So, all of these things affect me day in and day out at my job.¬†It feels good to get out my “rage” when I need to bitch. I think everyone knows how people can be. And like I have said before, not even at work but out and about. People driving, people at the grocery store, etc. I am by far old, but I still expect people to use manners! I feel jipped when people don’t say “thank you” or “excuse me” because I do! If I am driving behind someone who is going under the speed limit, why is the guy behind me riding my ass?!? I can only go as fast as the person in front of me! Why when you see someone behind you coming in the door do you just let go and let it slam in that person’s face! It happened to me yesterday going into the hardware store, some man, maybe in his 20’s walking in front of me, and yes he saw me, he gets to the door first, opens and instead of holding it open for a “second” or just pushing it open a little more, NO, he just walks in.

Another thing…..as far as limo’s go. They are NOT included with the funeral charges. A limo is an extra charge. Just as the prayer cards, sign in book,¬†casket, etc… We get so many families who are confused when they ask us when will the car pick us up? What? Well, if you want a limo, you must pay for one. It is not included.

State assistance. Many Many¬†Many people get confused as to what the State will pay. The State WILL NOT pay for the funeral! They will pay¬†toward it. And it is only a certain amount. The same amount for everyone. It does not depend on if that person was on social security or not. It doesn’t depend on if that person had no money. They will pay so much for a burial and so much for a cremation and that’s final! We, the funeral home, have no say in what the State will pay. The only thing we do is prepare documentation for the family to take with them to the State office. We cannot do it for you, you MUST physically go to the office and apply. If you are denied, then you are denied. If you are approved, then wonderful! If you are applying for someone, they can have NO assets, not even $5 in a savings or checking, do not own a home, etc. If they do, the State will find it and deduct that from what they will pay if they pay at all! I have had so so many families come in for arrangements and one of the first things they will say is that they heard if you have nothing the State will pay for the funeral. It is hard to have to explain to them that they do not pay for the whole thing. There is misinformation out there and people come to us with the wrong info and then become aggravated with us when we tell them that is not true. I have had people tell me they did not believe I knew what I was talking about. Same for veteran benefits. Those benefits that are paid to the family do not come until after the funeral.¬†Except the headstone, IF buried at a National Cemetery. Same with social security, there is only a one time death benefit paid to the family and that also comes after the funeral. Although it would be nice if this money was available to the family to help in assist in paying, but unfortunately it is not. I feel for the families but at the same time, I find it hard to explain it to them and when they get frustrated or angry, I can’t help but feel a bit defensive because they are going thru a hard time and take it out on us. Not all families, but some. Same with insurance assignments.¬†If we are doing an insurance assignment for the family, which means, the deceased has a life insurance policy and¬†the family is using that policy to pay for the funeral, we contact that insurance company to make sure that the policy is good and that there is enough funds to cover the cost of the funeral. The insurance company tells us what they need from us, usually it consists of the certified copy of the death certificate, a claim form, and assignment form signed by the beneficiary or beneficiaries a copy of the funeral contract (when the ins. co requires a claim form, some companies will fax us one but others will only mail¬†it , which takes time). So, we gather all this paperwork and mail it off to the insurance company. We know that we will be waiting¬†at least a few weeks, sometimes a few months to receive that payment. SO…sometimes there is extra money on that policy, and that extra money goes to the beneficiary.¬†That money will be mailed directly to the beneficiary or beneficiaries.¬†We do our best to explain this to the family. So many times the family calls us to find out where their money is. Again we explain that we do not receive their portion. That it will come to them.¬†If we have already been paid, then we will let them know, if we haven’t then I will let the family know that we to are still waiting. I have had families come back to the funeral home to ask what is going on and why haven’t they or us received payment. I have to tell them that I cannot answer that for them. The funeral home knows it takes time. That’s all. We are waiting just like you are. I have had families call me just days after the funeral asking if we have received payment yet, even after explaining to them just days before that it will take a few weeks before we receive anything. Also, if someone close to you passes away and has an insurance policy¬†they will have a beneficiary named on that policy. Just because you took care of that person for years and they wanted you to have everything after they pass, then make sure that they know who the beneficiary is on their life ins. policy.¬† Because once they pass there is nothing that can be done about it. Whoever is listed as the beneficiary will be the one who we need to sign the paper work no if’s and’s or but’s about it. it doesn’t help to yell at us and tell us that you have been his caregiver for the last 10 yrs and you are supposed to be getting anything left over. As much as I may believe you,¬†the insurance company doesn’t care.¬†And even though this isn’t a great big deal, but I have been bitched at by at leat 2 people about this. When you make a DVD for a presentation at the viewing and you bring it in and it doesn’t work, there is nothing I can do about it. Sorry. Sometimes they just don’t work. I always tell people if you are going to make one, please bring it in ahead of time to see if it will play on our DVD player because not all of them will. It is something with the CD. Same goes for music, if you are making your own CD of music, I again suggest you bring it in beforehand because it may not play on our CD player. And once again, nothing I can do about it. If you are bringing in pictures, if you make picture boards. I only have a few easals. I do not have 6 of them for you!! Same with extra tables for food. We do not encourage so much food to begin with, but I only have one extra table.¬† Cemetery fees are separate from our fees. Even if you loved one has a grave already, chances are you will still¬†have to pay opening and closing costs, which are usually over $900. So,¬†again, one thing that I find people do not understand. When we give you a total of our costs, it does not include the cemetery charges, you MUST go to the cemetery, especially if¬†you still need to purchase a gravesite. You can purchase a vault thru us or most cemeteries will offer one that you can purchase thru them. I have heard that some cemeteries will offer a discount package if you¬†purchase thru them. So, just extra costs to keep in mind.

Do ya think they paid?……….uhhh….NO!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on April 5, 2010 by thefuneralbizz

so, a few posts ago, i was writing about a family that had come in and insisted that we give them 60 days to pay us. we went back and forth with them and told them we do not accept payments and they kept saying that a few years ago when someone else in their family passed away we let them make payments, which we did not! so anyway the agreement that we came up with was pay us half on the day of service and then they have 30 days to pay us the rest. I wrote that on the day of service that they DID NOT pay us half! they did not pay as anything that day! The woman came in about 2 weeks later and paid a few bucks on it. I was not in the office at the time. But, they still owe us for most of the funeral bill. I believe she paid a few hundred. Well….here we are today and still NOTHING! she called about a month ago and said that she was going to come up on a Saturday and pay us, but she never showed up.¬†I have called them, and no answer. So,¬†this is why we do not take payments.¬†Happens everytime! If they couldn’t afford it, then they shouldn’t have racked up that much of a bill. I get this shit all the time. People are constantly asking me/us “what do you mean you don’t take payments?” Because we don’t fricken get paid, that’s why!

Now i have another family coming in at 3:30p for an arrangement. When I took the call, they would not give me any info! all they would give me was the deceased name and where she passed at. I asked for more info, but they said that they did not feel comfortable talking to anyone on the phone about that “sort” of thing. HUH? I was only asking the persons age,¬†if they wanted burial or cremation, the next of kin and a phone number. WHATEVER!¬† so, I get a call from someone else in the family who wants to know why they have to come in. Seriously? I said ‘to make arrangements for so and so”.¬† He said “but why do we have to come to the funeral home, do we have to sign something or legal documents or something?” OMG! I said, yes you will have a few things to sign also we need to know what to do with the body, cremation, burial,¬†info for the death certificate, how many you want, etc….and you will need to pay!¬† “his response¬† “oh, really? i had no idea that we would have to go thru so much bullshit just because so and so died.” HUH?¬† WHAT? REALLY?¬† can’t wait until they show up! can’t freakin wait!

Life at a funeral home…….still

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on February 25, 2010 by thefuneralbizz

another day another family another funeral……

Have to say that the family we had the other day was very nice…for a change! It isn’t that I mind doing things for families.¬†It depends on the family, sometimes they will need you for every little thing, other families, never even bother you. There never seems to be an in between. The family never asked me for anything. I made coffee and they hardly drank it. They barely went into the lounge anyway. They were quite and polite. Everyone who walked thru the door who saw me, smiled and said hello. They never once stood outside smoking, they were in the chapel with the deceased the whole time. The only incident was that¬†they set certain times, but then in the last few hours asked if they could stay later. They only had it set up until 7pm. So it wasn’t an issue, as long as the person working in the evening didn’t have a problem with it. If the family sets times, then we are only staffed until that time.¬†So if someone wants their viewing until 7pm, then the person who is working only stays until that time, well, until everyone is gone and then they close up the building. The latest we¬†even have visitation is 9pm, which I believe most funeral homes have it. Anyway, if a family were to ask if they could stay later and their viewing was set until 9pm, then it would be a “no”. We absolutely close at 9pm. But, this family asked¬†only for an extra 1/2 hour.

Then on to the next family…….they wanted¬†their viewing to start at Noon. Fine. Then they wanted to come in at 11am. Fine.¬†All was set. Then on the day of, someone is knocking on the door. It is the family. It is only 10am. Not fine. When I let them in, they handed me some items they wanted in the chapel.¬†I told them that I was not ready for them yet and it would be a few minutes, I was not expecting them early. Nothing. Not a word. Just stared at me. So, I walked away with the items, place them in the chapel.¬†Double checked everything.¬†Came back out. They were already in the lounge, smoking and drinking coffee¬†and some more family members were arriving with¬†some food. yay!¬†I went up front to the lounge and asked them if they were ready to go in and they said “well, we are here aren’t we?” uummm. okay. I said “I can go ahead and walk you in.” I proceeded to open the doors for them as I would normally do, and stand aside and let them walk ahead of me. Well, I guess they found that they would just rather push past me and just do what they felt like doing. So, I shrugged my shoulders and walked out.¬†Next, I was in the office doing some work and one of the family members walked in and said “we have music, here.” Ok.¬†So, I put their music in. I walked into the chapel to make sure they could hear the music or that it wasn’t too loud.¬†Go back to my office.¬† Now, keep in mind that they have only been there for about 15 minutes, tops.¬†Another family member came in and said “we need more coffee”. Ok.¬†No, Please or Thank You’s. Just We “need”.¬†I know I am here for the families, I know that is my job, but a Thank you or Please, goes a long way.

Oh, and it is still inappropriate to wear sweatpants, flip flops, slippers, pajama pants or anything of that sort to a funeral home. It is also inappropriate to go outside and drink out of your bottle of Jack Daniels or Tequila Rose!! Then leave the bottles just lying around. It is inappropriate to blare your music so loud in the parking lot while drinking your Jack Daniels or Tequila Rose so everyone in the funeral home can hear it.

Also, when you have a small service. Maybe just a Memorial and you decide you want to use the funeral home facilities.¬†You can choose to have however¬†many hours you like. Of course you have to pay for them, so alot¬†of people decide they will do an hour, some do 2 hours, some do 4 hours. But it is just like a regular viewing, you set times and that is that. When your time is up, you leave. We do the same thing we would do if there was a “body” there. We thank everyone and ask them to pass by the urn or photo and please exit to your vehicles.¬† I think that is what gets me the most, the fact that once we say that and you pass by the casket, urn, etc…¬† no one ever seems to leave! why not!!?? Everyone lingers in the hallways, the lounge, some even come back into the room. We even close the doors with HOPES that people will take the hint that no one is to come back in, but they still DO! this creates some problems especially when we are on a time limit. Say we need to get to church or the cemetery. We have times set up for these things. The church and or cemetery is expecting us to arrive at a certain time. So when people keep walking into the room it¬†takes up our time of having the family take a few mintues to themselves before we close the casket.¬†If we have to remove things out of the casket or off of the deceased, get the flowers together that the family wants to go with the deceased, etc. At that time, we will usually take the sign in book and prayer cards out of the room and I don’t know how many times I have done this and then people walk back in and ask “what happened to the sign¬†in book, I didn’t sign it or where are the cards, I didn’ get one!”. Then I have to go¬†back and get it out and then they have to sign it. Really, when you come into the funeral home, you should sign it then.¬†Also, we need to get the casket out of the funeral home, so we have to move it out of the chapel and thru the hall to the door and if there are too many people standing around it is very difficult to maneuver, especially when¬†people just stand there and stare at you and not move.¬†I am just amazed that they see you trying to get this casket by them and they just refuse to get out-of-the-way. What disrespect is that!?!¬†

Life working in a funeral home…..really?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on February 20, 2010 by thefuneralbizz

So, when deciding on what kind of funeral arrangements to have, I think most families think of everyone ‘else’, not themselves. I had a family recently that had a death in the family, a younger person, I believe she ¬†was¬†only 43. What the family said was ‘oh, we will need two days of visitation because there will be a lot¬†of people who will be coming and then¬†the third day we will have the funeral services, we will meet at the funeral home, then to the church then to the cemetery.”¬† I mean, of course if this is what the family wants then this is what the family will receive.¬†But, it turns out not so many people showed up, well, at least not as many as they thought. They did not have a lot¬†of money but scraped together enough for all of this. It bothered me because the mother of the deceased is not in good health herself and her other children were pushing for all this visitation time. She was just agreeing with them. They could have saved a lot of money by not doing so many hours at the funeral home, could have cut costs by not having the funeral service start at the funeral home and or¬†just going straight the cemetery and having the chapel service. But, anyway, the first night of visitation was not busy but not slow either, there were quite a few people there who spent a lot of time outside! in the parking lot. being loud! now, we are on a main road, but we also have a residential area right next to us. So one would “think” or hope that people would respect the fact that people actually live next to the funeral home. Guess not. Also, when leaving that evening there were plenty of¬†cups left all over the place, in the parking lot, thrown into the landscaping, everywhere, including beer bottles everywhere. What kind of respect for OUR property and the people who live near us is that? Do you litter you front yard with cups and beer bottles? I would hope not. Although I know there are some place like that around, I just find it to be disrespectful. We have trash cans. You walked back into the building before leaving for the night, why couldn’t you just bring in your cups when you walked in?

When we ask that you bring clothing in by a certain time, we aren’t just ‘making up’ a time, we actually need the clothing! We have to get the deceased dressed for visitation. It is not such an easy process to dress the deceased. It usually takes¬†two people and a lift. So, I know that people may really not know that you can’t just “slip” the clothing on the deceased at the last-minute. It just doesn’t work that way. And when I call you because you were suppose to bring the clothing in the day before and it is the next day and viewing is to start that same day in a few hours, i really don’t appreciate a smart ass attitude.

I also don’t appreciate being argued with over certain things. When you want a burial, you will need a vault. I don’t care where you purchase that vault from, but you will need one. We sell them and of course we want you to buy it from us, why wouldn’t we? But, you can also purchase it through the cemetery if they sell them. I know I have complained about this before but it seems like almost everyone wants to argue over vaults with us anymore. It is required to have a vault. you can buy the least expensive one or you can buy one for $10,000, i don’t care. But you will need one!

Again on insurance. It takes time! Just because you filled out the claim form and I mailed it, does not mean that 5 days later I will hear anything! Sometimes it takes a few months! Sometimes I will hear back in a couple of weeks. Quit bugging me about it already! It has only been 5 days! We told you at the time that we would not know until we received a check in the mail or a phone call if something was wrong. So why are you coming in 5 days later to find out what is going on with it because we have not called you? Your not getting any of that money anyway. We are! It is paying for you funeral!

Also, please, if you want to “view” the deceased anytime prior to visitation time you MUST choose to have a family hour! WE ALWAYS ask at time of arrangement if you would like to have a family hour, just for family to view before ANYONE else is allowed to go in. ALWAYS! Even if you want to come in a day early for a few minutes, just a few immediate family members LET US KNOW when we ask! Do NOT call us a few days or the day before and ask “when does the family get to view the deceased, should we come in early? or can we come in on such and such a day?” NO NO¬†NO NO¬†NO NO¬†NO NO!¬†¬† I want to scream NO YOU CANNOT! we asked at the time of arrangements and you said NO!

Funeral Home work..Life Insurance

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on January 16, 2010 by thefuneralbizz

Okay…you have a Life Insurance Policy or a loved one has a Life Insurance Policy and the pass away. You make your appt.¬† to meet to make funeral arrangements and of course you bring in the insurance policy. Especially if you want the insurance to pay for the funeral and you don’t want to pay out-of-pocket. The funeral home will do an insurance assignment. IF you would rather collect on the ins. policy yourself and pay for the funeral costs out-of-pocket that is fine as well, but if you are depending on this life ins. policy to pay for the funeral so you don’t have to , then please double-check the policy to make sure that it is over 2 years old! If it is under two years old then it WILL BE contested! You “MAY” get what premium you paid into it over the course of 2 years, but that is no nearly enough to pay for a funeral. I have had a few families over the last 2 weeks or so that have brought in policies that¬† have been under 2 years old and for some reason they cannot grasp the concept that the insurance is NOT going to pay for the funeral! And it does not have anything to do with the funeral home! if the life insurance company isn’t going to pay, then it is NOT going to pay and we have no say in whatsoever! NONE ! at all! it is strictly up to them!

When someone passes at home usually the coroner is contacted. if is a suspicious death, then the coroner is going to take that body and conduct an autopsy! We will contact the coroner and ask them to give us the info on the deceased, such as time of death, day of death, when will the body be ready for pick up. They will let us know when we can come to pick the body up. BUT, the family must ID the body! so we cannot do the removal until the family has ID’d the body! or at least someone who knows the deceased! Please don’t tell us that “you are NOT going to that place to ID the deceased, because if you don’t, we DON’T make the removal. see where this is going…..good.

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