Funeral directors are often criticised for their inertia and, to be sure, many of them, not all, move forward with foot-dragging reluctance. The most evident manifestation of this is their cod-Victorian attire. They are, they seem to be saying, neither of us, nor of our century.
If they seem to inhabit a parallel and altogether uninviting universe, or to exist in a time warp, this is an impression reinforced by the changeless aspect of their premises. But if you were a funeral director, how would you demonstrate vitality, catch the eye, stump up trade?
Difficult, isn’t it? You can’t by any means create demand for your service, nor can you trigger impulse buyers. BUY NOW WHILE OFFER LASTS or INVEST IN THE CHATSWORTH AND GET HANDLES FREE! You can’t move with the seasons: SPRING COFFIN RANGE NOW IN! However good you are at what you do, you can’t stimulate repeat business: BUY NOW GET ONE FREE! You can’t hold sales: 1/3 OFF EVERYTHING. EVERYONE MUST GO!!
If you were a funeral director, how would you dress your front window? Coffins? Urns? Tombstones? Trocars through the ages? Difficult not to look self-parodying, isn’t it? The blessed Paul Sinclair is having a lot of success with his miniature motorcycle hearse. That works well. But you need to be able to ring the changes, go with the seasons, tap into the festivals. And most of those are out. You can’t risk looking festive, can you? Halloween is the biggest no-no (I’m having to hold myself back, here) but rack your brain. Which would you choose?
You probably have to go with themes. Memory is a good one. This is why so many undertakers have a Remembrance Day display with many poppies and, at Christmas, a tree hung with many lights and stars. The trick here is not to serve as a grim reminder.
Love is another, and the same caveat applies. Do you like the window at the top? It shows enterprise, doesn’t it? The photographer hated it. Check out his pics on Flickr.
Anyone seen any excellent funeral directors’ windows? Photos welcome. Send me a JPEG: Charles@goodfuneralguide.co.uk.
Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!