The alternative to government regulation of the funeral industry is not self-regulation (too flabby) but implacable consumer scrutiny. That’s the libertarian way of looking at it, it’s a case I like to argue, and I concede that it may be ineffectually idealistic.
If only consumers knew. If only they knew what goes on behind the scenes they’d be on to it. Yes? Appalling things go on in funeral directors’ mortuaries. So let’s tell em. If you want to be reminded of how some dead people are treated, have a look at this version of a removal.
If only consumers knew about the dark arts of deathtrade marketing they wouldn’t be fooled when a helpful care home staff member recommends a lovely local funeral director. Because they’d suspect that the staff member had been bought by a smarmy bastard.
What goes on is not fair on consumers and it’s not fair on the good guys in the funeral trade. Here’s an email I have just received from a funeral director I admire very much:
I’ve been really tormented recently about how various funeral directors are so corrupt, bribing nursing homes, care homes etc. I was sent an email the other day about an anti-bribing law coming in next April, and this brought everything to the surface once again, as there is no way it would affect the funeral industry.
The area where I work has numerous nursing / care homes and many of the friends of a member of my staff work in them. They all use one funeral director who supplies them with large flat screen T.V.s etc. We have spoken with the carers and they all admit that they are told to use this certain funeral director but they are frightened to approach the persons in charge to ask them why this funeral director is contacted every time someone dies. It’s a case of ‘more than their job’s worth’.
I’m such an honest person that this kind of dishonesty always enrages me and my hands are tied. I’m aware that this world is a very corrupt one and it’s a case of ‘you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours’ but I refuse to be part of it and one day want to announce that we are proud of the fact that we have never had to lower ourselves to bribing care homes for our existence.
I don’t know nearly enough about the codes of practice that govern care homes and nursing homes. A code I believe to be widely observed is that of the Nursing and Midwifery Council, which prescribes the following:
- You must not abuse your privileged position for your own ends
- You must ensure that your professional judgment is not influenced by any commercial considerations
I guess Trading Standards will have an opinion on this. Easy enough to establish a pattern when most dead residents go to the same funeral director. But what’s philanthropy and what’s a bung?
I’d be very interested to hear what you think about this. If you’re a funeral director and do not want to comment publicly, why not send me an email? Mark it confidential and, as many will testify, it’ll go no further. Find me here: firstname.lastname@example.org