Rant against the death industry

Death is universal, so one day I’ll face these decisions. I just asked my tween to put down her Legos and my teen to put down his algebra, so I could tell them that when I’m dead, I don’t want them to pay for a fancy coffin, or cushions, or an open casket. I told them to put a picture of me on a stand, and to ask people at the funeral write notes to give to my family members. (I might even “flip” the funeral, having them watch a sad speech before the actual funeral, so they can use the actual funeral for more peer-to-peer interaction.)

I haven’t any immediate occasion to make of these claims (which, by the way, I can’t verify).

Do yourself a favor and read the FTC Funeral Rule. It’s very clear and concise in stating what you as the consumer are required to do and what rights you have. Did you know the casket I’m selling you for $5000 is really just a nicely decorated plywood box? If you were smarter, you’d know you don’t have to buy that from me. In fact, the law requires me to allow you to “BYOB.” Costco and Wal-Mart sell very reasonably priced nice caskets on their websites. If you happen to be armed with that tidbit of information, I’ll try to make it a practical issue: it will be easier to use the caskets we already have here. Another line of crap. All of the caskets at the funeral home are demo models (and are actually nice napping spots on slow days). Anything you buy will be delivered to the funeral home via freight the next day, just like the Wal-Mart caskets.

Another well-worn sales tactic is to try to shame you into going along with the exorbitant cost, implying you didn’t really love grandma enough if you spend less than five figures with me. You should know, by the way, that everything you buy from me – a guestbook, prayer cards, even the damn obituary notices – is marked up at least 200%. See the picture I’m painting here, kids? Smoke and mirrors. It hasn’t always been like this, but with the corporatization of the death care industry, the almighty dollar is the only consideration anymore.

Whew, this is getting to be a novel. Sorry, hang with me just a bit longer – we are getting to the major issue here.arrghbrains comments on What is a “dirty little (or big) secret” about an industry that you have worked in, that people outside the industry really ought to know?.

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