Archive for funeral home work

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-Yep, it’s the busy season

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on November 25, 2015 by thefuneralbizz

So the busy months are upon us. I know, sounds weird coming from someone who works at a funeral home, But it never fails, November it gets busy.
It also means that there is that much more crazy I have to deal with!
Yes, crazy ass people! I’m not sure when people all turned nuts, maybe it’s just because I have gotten older or maybe I just didn’t pay ‘that’ much attention to people before. I dunno. But it seems that people have just lost their minds.
I consider myself ‘normal’, but I suppose each of us have our own definition of what normal means. For example, I am not a nut job, lol! But, I don’t do drugs. I only take my cholesterol prescription, my blood pressure meds, vitamin C, and ibuprofen for pain. I don’t drink alcohol, but not because I don’t want to, i cant, believe me, if i could, i would! grew up in a 3 bedroom home in a nice area, with both parents, who are still married today! One sibling. We ate dinner as a family every night. We went on summer vacations, nothing extravagant. I was a typical smart-ass teenager. I liked boys. ..  Nothing significant ever happened in my young life, no tragedies, no life changing events. so, I consider myself very very very lucky and fortunate. I know not everyone can say that. I also know that when life gets hard for some,  they change and not always for the best, life can change people. I don’t mean any offense whatsoever, I’m not picking fun at those who had it hard. I had a great childhood, but my adult life on the other hand has been a mess. It pretty much just sucks, on and off, but for the most part I would say more then not. But, I just drag my ass out of bed every single day and go to work. Sometimes, I let work get to me. Alot of people ask us funeral people how do we do what we do every day? Well, it’s a job. I think only certain people are able to handle the funeral business, wether you are a Director, a Secretary or a Greeter, or a Hearse driver. We are all affected. We all see death every day and we all see how the families grieve. But usually we are focused on our work. We are making sure everything is running smoothly. No funeral home wants a mistake or a family to not be pleased. So we are busy trying to make sure of that. BUT…every now and then,  you will find yourself feeling sad. I know for me personally, the one thing that will get to me if I let it, is going into the Chapel before the family arrives on the day of funeral, seeing all the pictures the family had set up for visitation. I will usually go in the Chapel before hand to see if there are enough prayer cards, make sure everything is in place, etc. I see the photos and see this person’s whole life. Their family. Pictures of weddings and babies and birthdays, vacation, etc. 99% of the time the photos are all happy photos, everyone smiling. There have been those rare ones where people are not smiling and it makes ya wonder. .. but nonetheless, I see the photos, I see this person laying in their casket, and excuse me for being blunt, but seeing them dead. No more life. They are just gone. No more pictures to be taken, no laughing with their friends or family who are left here. Now this is just how I think…. but as I look at all of that, I can’t help wonder why bother taking photos? Why bother working your butt off all your life, why do we ‘just have to have’ that new car, or whatever. Because in the end, none of it matters. The only thing that will ever matter, is how much YOU loved everyone else, how did you treat your family and friends, and even strangers. Because once you are gone, that’s it. I know we all want to be happy while we are here, at least I know I do!  And yeah, it would probably be alot less stressful if I made more money and I didnt have to worry about how I am going to pay my bills. And even tho I have bad credit and I can’t afford to do a total bathroom remodel, I know that if I die tomorrow, Noone else is gonna give a shit that my bathroom is horrible and that my credit card payment is past due, well the credit card company will, but, too bad for them!
That’s just how I see it, how I feel, sometimes. I know that those photos will bring a smile to the family when they look back on them. They will also bring sadness. When I look at photos of my Grandparents, I wish they were still here, same thing for other family or close friends thst have passed away, I cry when I look at those photos, most of the time, I do the same when I look at my photos of my pets who have passed on. But anyway, that is how working in a funeral home day after day affects me, how it can make you feel depressed about death and well, life in general .
Now, on the other hand, on any other given day, when you have a family who is just not cooperative, who just is not happy with anything, who make constant changes, who don’t bring in a photo for the newspaper when we have told them it is very important we have it by a certain time, otherwise it won’t be put in paper, who drag their feet bringing in clothing and when we call them they feel we are pressuring them. Then we have those who just cannot stop fighting with one another, cannot agree on anything because they don’t like eachother, all the while the person they love is laying in the prep room waiting for them to put their differences aside for an hour and plan a funeral! To maybe just not talk to one another during visitation so that it is as pleasant as it can possibly be.
I’m not sure what it is with younger people anymore. I know, I know, I was young once, but what I do know is that I was taught manners. I did not treat people I did not know like shit! I also listened to those who were older than I. If I was in public, I behaved, I said Please and Thank You and I knew that when you were at certain places, you behaved accordingly! And I’m not talking about when I was a kid, I mean when I was a teenager and in my 20’s. So why is it that I am always seeing these younger people behaving like it’s a party at a funeral home?!? Last week there were alot of younger people at the funeral home. As I was was walking thru the crowd of LOUD people, one young woman walks out of the Chapel and announces that she is going to the store and would anyone like anything cuz she’s gotta go get some more smokes! So, had she just been “talking” to another person and not yelling, fine, but she wasnt. It was rude! Plus,we had another family there who had their visitation that day. And yes, the food and drinks, ugh! There are signs posted that say, Please keep all food and beverages in lounge only, so why is it that three young women come walking thru with three coffee’s?  When I said, “excuse me, but you cannot have beverages in the chapel, in the lounge only,  thank you”. I get a dirty look, I get the roll of the eyes, or my absolute favorite, they look at you and keep walking as if they could care less! I want to go grab them by the back of their hair…  But of course I can only imagine that in my mind.
A few weeks ago we had a family, it was a small family, but they were the kind that no matter what we asked or told we needed, they just were not able to do so. The notice for the paper did not get put in on time. They were pissed. They were the ones who did not get us the info on time. No photo, no additions or corrections, nothing. We told them they could come by with the info, they could call, or they could email it. Nope. So I said, screw it! I am not going to continue to call them! I had already had to call these people at least 4 times about this obit. The morning of deadline, I called them and spoke with the daughter and told her I needed the info within 15 min or the obit would not make deadline! She said, “oh, ok, I will call you right back!!” Nope. So, I just said screw it. She called back 2 1/2 hours later!!! She said, “I have the info for you and my son is on his way with the photo”! I told her, ok, but that the notice will not make it in tomorrow’s paper, so the notice will run after the fact and will have to be revised. She was, let’s say, a tad pissed! I let her bitch. I then said, as nice as possible, “we explained to you when the deadline was. There is no leway in deadlines. If we do not have it in by a certain time, then it does not run! She said that everybody always “just” says those things, that I needed to call and just explain what happened and that how can they expect a grieving family to meet deadlines!
To those of you who feel that because you are grieving that the world should just stop, it doesn’t and it wont. Never. I know that sounds a bit harsh, but it’s a fact. The world does not care whatsoever who you just lost, unfortunately and it freaking sucks! There are deadlines. Period.
Same goes for getting to church or cemetery on time. I cannot tell you how many times I have had the church call or the cemetery call the funeral home asking where the service is. Well, for one, I’m at the funeral home, so a bit impossible for me to know just where the service is at. If they had just left the funeral home, well then yes, I would know how long ago they left, I won’t know what time they will arrive, who knows what happened on the the way there! I can only guess! If the service was at church, then I have no clue. But, what I’m getting at is, being on schedule. Families do not realize that we are on a schedule. We can’t very well say, ‘hey! hurry it up, would ya’! Although we are probably thinking it! lol  When we start to get a bit antsy, families sometime pick up on it and they sometime make comments to one another about it, within ear shot of us, pretty sure on purpose. But we aren’t being disrespectful, we are doing our job and our job is to make sure the funeral is going smoothly!
We recently has a disfunctional family. The deceased was only 27yrs old. There were parents and step parents and grandparents, siblings, they all came in to make arrangements. There was no spouse and only 2 minor children. With that being said, the parents were the legal next of kin. They seemed to all be getting along, then it suddenly turned. I’m not even sure how or why really, all the sudden there was just yelling and name calling and finger pointing. At one point I over heard the mother say, ‘well she/he had my last name, so it is my choice’! Then the father said, ‘I’m the one who is paying for this, so no, it’s my choice’! Then, the mother says, ‘oh, so now it’s all about the money, huh’! Back and forth for a good hour! Absolutely absurd! Then came the question of burial or cremation. Now, thank goodness they were leaning toward cremation because once the subject of who has to authorize cremation came up, the arguing started again for a moment. The father said ‘I will authorize the cremation’!! The mother then said, ‘Well if I don’t want it, then you can’t authorize it’! Dad says, ‘I am the next of kin, I can do whatever I damn well please’! Mom says, ‘No your not, I am, I gave birth to him/her, I am the legal next of kin, you need to know what you are talking about before opening up your God damn mouth’! LOL!! So imagine both of their faces when they were told that they are both equally the legal next of kin and if they could not agree on it, then there would be no cremation! Period! Well, since they wanted cremation anyway, they both signed. But, ya see where I’m goin? They all along knew they wanted cremation, but just because they couldn’t get along they had to fight about it when all they had to do was sign a piece of paper that literally takes 30 seconds to sign. You would have thought that was the easy part, to sign the cremation authorization, but the easiest part was actually them agreeing to separate the cremated remains! ! Ugh!
So, of course this being a younger person, we always expect a large visitation. And we always expect a large part of that visitation to be younger people (the younger people I was speaking of earlier). We happened to get two new calls just the following day after this young persons family had made and finalized the arrangements. We really don’t like to add another family into the mix when we know how crowded it will be. Our place is not that big. We can hold two families comfortably, average size families I suppose you could say. So one family comes in early the following morning and no problems, it was only a direct cremation, no visitation. The second family we have a hard time getting to make appointment for arrangements. They kept saying we’ll just come by later, well, no, you wont! Later, we will not be here! So, when they had not come in by 4pm or called we had to call them and tell them we HAD to set appointment with them for the following day. The granddaughter who was the informant asked if her grandpa would be ready for them to see when they came in! What!?! No! We don’t know what you want even! What casket. We don’t even have clothing! When we told her no, she said, “well I don’t see the point in coming in if he will not be,ready for us to see, we need our closure and our private time with our granpa”! Again, we explained that they have to come in to the funeral home to meet with a Director to make those arrangements, when to see him, what casket, bring us something to put on him, etc! She then asked that once they made those decisions, how long would they have to sit and wait until we put his clothes on him so they could see him because she had a lot of family she needed to let know! We could not make her understand that it did not work that way! So my boss says, “Once you come in to the funeral home to make and finalize the funeral arrangements, which include viewing, any services here or at church or none at all, what day do you want the viewing and service, also if you will be having a burial or cremation and if burial, which cemetery and does your granpa already own property at cemetery, you will also need to decide on a casket, etc.., I am a bit confused as to what you want right now, so it is best if you would come in now and we can figure it out, but just so that we are clear, without those decisions being made, you grandfather will not be available to be viewed. You have not clearly stated if you wish for embalming to be done yet, which is something I really need to know asap and technically at this point, by law, since he is in our possession and it has been over 48hrs, I need to embalm him regardless, but I won’t until I have your permission “.  We only require a verbal authorization for embalming from the next of kin. However, in this case, my boss decided that he wanted to wait until she came in. With ALL of that being said…  The granddaughter says…are you ready? She sayd, “…ugh, I really just don’t have the time for all of this right now. I am running in a marathon this weekend and now having to contact all these friends and family, it’s just so much”!
W T F ?!?!?! And.. she was freaking serious!! After that, my boss said to her that she HAD to come in that day. That he needed her to come in and take care of this immediately, that it would not take more than an hour of her time, he would do his best to make this as speedy as possible! She finally agreed and set a 11am appt. Well, 11am came and went. At Noon, my boss calls her. No answer! Leaves her a message. At 1pm, he tries again. No answer. Finally around 1:30pm, she shows up! ! For someone who just doesn’t have any time, she was at the funeral home making arrangements, for over 3hrs!!!!!!!
Had she bothered listening and paying attention to my boss, she would have been done in less then an hour!
Needless to say, after ALL that, she decided ok a direct cremation with a half hour viewing, just her and her other whack job sister. Makes my head spin just thinking about her!
So, I startes,this post a few days ago, just finished it and realized tomorrow is Thanksgiving. To all those out there who think I hate my job, I do not! I am thankful every day I have a job and a wonderful boss. I hope you all have a great holiday and you stuff yourselves on lots and lots of food!!

Funeral Home – Pay Your Bill!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on January 7, 2013 by thefuneralbizz

I understand fully well that most of us do not have bank accounts overflowing with money. BUT….if you want a funeral for your loved one and you want things that cost alot than be prepared to PAY FOR IT! We are NOT trying to push the most expensive casket or vault…etc. we would rather you NOT order the high priced items because we want you to be able to pay your bill!!
Don’t say you will pay your bill if you cannot! There have been several families who have ‘promised’ they will “send a check” asap! But we never get it. The funeral home i work at is very very generous in waiting for payment…we make exceptions ALL the time. When someone has stopped paying us or have only paid so much and then we hear nothing we send out statements. Sometimes people forget…especially when something like a death occurs. So we send out a reminder but we do this usually a few months later…not 2 weeks later..not a month later but typically 2 months later. If we dont hear from the family within a month then we start sending the past due notices however, in our notices it states to contact us to make payment arrangements OR to send what you can and write down (in the space provided) when we can expect another payment and how much. We are offering you the option to send whatever you can!!! I dont care if it is $5 just send it. So it amazes me out of all these past due notices i send out…i rarely hear from anyone. I just dont get it…even if you just call and say….hey i cant really afford to pay anything until next month or even 6 months from now….just freakin call!! I hate the fact that people take advantage of the fact that since we are a funeral home we ‘have’ to be sympathetic and how dare we insist you actually pay your bill! There are funeral homes that will not even begin embalming until the family has come in ans paid or at least put a certain amount down… i dont think that most people realize that from the moment the funeral home recieves a call for us to pick up the body that the charges begin. It costs us money to make a removal. Wether we use a removal company (they need to be paid) or an employee who…also needs to be paid! Then if we get verbal permission to start embalming…well…that costs money too. So for the most part by the time the family even arrives to make arrangements they already have a bill at approximately $1000.00 give or take… why shouldnt we be paid for our services?!? If for some reason someone has died who has no family and there is an attorney or someone appointed as a trust or even if there is noone in charge and the State takes charge..
Guess who gets paid FIRST? the funeral home! By law…thw funeral home gets paid first. Now this may vary by state….im not sure. If you know you cannot afford what you want than you have to pick what you can afford…people worry WAY TOO MUCH of what others think. You know what i say to those who think that just because you didnt purchase the best casket or you are only having a few hours of viewing or even a direct cremation with NO services…i say “Piss on them”! They arent the ones forkun out the bucks to pay for it! Funerals are expensive…no doubt about it.. choose ONLY what you can afford! And the luncheon is NOT the most important part of a funeral! Having food at the funeral home should NOT even be a thought in your head…thinking that YOU..the one who just lost someone…needs to feed those who are coming to pay their respects. Screw them…let them bring YOU something to eat to your home so when you get home you do not have to cook after having to do so much…! Funeral homes do NOT like it when there is alot of food…you have just lost someone…you just paid ALOT of money…and then during visitation instead of being in the chapel .. where you should be .. you are in the lounge along with everyone else eating. It just doesnt make sense…if you need a break…LEAVE to go eat…get some air!!!
….and about those damn death certificates….RELAX…. we have to get the doctor to sign it…sometimes just finding what doctor is going to sign it is a pain the ass and can take a whole day…which is more frustrating to me than it is to me!! Then once we do find that doctor we have to find out when HE/SHE is available to sign it…doctors are not always so easy to catch..or they are in their office and seeing patients all day so we have to drop it off and then WE have to wait for the office to call us to let us know that its ready
Then we have to go get it. It could be around the block or 45 minutes away (with or without traffic). Then…we have to file it at the appropriate clerks office…!! So that whole process can take a day or it can take 3 days..we just had one that took a freakin week! I was furious! That was just uncalled for and it was the fault of the facility where the patient died. Also…doctors office staff are not always the nicest people to deal with. And for those pending d/c’s..once again…the funeral home has NO CONTROL over how fast the d/c gets amended!!!!!!!! It is a waiting game. Im tired of people getting bitchy with me because theu are waiting on an amended d/c! Call your State and complain to them!

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.

The Funeral Business – It never fails…!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on July 21, 2012 by thefuneralbizz

Every Friday at 5pm….we get a walk in! It never fails! WHY…WHY….WHY…??? Why don’t they call first? Makes me want to cry sometimes and other times, it makes me want to punch something! How hard is it to make a phone call!?!?!?! Don’t ‘most’ people have cell phones? Even if you are actually driving to our funeral home…can’t you just call and say that someone has passed and you wanted to come to make arrangements and is now ok? Because you are driving right now and near the funeral home? I mean, maybe, just maybe, we are busy with another family…or getting ready to leave!!!!!!! I don’t know how many times, we get all the lights shut off, have our keys in our hands and…..DING DONG! ARE YOU KIDDING ME? OR…we have visitation going on and all the day people including the Director are heading out the door or the Director is already gone and someone comes in and says “I need to speak to the Director or I need to speak to someone about making funeral arrangements”. Really? Now? I really love the ones who say, “hi,  so and so passed away and we need to make funeral arrangements, we didn’t know if we needed an appointment or not”. Well, YOU didn’t know you needed an appointment because you DIDN’T CALL!! I cannot remember a Friday in the recent past that we have not got a walk-in between 4pm and 5:30pm! There are somethings that we are unable to do after a certain time. If it is after 4pm, especially on a Friday, we aren’t able to get information from the cemetery for you. They are CLOSED! If for some reason you select a certain casket and want a different panel in, or hardware that we are unsure they can make like that, we are unable to call to find out. Even getting ahold of clergy for you is difficult on a Friday evening!  I just get that feeling in the pit of my stomach when I hear the door close to closing time. It sucks. I know it sucks for the person who just lost someone as well…But I just don’t get and probably never will, how people just show up without calling first! Or when people show up during a funeral service. It is OBVIOUS that a funeral is going on. So WHY would you just walk in? Don’t you feel like you are intruding on someone’s funeral?

If your loved one was a Veteran they are entitled to a Military Honor Guard Service. There IS a charge for having one. Just as you would donate to the clergy for their time, you would make a donation to the Honor Guard. These Veteran’s take time out their day to Honor their fallen brother/sister. Their donation/charge is typically $100. Which is by far cheap! Several Veteran’s show up, not just one or two. They will do the service at the funeral home if you wish or the cemetery. So they are taking the time out of their day, each one of them is using their fuel to drive to the funeral home or cemetery. Dressing in uniform. Using ammo. So how do some people feel as if they do not OWE them any money? We recently had a man who was a Veteran and the family the son was pretty much the only person making arrangements. He was cremated but he planned on a burial of the cremated remains at a cemetery. The son wanted the Honor Guard service at the cemetery. He asked us if we would set it up or if he had to do it because he didn’t want to be bothered with having to do it….! We told him we would do it, he would just need to let us know when and where he planned on having the burial, because the cemetery that he was to be buried at was not in our area, it was about an hour and half away. The son also wanted us to contact the cemetery to set all of that up too. We told him to call us when he decided when this was going to be. So, when he came to pick up the cremated remains, he said he was still not sure when he wanted to do the burial but would call and let us know. Now, we do not need to be present for the burial of cremated remains, unless the family requests us to be there, but if the family wants us there, we do charge for that. This was explained to the son. he said, okay, that he understood. So, a couple of weeks go by and he calls and asks if we have the Honor Guard set up? We tell him, No, because we have not been notified of when the burial will take place. That we would wait until we know so we can let the Honor Guard know, it is pretty pointless to contact them if we do not know when the burial will take place. Well, he asked if we know who we were going to call since the cemetery is not in our area. We told him that we would contact the Veteran’s in the area near the cemetery. He asked if he needed to find out where they are located, because he really didn’t want to be bothered with it! YEAH, we know you don’t ! so quit calling us! So, we went ahead and contacted the veteran’s in that location and asked them about their fee and to let them know we would be needing them once the family let us know when the burial would be. He said, sure no problem, but to try to give them a couple of days notice since they are a smaller group and would have to make sure they had enough men. Okay, sounds good. Well, the son finally called us about a week later to let us know that he spoke with the cemetery and what is a good day for us? REALLY? So…we explained once again, that we are not  needed to be at the cemetery unless he wants us there. If he does, than there will be a charge. He claimed he was not informed of that, but okay, as long as “we are sure” we are not required to be there and he definitely does not want to have to pay us when all we are doing is driving there  to watch!!!! He asked about the Veterans’ and if they would be able to do it that following Thursday? We told him we would call them and find out, but didn’t think it would be a problem but they do require a fee of $100. He said, “A $100 for what? I thought this was a Veteran’s Honor Guard Service? You don’t have to pay for anything when it is the Military”! So, we explained that they do not do this for free. They have fuel for travel and time out of their day. There is a standard fee for all Military services! He wanted to know EXACTLY what he was paying them for!!! Unbelievable! Then he said, I did not want to do this, I did not want to have to take the time to call around myself to set this up, but since you guys keep screwing things up guess I will have to! We asked what exactly are we screwing up? He told us that we couldn’t get anything right! THEN had the nerve to ask us for the phone numbers for the Veteran’s so he could call! We called the Veteran’s that we contacted and told them what was going on…He said that is what their fee is. However, if he is going to bitch so much about it or really doesn’t have the funds, then they would reduce the fee or if only a few of the men went they wouldn’t charge him.  The son called us back the following day to ask us if the Honor Guard service would include the gun salute. We said yes. We also told him that we spoke to the Veteran’s and what they said. He then said to us, “if only a few guys show up how will we have the gun salute? If I have to pay $100 I want all 21 men there!!!!!! I am NOT paying for only 3 men to show up when I feel it should be what every other Veteran gets and that is a 21 gun salute! We told him that 21 men never show up for the service, it is typically 7 men !! So he argued with us that we had no idea what we are talking about! We said “there are 7 men, you get your 21 gun salute! 7 men shoot 3 times each! And if 7 men could not show up, the Veteran’s will make it work no matter what! He still said he was NOT happy and that we just keep screwing  everything up! So, we asked if he was going to take care of it than since he felt we were not doing a good job? he said YEP! So…I have no idea what happened. To be honest…I don’t care either! Hope we never have to deal with him again.

Life working in a funeral home-crazy!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on June 19, 2012 by thefuneralbizz

Crazy ass people!

Geeeeeeezzz, it’s been a tiring couple of weeks. Dealing with crazy people. So, ask me to do something, then bitch about it! Gotta love that! I’m doing YOU a favor and you have the nerve to be a smart ass. Ya know…I just downright dislike people anymore. I have no clue what is going on in the world but people just suck! I almost hate leaving my house anymore. God forbid I am doing the actual speed limit….someones up my ass. No one thanks you anymore, with a simple nod of the head or simple wave when you pull over on a side street when it is too small for two cars to pass because of cars parked on the side of the road…nope, no one even bothers. I always nod or wave to say thank you. If you are driving and there’s construction, and the lane happens to merge and you need to get over and someone slows down so you can merge in with traffic (that is IF they let you in) I ALWAYS wave to the person behind me that let me in. The other day at work, we had a funeral, but it was instate at church. NOTHING at the funeral home morning of funeral. Family and friends met at church at 9:30am for a 10am Mass and then from there to the cemetery. It never fails that someone will show up at the funeral home thinking that the funeral is at the funeral home at 9:30am. So this particular day, ALOT of people apparently thought it was at the funeral home because no sooner do I shut the door and turn to walk back to the office, the damn door bell goes off again! I trek my ass back up to the door and open it and say (just as I do to everyone) “ may help you”? Most of the time the person or persons walk right past me into the funeral home and just stare. So, I wait for an answer …. the responses are priceless. “Uhhh…I/we are here for so and so’s funeral service this morning”. I say “Oh, it is not here this morning, it is at ‘ insert name here’ church, instate 9:30am 10am Mass. They say, with a bewildered look, “oh..I/we weren’t aware that it was at church, we were under the impression it was all at the funeral home this morning….?” okay, so I am thinking… is this a QUESTION? or….WHAT!?!?!?!? do they want me to lie to them or say…’HA HA, gotcha, it’s really here ….I’m bullshitting ya!” Seriously…WTF? so, my usually response…. “nope, it’s at so and so church then to so and so cemetery. More so than not, I usually get a smartass or someone who is just livid that it is not at the funeral home. So, how is this MY FAULT? how is it appropriate to talk to me or just plain ole’ act like a DICK? Oh, and my favorite….”well, where is the church at”? So, I say it’s on such and such street in whatever city/town. And of course if they do not know where it is….”I don’t know where that is, don’t you have directions you can give me or don’t you actually know directions?” See, I do NOT know  where every single freaking church is at…at least not enough to give directions. same for the cemetery, and God forbid when I say I am not really sure how to get there….I can go look it up for you and print you some directions”. I either get, “I don’t have time now, I came here because I thought it was here!!!! now I doubt I am going to make it on time……”! or “yeah, cuz I dunno where I am going…”. So, when I print directions for them, I say only about 50% of the time do I get a Thank you…I am NOT required to go print you directions! Another little pet peeve is when families do NOT want us to post the obit on our website. We don’t ask why they don’t want it. There is NO charge for us to post it, it just so happens that some families just do not want it on there. I don’t really care why they don’t want it on there either! But, when we phone calls from people who want to know what times are the visitation and funeral for so and so because they went on our website but it is not posted, so they HAD to call!! OH NO, you mean you had to pick up your phone and call us…..? Should I have to apologize for that too!?!?! and of course, they will ask once I tell them the details of the funeral, why it is not on our website. I say, the family did not want it on there. OF COURSE they have to say “WHY NOT”? I say, ‘I don’t know.. we asked and they said no”! it’s really not their business anyway! Same thing happens when we get a family who only decided to do a few hours of visitation. I/we get people calling asking us the times or they see it on the website and go out of their way to call us to ask us if, that is ALL the viewing there is. They are appalled! They ask WHY, they say they’ve never heard of such a thing before! and holy hell if it’s a cremation and there are NO services the following day! I will tell them (for example) visitation from 3pm – 6pm with a 6pm service. Then most of the time I get “ok, and………”? and I say “that is it, the service is at 6pm, it is a cremation, so everything will conclude after the service at 6pm”. I get “so there is nothing at all tomorrow? and he/she will only be viewable from 3m-6pm? well, there’s no way I can make it then…thanks”. CLICK! Once in a while I’ll get the person who says they cannot make it, can’t they come in the following day just to view him/her. Uhhh…NO YOU CAN’T! visitation is OVER! and anyway, more than likely that person is no longer at the funeral home anyway if it’s cremation or even a burial for that matter… also, just because you have to go to work or have something to do or just because you were passing by, you cannot come in early to view the body either! NO ONE goes in until the family has been in! NO ONE! Being an asshole won’t help either. Trying to be really sweet won’t get you in either! Just do NOT show up early! If you can’t make it, than you can’t make it. Tough luck!

……….alrighty done ranting, for today anyway.

Life working in a funeral home – tip of the day & stuff

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on May 24, 2012 by thefuneralbizz

Tip of the day for May 24, 2012

Tip of the Day

DON’T be a jerk!

On to other ‘stuff’…………………First and foremost. We are here to HELP YOU! That is our job. We are not here so you can be rude to us. I know I have said it before….but….I will say it again. We know that you have just lost someone. We know and understand that you are going through one of  the most difficult times you will go through in your life. BUT, that does not give you the right to be/act like a complete asshole! Not to us, not anyone for that matter! It does not excuse you from behaving like a civilized human being. Does not excuse you from using common sense (altho, a lot of people do not have common sense at any point). Little things like saying ‘thank you’, ‘please’, etc….are still something you should practice using while going through this difficult time. For some reason I have found that over half of the people who I have dealt with tend to turn into rude, obnoxious, demanding, and argumentative people when they are trying to plan a funeral. I believe that part of this comes from the way they are thinking, like, ‘oh, I just lost someone so everyone/everybody MUST be nice to me’ and/or  feeling as if they are being taken advantage of when it comes to cost. I can clearly see why. Funeral are expensive. Very expensive. Families tend to blame the funeral home for “making” them pay such high prices. For one, it is no secret that funerals are expensive. Two, we aren’t ‘making’ you do anything. Understandably, state law (my state anyway) requires a funeral director to handle the deceased and any viewing and burial/cremation and death certificates, but this is the law, not the funeral homes rules. If it were not required by law for a funeral home to handle this, than you would obviously have other choices…But, as it stands, unfortunately you do not. When a loved one passes away, you have several options available to you. Most people do not know this. But, most people do not stray too far from the “traditional” funeral. Most families want what they are accustomed to. However when money becomes an issue, it is advised to think outside of what the “traditional” funeral is. Now, I have had my fair share of those families who come in and claim that they “do NOT have ANY money”, so they say “we do not have ANY money, so what can you do for us”? I usually cringe upon hearing this. NOT because I think any less of the family just because they do not have a lot of money. NOT because I think we will not be making any money off of the family. But because typically I have found that those who do not have the financial capabilities to pay for a “traditional” funeral are the families who usually want it “all” , the elaborate funeral without the cost. It would be wonderful if everyone could have a grand send off, if that is what the deceased wanted, the finest of caskets, the biggest and most beautiful flowers, the limo’s, etc…..But, it doesn’t always work that way, some people do not want any of that. You do not need to spend thousands upon thousands of dollars to have a nice funeral. You do not need to purchase the finest casket. The casket will be viewable for only a short time and most of the time that casket is in the chapel with a spray on top which covers a majority of the casket anyway. The other half is open. Then, it is buried. I do not think most people think of that when they are deciding on which casket to purchase. So, anyway, when you have limited funds, please consider doing less traditional options. Because when you tell us you have no money but then start asking for this and that and of course we are going to tell you that it will cost this much or that much, suddenly the family becomes irritated with us. When we also explain that we expect half down now and the rest in 2 weeks or a month or, 2 months (and that is ONLY if we are working with you and approved by the owner) half means half of the TOTAL bill. When you start adding things on, then that ups your bill. So, you owe us more. It is also not the funeral home who requires you to purchase a vault for burial. It is the cemetery. We offer them for you to purchase through us, as well as the cemetery. You may certainly go to the cemetery and purchase one. Many times we have suggested purchasing the vault at the cemetery because if you have to purchase property at the same time, they usually have discounted packages available. So, when you ask us what we can do for you since you have no money, do not expect us to say that you can have a traditional funeral for a low-cost. It doesn’t work that way. If you say something like “well, that’s kinda high, we really don’t want to go anyplace else, but we may have to go see what so and so funeral home will do it for, we’ve always come here though, but…..” We are not going to stop you from going. Of course we want you to stay with us! But, knowing that we just gave you the lowest possible price we could, I cannot go any lower. And believe me, when we get a family like that, we ALWAYS go the lowest we can. I am sure there are other funeral homes that just say they are going as low as they can, but really, we are actually going the lowest we can. This is where the ‘jerk’ in most people come out! Just for instance. If your loved one was a veteran and you want a veteran’s service, the norm is to make a donation to the veteran’s who have taken the time and came to the funeral home or cemetery to honor your loved one. They are very serious about what they do. They are professional and have the utmost respect for the fallen vet they are there to honor. So, why would you question why a donation is asked for? Wouldn’t you want to donate something for all these men/women have done for you and what your loved one has done for you? The typical donation is $100. For someone who has little money, that seems like a lot. To me it’s even a lot. I don’t usually just have $100 in my wallet to give away. BUT, if it came to something like that and it is something that I requested, than I would certainly find a way to donate that money to them, they risked their lives for us. They use that donation for uniforms, equipment, fuel for traveling to the funeral home and or cemetery and taking the time out of their day to honor your loved one, their fallen compadre. I recently had a family who was just appalled at donating to the local vet’s. The way they thought about it was why would they expect to get paid for something they “should be doing”? Really? People have such different ways of viewing things. One family wanted a photo of their loved one printed on their prayer cards. Well, we charge extra for that. Of course they asked why on earth would that make a difference? Just something else to charge them for? It takes more to print more! More ink. Different printer. More work. Same for a sign in/register book. We have different types. The more elaborate the book , the higher the cost. The smaller plain books cost less… why? well, we have to order these books from our supplier. We pay for them when we order them. So, based on the price we are charged, we in turn charge so we can make a profit….just like ANY other business. We are not hiding any charges from you either. We itemize everything we charge you. We are required by law to itemize those charges for you. We are required by law to give you a General Price List as well. At any time anyone wants to see our charges, all they have to do is walk in our funeral home and ask for a price list, no questions asked, and we will happily hand you one, and it is yours to keep. But….the more you want, the more it is going to cost….just like anyplace else. It is not a conspiracy against anyone that funerals cost a lot…! This is something that is known by most everyone! It is a wise choice to use a Life Insurance Policy if you have one to pay for the funeral cost. Also, even better, Pre Plan! Yes, you must pay now for later however, you will be saving money in the long run…. When using that life insurance policy though, we have to make sure the ins. co. accepts an assignment otherwise you will have to complete the claim yourself and most funeral homes will not wait for payment. If you are doing it yourself, then that insurance check is coming directly to you, not us. So, who is to say that when you receive that check you are going to pay us…? We have had this happen so we no longer do it. If we take care of it, we fill out all the paperwork for you and send everything in, our assignment is made out ONLY for the amount of the funeral bill so anything above and beyond that amount will be mailed directly to the beneficiary or beneficiaries. We explain this families all the time. But yet I still get families calling to see where their money is! We also tell families that it can take several weeks for us to receive payment, so, more than likely it will be several weeks before they will receive payment. How many times have families ‘told’ me to speed up things because they need that insurance money…Hmmm, well, here’s the thing…I do NOT have any control over how fast or slow the insurance companies work. I really can’t imagine calling up the ins. co. and telling them “oh and by the way such and such family would like you to speed things up because they really need this money”. Somehow I don’t think they would, for one, ‘speed things up’ and two, even give a shit if you need the money or not! When I get families like that, I tell them they need to call the ins. co. themselves. I always mail out the insurance paperwork on my end no later than 2 days after getting everything filled out and all the signatures needed. Once in a great while I will have to delay sending them out if we are waiting for a D/C to be signed and filed, but that usually doesn’t happen. Then, I always mail them certified mail.

So basically what I am trying to say is that everything is our fault. People/Families always think there is ‘someone’ to blame…no matter what. But, please stop and think for a moment before you treat someone bad. Just because you have lost a loved one does not give you the right to treat others like crap! So, don’t be a jerk! Don’t bitch about little shit! If our parking lot is full and you had to park on a side street or a block over or wherever…why would you come in and start complaining to us? How is this normal behavior? Our parking lot can only be so big….

Quick note… DO NOT call a funeral home when you are looking for a phone number to another business. Do NOT call a funeral home when you need directions to someplace. We are NOT the phone book! We are a funeral home. Why do people call a funeral home to ask if we have the number to other places (that are NOT related to the funeral home)? Or directions to someplace? I’m lucky to find my way home everyday and you are asking me for directions? Good God!


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