Archive for funeral director

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!

The Funeral Business

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on July 12, 2012 by thefuneralbizz

How come it’s so wrong for a funeral home to demand to be paid compared to any other business?  What’s the difference? We supply a service you ask for. In return we expect to be paid. It’s that simple. But somehow, it’s become wrong for us to ask for payment. I’m really not sure why ANYONE would assume that they wouldn’t HAVE to pay! It isn’t like no one knows that eventually they or a loved one is going to pass away and, well, need to be buried/cremated.  I get the whole ‘no one likes to talk about death’ bullshit…but really.

There was an article on-line from Reader’s Digest, and I am sorry but I do not have the link to it. I am sure you can just type into your search engine the article title, which is, 13 things your funeral director will not tell you. I was just bewildered at the article and the writer for writing such bullshit! Take a look at the article if you want. I am going to say this…. When you prepay your funeral, your money goes into a trust. The funeral home does NOT keep that money. It is also guaranteed and if you change your mind later on and decide that you do not want to use the funeral home you preplanned with, you may go elsewhere or your family may choose to take you elsewhere. There are “those” funeral homes (that have been on the news) that took people’s money…yes, there are those funeral homes out there that are not honest and have done this illegally! Those funeral homes that do this, WILL eventually get caught! no doubt about it! But the majority of funeral homes will NOT do this! When you pre-pay you are also locked into todays prices. ONLY if you add to that pre-pan at time of death will you incur extra charges. If the funeral home goes out of business you should call the funeral directors association in that State or contact another funeral home of your choice and let them know what the situation is. When you pre-pay you should receive paperwork that the funeral home fills out. The funeral home keeps a copy, the family gets a copy and the trust gets a copy. Once the funeral home mails in the copy to the trust, the trust in turn will mail the family a letter stating that they have received the funds. That letter has the amount paid to the pre-plan and an account number. KEEP ALL THOSE PAPERS!

Also in the article it mentions that embalming is not necessary. Simply not true. Each individual State has their own laws when it comes to embalming. My State’s law states that a body must be embalmed within 48 hours from the time that death occurs if there is to be a public visitation. Meaning if ANYONE wants to view the body, then it must be embalmed before it is viewed if it is not possible to be viewed within 48 hours. A body that is going to be cremated, no visitation, will not be embalmed. We simply pick the body up from the place of death and transport it directly to the crematory. We are not trying to scam anyone into paying more than they want or can. If someone comes in and says that they are only able to afford a certain amount, than we will do everything we can to keep the costs to a minimum. Yes, cremation is typically less expensive, however, if you want cremation, but you also want a visitation and a service then it is going to run almost as much as a burial. We do not try to sell you a casket that is thousands of dollars. First off, if you tell us that you do not have alot of money, why on earth would we try to sell you more than you can afford…we want to get paid and if we try to talk you into spending more than you have, well, chances are we aren’t going to get paid….makes sense, right…  As far as caskets go, if you prefer to purchase your casket elsewhere, we have no problem with that, the only issue we have is that it is delivered to the funeral home on time and that if there is any damage to the casket, the funeral home is not responsible. We will not replace the casket or pay for any damages. I have had a few families order caskets elsewhere, one was scratched, but not bad at all, you couldn’t even really tell, and the others were fine.  If the deceased was a veteran, yes, there are veteran’s benefits. For a marker, there is no charge. Opening and closing fees are waived, IF burial takes place in a Government cemetery. There are also other benefits available, and most funeral homes will gladly obtain the necessary paperwork for the families and even fill the paperwork out and explain to the family what they need to do. I fill out all the veteran paperwork and have the next of kin sign where necessary and let them know what needs to accompany the paperwork. Usually a certified copy of the death certificate, copy of the funeral bill,  and the veterans discharge (DD-214) papers. We will even mail all the paperwork for the family, BUT, they (the Government) requires that the bill be paid in full! So, no use trying to get any other benefits if the funeral bill is not paid. This is not a funeral home rule, this is the veteran’s benefits rules.

As far as removing any gold teeth. First off, most “gold teeth” are simply not gold teeth…they are gold fillings!! Unless you have a solid gold tooth in your mouth, then the gold in the fillings are really not worth much value. Second, we will NOT remove any teeth or fillings. Period. We are NOT Dentists. If you feel it necessary to have any gold, fillings or not, removed from your loved one, then you must obtain a Dentist to come into the funeral home and have them removed. I have had this happen not too long ago. The husband could have cared less, but the children all wanted the “gold” removed from their mother mouth. I explained we would not do it and if he preferred he could contact  his Dentist and he was more than welcome to come, but first they have to contact him asap, so we do not start any other process, such as sewing/glueing the mouth closed. He said that he was very good friends with their Dentist and have been going to him for years and years….well, even the Dentist told him he would not do it. Also, told him that the “gold” in his wifes mouth, are only fillings and not worth much…so, they did not have the gold taken out.

Also in the article, it mentions the fact that instead of being called a Mortician, we go by Funeral Director because it has a “nicer ring” to it….well…uhhhh, yeeeeeeah! Why wouldn’t you/we? I really don’t even see the wrong doing here? Mortician does sound creepy as opposed to Funeral Director.

It also mentions that we may ask for a photo of your loved one and that we mean a recent photo not an older photo. Not sure why this is a big deal either…We ask for a photo so we know how that person styled their hair, facial hair, makeup…but we explain this to our families anyway so they know to bring a photo that is recent enough. Altho there has been the time or two when a family has brought in an older photo and we have to explain that we need something more recent.

I believe they mention a vault as well. No, you do not need an expensive vault and we never claim that you do. Again, maybe there are those funeral homes that try to push the more expensive items, but MOST of your funeral homes will NOT! The least expensive vault is a concrete rough box. And it is just that. A concrete box, the lid sits on top. If you want something that seals, then you have to upgrade to another vault and those are more expensive. Plain and simple. Most cemeteries require a vault. So, we are not trying to sell you something you don’t need. 

Just to add my two cents… As far as trying to save money, if you do not want to use a Hearse, if the funeral home offers a service vehicle, such as a van, you can do that and it is less expensive. Death certificates, we do not charge for the death certificates. We only charge what the city/county clerk charges. We don’t add-on extra. Each clerk and county has different pricing. One city/county may charge $15 for the first death cert. and $5 for each additional whereas the next city or county may charge $20 for the first and $7 for each additional. Also, as far as the death certificates go, we pay that as a cash advance. We front that money before you even pay us, most of the time. Death certificates must be done in a timely manner, so we cannot wait to do those. So be sure of how many you need. Other cash advanced items would be any death notices/obituaries. Our local papers do not have a set price. They charge by the line. So we have no idea of how much it will cost until after we submit the notice. Again, we do not charge extra for this either. We only charge what the paper charges. Cremation fees and Medical Examiner’s cremation permit are also items that are cash advance items. And again we do not charge extra, only what the crematory charges and the M.E. Medical Examiners also have different fees depending on the county. One may charge $30 and another may charge $75 and another may not charge at all. It just depends.

As far as a funeral homes General Price List goes…we are required to give you a price list if you come in and ask for one. We have no problems giving you a price list. Take as many as you like. We are not, however required to fax you one and we aren’t even required to give you pricing over the phone (this may vary by State, but I am not sure), but we will give your pricing over the phone because you called us and we of course want your business.

We also offer Limited Services. These are services we offer to those who cannot afford much at all. In my experience I have come to realize that most families do not even want to hear about them, but we offer them and we have a separate price list just for those options and again, we are more than happy to give you one. We also offer lower end caskets and if a family wants to see one, than they may do so. We do not hide them or keep them in the basement. There are times when we do not have one on the floor but that goes for any of the caskets we display.

So, again, it is on-line, Reader’s Digest, 13 Things a Funeral Director will not tell you.

Life working at a funeral home-Tip of the Day

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on June 5, 2012 by thefuneralbizz

Tip of the Day for June 5, 2012

Don’t confuse your Funeral Director!

There are families who are, let’s just say, not all there…if you know what I mean. So, when you have too many people trying to plan a funeral and you are confused yourself….LET US DO OUR JOB and don’t confuse us!

Thats all !!


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