“It is curious that long association with the sadness of death seems to have deprived an occasional funeral director of all sense of moderation. Whether the temptation of “good business” gradually undermines his character—knowing as he does that bereaved families ask no questions—or whether his profession is merely devoid of taste, he will, if not checked, bring the most ornate and expensive casket in his establishment; he will perform every rite that his professional ingenuity for expenditure can devise; he will employ every attendant he has; he will order vehicles numerous enough for the cortège of a president; he will even, if thrown in contact with a bewildered chief-mourner, secure a pledge for the erection of an elaborate mausoleum.
Some one, therefore, who has the family’s interest at heart and knows their taste and purse, should go personally to the establishment of the undertaker, and not only select the coffin, but go carefully into the specification of all other details, so that everything necessary may be arranged for, and unnecessary items omitted.”
Emily Post on funeral directors, 1928, here. Hat tip to Kathryn Edwards.