Dear Sirs Re: The missing link
One of the fundamental items provided by a Funeral Director is the coffin used to contain the mortal remains of our clients’ loved ones.
When we attend a restaurant we expect food and, in my case, a bottle of wine too. I recently arranged a funeral with a very creative family who had taken the opportunity to purchase a Bamboo Coffin directly from an associate member of a professional trade association. I was disappointed to learn of the ease they experienced in obtaining what would normally be a consumable product only supplied to the trade.
Funeral Directors strive to deliver a complete comprehensive service meeting the needs of bereaved clients. We are here to support, offer choice and deliver a sympathetic service charging fairly for our service. When you take a bottle of wine with you to the Restaurant you expect to pay ‘Corkage’. As a Funeral Director I struggle to ask a grieving family to pay the ‘Coffinage’ on an item purchased privately from a trade supplier. The family I had the pleasure of helping challenged every element of the funeral costs and there was no way that we could sustain the regular average revenue with this particular funeral.
The Funeral Directors’ add-on to the trade cost of the coffin covers the unplanned mortuary fridge breakdown and all the other little things that we, like any other business, wish didn’t crop up. By providing the families the opportunity to purchase items independently, thereby furnishing the funeral themselves, are we witnessing the beginning of the demise of the Funeral Directing business?
As an independent, we strive towards offering excellent service with an underlying desire to thrive rather than just survive. It is unfortunately about money. Money pays for the sandwich I had for lunch today and hopefully the £10 meal for two tonight from M&S. It is what keeps the world spinning.
I would be interested to learn of other Funeral Directors who have experienced associate trade members jumping the gap from ‘Trade Supplier’ to ‘Retailer’. Like every other Funeral Director I like to be included in every aspect of the funeral . Is it a case that our ‘Trade suppliers’ no longer supply direct to the customer, or more a case of me stepping sideways and swallowing my pride?
I look forward to hearing your comments. We are all working hard to maintain our market share following a year when the death rate in most areas has been unexpectedly low. I hope in the true Christmas spirit we can come together and make sure we are not the missing link.
Chelsea Funeral Directors
Beyond observing that Mr Maiden is probably wrong to stick with his fridge, sorry, we just can’t be bothered to rise to this. Don’t let that stop you. Does the analogy with a full-service meal apply? Where does this leave takeaways? What are we to take of Mr Maiden’s DIY approach to eating — that M & S meal?
Any food for comfort for him, anyone?