Archive for funeral arrangements

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

Life Working at a funeral home – VENTING!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 25, 2017 by thefuneralbizz

I’ve been working on another post, but I have to vent!

First of all, I want to say to anyone who may be reading this that the reason I started this blog was so I could vent my frustrations. over the past 9 years, I’ve had a few comments about my bitching.. my purpose was and is not to argue with anyone or start arguements, but I do realize that it happens, especially on the Internet. I haven’t really really vented in a while, but right now I just need to. So if anyone is reading this and gets upset by what I write here, I make no apologies and I will not respond to any comments that lead to a back and forth arguing.

I’ve mentioned in other posts about how I feel about people, that they are rude, no one has any manners anymore and everything¬† is now now now! It has just got out of hand and I for one am just beyond fed up! I’m tired of having to bend over backwards for people! I get it, I work in the funeral business, but I’m still sick of rude obnoxious spoiled people. I am tired of the people who I have to deal with including ‘some’ of the families we get. Why don’t people LISTEN?!? We are NOT at the funeral home 24/7! We are NOT there just sitting around waiting just incase you want to stop by at 5pm on Sunday evening because you want to drop off the pictures for the visitation you are going to have on Tuesday at Noon! NO! We are not going to sit and wait around on you on a Saturday evening because you want to drop off clothing that we TOLD you to bring in by 5pm on FRIDAY! ! It doesn’t work that way! We have hours of operation just like other businesses! The only difference is that we make ourselves available after hours incase a death occurs. Of course we will answer a call at anytime of the day or night for a death call. We are not available anytime of the day or night because someone needs a work or school excuse. You actually think that we are going to stop what we are doing on a Sunday afternoon¬† (the funeral home is closed if there is no visitation), and run to the funeral home because someone forgot to get a work excuse while they were there for the funeral? NO we aren’t! It’s just dumb shit anymore. I have people call during the evening or on weekends when we are closed and say that they are at the funeral home but no one is answering the door! Nine times out of ten, they are annoyed that no one is there! Really? You just decided to show up and you’re mad? Then to find out its just because they have a couple cases of water to drop off for their visitation the following day! Look, you set times for your visitation, you get a family hour! How long does it take really to carry a few cases of water into the funeral home? Maybe ten minutes TOPS?!? I hate when we set times and the family hour is all set and the next question I get is, ‘so what time can we all come”? Are you kidding me?
Want want want, but don’t put forth the effort to get what you want! You want grandma in a certain dress, she cannot wear anything else. Fine, that’s understandable, but when you are told that we MUST have that dress by a certain time, BRING it by that time!! You want a photo on the prayer folders, we tell you we must have that photo by a certain time in order for them to be ready by your visitation, then have it to us by that time!
Another annoying thing, when families start telling everyone when visitation and funeral will be BEFORE they even come in to make arrangements! DO NOT DO THAT! Don’t post on social media about it, nothing, until you have actually made the ARRANGEMENTS with the funeral home!!
You may want your viewing on Tuesday and funeral on Wednesday and you want specific times, and usually we can and will accommodate that, but sometimes we can’t! Also it may not even be us who is unable to accommodate those days and times, it could be that your priest or pastor is not available at that time, or the church is not available at that time! USE COMMON SENSE! Just because someone died, the world does not stop! And I absolutely hate when the attitude comes out because they don’t get their way!
Same thing with the God forsaken death certificates! It’s sometimes the only thing some people are focused on. You’ll get the freaking death certificates, but we cannot force the doctor to sign it any faster! Believe me, if we could we would! They are becoming harder and harder to accomplish anymore and when we try and explain the process of getting a death certificate signed, no one listens! If people would just shut up for two seconds and stop being so selfish and understand that there are some things that you just have to wait for! Trust me when I say I want nothing more then to get the death certificate signed and give to you asap!
Food, yes, my biggest pet peeve! I dislike those of you who bring in food! I’ve always bitched about it, but never really came right out and said I can’t stand those families who feel the need to bring in a shit load of fucking food! It’s like the biggest concern, not the deceased, but the freaking food! And.. why? Why do you need to bring in so much food anyway? Some snacks, water, even some soda, fine, but people, STOP it with your freaking food at the funeral home! You do not need to feed the people who are coming to pay their respects! especially if you plan on having a luncheon! ERGHHH!
As I have said before, if you are here for visitation and will be all day, then leave for an hour to go eat! Or bring “yourself” some thing in. I just get so irritated with the families who make it all about their food, when can we bring in the food? is there enough room? do you supply plates and utensils? cups? water? napkins? is there tables for everyone to sit at, should we bring in our own table? where will we keep the food that needs to be kept cold? And I just love when they bring in their crock pots!

Children.. they are YOUR kids, NOT MINE! I will not watch your kids. If you must bring them with you then you need to keep them under control and they should be on their best behavior! They should not be permitted to run around like wild animals. There are things that they can get hurt on. Our funeral home is not child proof and you should not assume it is. We have steps/stairs and when your brats are let loose to run wild, well, when they fall or go rolling down the stairs and crack their heads open on the tile, it’s no one’s fault but your own! It’s is also not a place for their screaming! It is still a place of business and we are still working here. Use common sense!! Your kid is yelling and screaming, would you allow that at home while you are on the phone? Do you allow them to yell and scream and run up and down and up and down and up and down your steps? Probably not! Then don’t let them do it at the funeral home! Sometimes there are more then one family using the funeral home and that other family does not want to hear your kid! Have some respect for others!
If and when an employee does tell your child to quiet down or stop running, do not give them dirty looks, if you were doing your job as a parent, then the employee would not have had to say anything! I think it’s ridiculous that you bring your small children to a funeral home all day anyway. Get a sitter! Go home! take turns with your spouse or other family member. Bring them some books to read or color, do not assume they will be ok unsupervised! You may not be the only family using the funeral home, you have no idea what kind of people are here or who can walk in the door! We do not stand at the door and ask who every person is as they come in.
Flowers. . We get flowers all throughout the day and we have to carry them into the chapel. So if the family and visitors are here and flowers come in, we have to walk in the chapel with a stand and a flower working our way past everyone. Be polite and MOVE for us would ya?!? Also, when we set the flowers down, don’t stand over my shoulder waiting to look at the card! Wait a minute until I walk away! Also, if you don’t see your flowers you sent, sure you can ask us about it, but if we don’t have your flowers and they aren’t on our sign in list, then you need to contact the flower shop. I’m not sure why we get asked, “why aren’t my flowers set out”? Well, if they didn’t get delivered then I can’t set them out.”
Then comes the… “why were my flowers not delivered”? I don’t know, call the place you ordered them from!
It’s just stupid shit really.. But it adds up and pisses me off! We had a very busy few months and people have been really more annoying than usual.
There is alot to do and think about once someone passes, but it still is not an excuse to be an asshole! And yes, I’ve lost loved ones and yes, I’ve been the one who made the arrangements. And during those times I was not a jerk to anyone just because.
I received a comment recently.. it was said that I was quick to judge. There may be times when I am, sure. But, probably more so outside of work. It is difficult to judge those people/families I work with because I actually get to know them. I’ve never met these people before, so when they come in I meet them for the first time and immediately get to know them. I work with them from the moment I speak to them on the phone or the moment they walk in the door so I don’t really get the opportunity to judge anyone before getting to know them, especially in this business. If there is an insurance assignment, it is to pay the funeral bill, anything left over goes to the beneficiary/beneficiaries. I hear the stories!

So, there it is, my rant. I’m just burnt out. . I’m sure those in the business can understand.

Life at a funeral home – WHY

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on April 18, 2016 by thefuneralbizz

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!

Life working at a funeral home – Just some ramblings

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on December 22, 2015 by thefuneralbizz

So I’m trying to keep up and blog alittle more instead of waiting so long in between..
I wanted to blog a bit today about some stuff I was thinking about and most likely my usual rantings…
First thing I wanted to write about is all the articles I read on line about funeral homes and how we are always trying to charge people so much or how these articles talk about how funeral homes won’t disclose their prices, their GPL’S (General Price List) and how funeral homes are required to do so but make it so hard for the consumer to get one. I cannot speak for other funeral homes, I can say that the funeral homes in my area gladly present their GPL when asked, including the one I work at. We get many people who come in and ask for a GPL and they are always readily available. If and when people call us for pricing, we also gladly do so. Never ever have we told anyone that we will not give them pricing. Even when families come in to make arrangements, we give them a gpl. We are, by law, required to give them when asked, but again, why wouldn’t we give them out!?! In these same articles, I often see that they talk about why funeral homes in the same area have such price differences. Again, speaking in terms of my area only, the price variances are not that great. What I mostly see as far as price difference is in the Basic Services and Embalming, then maybe what they charge for Hearse, and then merchandise. So for instance, Funeral Home A may charge¬† $1700 Basic Services of Funeral Director & Staff and $800 Embalming. Funeral Home B may charge $2000 Basic Services and $500 Embalming. Give or take. So it’s where that particular funeral home charges more or less for certain things, but pretty much adds up to be around the same as the other funeral home. There is also charges for ‘Other Prep of body’, which is approximately¬† $400, again F.H. A may charge $400 and F.H. B may charge $350. When it comes to hearses, some funeral homes own their own hearse and or Limos, so they may be able to charge less then a funeral home who does not own their own vehicles. Funeral Homes who do not own their vehicles get them from local companies that they usually have worked with for years and since that funeral home obviously has to pay that company a fee, they have to make up some of that cost, so that gets passed on to the consumer. And rightfully so. If we did not, we would be paying for it and not making any money and being a business, just like any other business, that is how we keep our doors open, pay employees, purchasing office supplies, funeral upkeep, heat, electric, etc….Anyway, then there are charges for merchandise. Caskets, Vaults, these are items we purchase from the Casket companies and Vault Companies. We purchase these items from them, we up the cost. Maybe F.H. A sells a particular casket for $1250 but F.H. B sells it for $1500. It just depends.. but F.H. B may only charge $500 for a CRB (concrete rough box) and F.H A charges $695. What I think these people who write these articles are only looking at the prices but not comparing ‘WHY’ certain items are more at one place and less at the other, if they looked closely they could see that basically the prices are pretty close in comparison.
Another topic that irritates me is, Embalming and how these articles talk about how it is not necessary but the funeral home will tell you it is, how there are services available that do not require embalming. Yes, there are services that do not require embalming, but those services typically do not allow for viewing/visitation. They also state that funeral homes are required to have refrigeration, that may be true in some States, but not all. Mine does not.
There is always those people who come in for viewing and say things like, “he looks so good” or “it doesn’t even look like him”. We have had people mad because their loved one doesn’t look like the way they remember them then we have families that can’t thank us enough because their loved one looks so good. . We have had people actually complain to us, but let me just say that the people who usually do the complaining are not even family members. They seem to think they are doing the family a favor by telling us that “they” think we could have done a better job. This doesn’t happen often, it’s happened maybe three times out of all the years I have worked at a funeral home. People also like to feel they are important so they will come to us and tell us that the family needs more prayer cards or the family is upset about something or the family needs more time or they tell us that they will come back and gather all the family items so the family doesn’t have to worry about it. What they don’t understand is, we aren’t going to release any items to anyone but the family unless the family specifically tells us that a specific person may come to get them. Same thing with food (my favorite), people call all day long asking if food is allowed. I want to say NO, but I cant! People feel it’s this big deal that they want to deliver all this food but don’t want the family to know who brought it. Believe it or not, all families don’t bring food or want food, they are far and few, but nonetheless, some just don’t want any. So I think it’s important not to overstep, your intentions may be good, but stop and think for a moment. Also, I’ve been thru death before, having a funeral, spending all day at a funeral home. Yes, you get hungry, but most of the time, everyone else ends up eating that food you brought in, not the family. The family is too busy with guests. So basically you are feeding people you don’t know.. if you want to only have that food for the family, send it to their home, AFTER the funeral or in the days leading up to the visitation. The family is busy, they are most likely tired and sad. They will appreciate it more if they don’t have to cook or worry about what they are going to eat. So, in speaking of families and food.. We recently had a family who brought in some food, for themselves, ONLY! They came in with some donuts, cookies, a lunch meat tray and some bread. It really wasn’t that much however, when they came in they said to us, “could you please put this some place no one else will see it, we would like to have it later and last time we were here (the mother had died about a year ago and this funeral was the father), we brought in food but never got any of it because everyone else who came in for visitation ate it all”! Uhhhm, well, then you shouldn’t bring it in at all. And, where are we supposed to put it! Well, needless to say a few hours later they were hungry and asked if they could have their food set out. All we did was put their stuff in our storage closet. It’s not refrigerated, but it’s cold enough. So we got it out and set it on their table in lounge and thet started eating. About an hour goes by and they came to one of our greeters and asked them if they were going to put their food away? A this point I said, “No”! We don’t really have the time to stand around and watch to see,when you all are done eating and to go get it out each time they wanted something. So anyway, it’s just funny how most people bring in a ton of food because they think they have to feed every visitor that shows up but then here are these people who don’t want anyone to get any!
And…why is that the shortest visitations always have the most food!?! We have quite a few visitations that are 3 hours sometimes even 2 hours, they are usually cremation afterward, so everything concludes in same day. But these are the families who always bring in the most food and sit in lounge the entire time.
Then there are just the downright nutty families. Everyone in the family seems to be just totally loopy! I’m not kidding either. People are just whacked out anymore. Had a funeral couple weeks ago…every single one of them was just nuts. Either slurring their words and just acting odd and the other half all angry. Caught one lady stuffing tissues into her purse. Not the whole box, but actually taking each tissue out of the box and stuffing them in there. Not just a few, but like 2 whole boxes!  not joking!
Well, hope everyone has a great Christmas! !
and a Happy New Year if I don’t post before then!

Life working at a funeral home-I Dunno

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 18, 2015 by thefuneralbizz

I really couldn’t think of a title for this post…so, that’s why I just wrote I dunno..
It seems that lately we have been getting alot of people/families who just show up to the funeral home whenever they feel like it and call the funeral home at hours that are just really stupid..I have said it before, but unless it is an emergency, say if someone has passed away, there is no reason whatsoever to call us outside normal business hours! Now, lets say someone in your family has passed away. You have decided on a Direct Cremation. You will be having a service tho, but not at the funeral home, maybe you will be having a Mass at your church or if you belong to a club, like the vfw or some other type of organization. When you come for arrangements we will explain how long it typically takes to receive the cremated remains back. I have explained the whole process regarding cremation before (getting death certificate signed, getting the permit approved by the medical examiner, forwarding permit to crematory, the cremation itself, etc..), this way if the family wants to begin planning for any services outside the funeral home they can do so however, we also explain that sometimes it does not go as smooth as it should and there is always a possibility of delay. It never fails that a day or two later we get a call from the family asking…again…how much longer it will be before the cremated remains are back, because they have scheduled a service on a certain day. Well, if they in fact have scheduled something that is within the next few days, well, we have to tell them we will do our best but we cannot promise just as we explained during arrangements. At this point we now have to do everything we can to make sure we get the cremains back asap. Most of the time we manage to do so, I just wish people would really listen to us when we explain to them that it does take a few days!! Now alot of people also order urns. So now we have to make sure we get that urn as well..some times people get engraving on those urns, this is a different problem. That urn most likely will not be done and delivered in just a couple of days. So anyway, my point…Once we do receive the cremated remains we will contact the family immediately! We let them know that they are back and they can come pick them up. Normally they will ask how late we are there. They will usually say something like, ok, i think i can be there before you close or i will send another person (we of course will get that persons name from the informant so we know who is suppose to be picking them up. FYI if the informant or knext of kin does not tell us that they will be sending someone else to pick them up, we will not release them). So, this is what I really have an issue with; we have now jumped thru hoops to get these cremated remains back asap at the request of the family. We have contacted them, they are suppose to be by to get them by closing time….and they never show up! Maybe they call the following day and say they couldn’t make it but will be by that day but again, what time do we close? At this point we will usually lie and say we close a half hour earlier only because if we don’t, usually we lock up for the night and an hour later someone is calling saying they are at the funeral home and HAVE to pick up the cremated remains NOW! So…someone has to now leave whatever they are doing, eating dinner, shopping, sleeping, etc…to go back to the funeral home so these people can get the cremated remains. Understandable that they do in fact need them but, we were there when we were suppose to be! We are use to being inconvenienced however, in this sort of instance, it really is very annoying. If the family could have said to us that there really is no possible way for them to get to the funeral home by the time we close, we could have and would have asked, what time can you be here, we can have someone here at the time you are able to here. Or, we would have offered to bring them to thst person!! We do this often. Many times older people are just unable to get out and have to rely on orhers and we understand that. We always go to the length we have to in order to make a family happy. Maybe someone is just unable to leave work early, we will most certainly bring them to you at work as well. But to just not call and say you are running late…that is frustrating! Same goes for if you schedule an appointment. If you have made an appt. to come to pre-plan or maybe to have us help you with life ins. papers and you fail to show up and not call to let is know, well that also is very frustrating. Why? Because we have scheduled everything else leaving that time frame open for you. Who knows if we have received a new call and the family needs to come in to make at need arrangements, so we have scheduled them before or after you. It could also be that there is a funeral that day and your appt is prior to that funeral or after. If it was before and you don’t show up but show up later, noone is going to be there to help you. If it was after the funeral, maybe the Director has rushed back to the funeral home so as not to be late for your appt. and yet, you fail to show up.
This also goes for walk ins…of course, because you all know by now how much they irritate me! If we are not busy, it still bothers me that people do not call first, but it is not as frustrating as if we are busy, in the middle of a funeral service or another family is already there making arrangements. We recently had a family walk in for only pricing. They had called about an hour later to say that they wanted to come back because they wanted to use our funeral home and that theyvwould be back in one hour. This was in the afternoon. So one hour would be at 4pm. Fine, but…they did not show up. They did not show up at 5pm either. At this point we are thinking they must have decided to not use us or they mistakenly called us instead of another funeral home.. At 6:30pm they called because they were at the funeral home and noone is answering the door! Really! They said they had called us and told us they were coming! Yeah, they called, but 2 1/2 hours earlier! When the Director spoke to them and told them that we were there past 5pm but they did not show up or call, their response was that they are very upset and have had alot to do that day and now noone is at funeral home to help them! No, we are sorry or we apologize, we should have called or anything. So now we are dealing with a family who now has an attitude with US because they didn’t show up when THEY were suppose to! The director offered to meet them at the funeral home, it would just be about a half hour for him to get there. Nope, wasn’t good enough for them. The director asked if they wanted to come back in the morning? Nope. They said…they would let us know if they still wanted to use our funeral home, that they may now use another funeral home. Needless to say we did not hear back from them…and you know what? I am glad we did not!
We always are available. Most funeral directors are. But when we say we are always available, we are always available by phone 24/7 and if it is after regular business hours and you need to meet with us, we will also make ourselves available…even when you call us because you are at our funeral home and want to make arrangements. It may just take someone a few minutes to get there. We do not have the ability to snap our fingers and magically appear!¬†
When someone calls our funeral home to ask about visitation times for someone and we are not handeling anything for that person, well, we will say that person is not at our funeral home. If we for some reason know where that person is, we will relay that info to the caller. We get alot of people who will question why that person is not at our funeral home. We have no clue! Most funeral homes will service the same family for years, every person who passes in their family is brought to the same funeral home. So when someone passes away from a family that always uses the same funeral home but suddenly goes elsewhere, it becomes confusing for the rest of the extended family and friends to understand why they are at another funeral home. It is also confusing to us believe it or not, because if we are so use to serving that family and all the sudden they go elsewhere it makes us wonder why..did we do something wrong last time? Did we make them mad? What? But anyway, those family and friends who just assume they are at our funeral home will call to ask times, when told they are not at our funeral home, of course they are surprised but also question us as to why they are someplace else…again, we have no idea!! Some people will just show up to our funeral home thinking that the person is being laid out and they come in to find that they are not at our funeral home. Then the questions start…it is always, why not?!? Why are they at that funeral home? The family always uses your funeral home! We really dont have the answers!
And of course the one thing that I complain about alot..Death Certificates. We get that there may be a life ins policy and that maybe the deceased had younger children and you want that money.. But here it goes again…The death certificate may be pending. If so, that policy will most likely NOT pay out until it is amended!! Don’t ask us multiple times or call us later thinking you are talking to someone else and they are going to tell you differently. If it is pending it is pending and there is absolutely nothing we can do! It sucks I’m sure for those who have to wait. But nothing you say to us is going to change it from a Pending staus. You can call us, you can yell at us..you can call the Coroner..it is not going to change until the State receives the correction notice from the M.E. and then it still takes time! I personally think its ridiculous how long it takes to amend a death certificate, but I dont work for the State so I have no idea what the actual process is or why it takes so long except I’m sure they also have hundreds of others they are doing as well. We have younger people who pass away, say in their mid to late 40’s. Usually they have kids who are in their late teens or early 20’s. I am not saying that the kids are not upset that their parent has passed, but ine thing I do know is that those particular kids are difficult to work with when a death certificate is pending because they want that money NOW! It seems to be that whole generation..from my own personal experience or observations, I find that teens, ages 16 up to young adults, in their 20’s have this whole mindset of ‘I want it NOW’ and ‘I DESERVE to have/get what I want when I want it’! They really have no concept of what waiting is or what being told NO is..and I find it very frustrating. Some time I just want to haul off and slap them in the face and tell them that if they want something and they want it now then you have to go and get it yourself, it is not handed to you because you want it to be! You have to work for what you want!
Well..Until next time. Hope everyone is surviving winter (those of you who actually live someplace that has a long, cold, snowy, miserable winter).

Life working in a funeral home – What do you think?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on August 7, 2012 by thefuneralbizz

I have a question…for those who read my blog or happen to stumble¬†upon it… I am actually ‘trying’ to be serious and not sarcastic because I am really curious to know…

What do people (families) think Funeral Directors and or Funeral Home Staff do all day?

When someone in your family has passed away and you knew you had to make funeral arrangements, what did you do?¬†¬† Did you call the funeral home for an appointment?¬† Did you leave your loved one who passed away and immediately drive to the funeral home to make arrangements?¬† When / if you did call to make an appointment¬†what were you told…to come right in? or did they schedule an appointment later in the day? Did they ask YOU when you wanted to come in? or did they just give you a time to come in without giving you any other options?¬† If you did not call for an appointment, when you arrived at the funeral home, did you have to wait long to sit with a Director? How were you treated?¬† Was there any visitation going on when you were there? Was there an actual funeral service going on? If there was a funeral service and when you arrived you saw that a funeral service was going on, did you feel like you were intruding or did you think for a second that maybe you should come back at another time? Did you leave because you saw a funeral and come back later? Or did you feel that even though there was a funeral, you had just lost someone so it didn’t matter, that the funeral home should accommodate you and that surely someone was available to help you?

What about when you think about funeral homes and what goes on during business hours when the funeral home is open, but no visitation is going on or a funeral at the funeral home…do you think that, for example, ‘no people, no cars, than the funeral home staff is not busy¬†so you should be able to ‘just stop by’ anytime? Or do you think, ‘it’s a regular business and you should call to see if you need an appointment or if you can just stop up anytime’?

Do you think that funeral homes are usually a quite place, where the environment is quite and business is slow if no visitation is going on or funeral? What do you think the funeral director and staff do all day, even when visitation or a funeral is going on? 

Again, I am not being sarcastic in my questions. I am truly curious to know how others view a funeral home as a business and how they perceive a funeral director and the staff. Thank you in advance for anyone who chooses to answer any of my questions.

Life working at a funeral home – Tip of the Day

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on July 31, 2012 by thefuneralbizz

Tip of the Day  July 31, 2012

Crazy will get you no where!

Acting crazy, nuts, psycho, mean, etc…. will only make it more difficult to get what you want. This is not only pertaining to the funeral business, but in life, anyplace, anywhere….. I’m sure most have heard the saying “You can attract more flies with honey…”

If you do not get a long with your family or certain family members…that is NOT the funeral home’s fault and or problem! To be honest, I don’t care! I refuse to get in the middle. Do not come to us with issues that do not pertain to the actual funeral. If you had agreed to something with other family members but then YOU changed your mind but did not say anything to anyone about changing your mind..who is at fault? YOU ARE! Not the funeral home, not the funeral home employee or employees, not other family members…etc.

I can sympathize with what you may be going thru on the loss of your loved one. However, I cannot possibly imagine what exactly you feel unless I were to be in your shoes. Everyone handles grief differently. I can only be kind, sympathetic and try my best to make sure the funeral you are planning goes well and how you want it.

So again….being rude, mean, making threats….does NOT work.

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