Over at the Connnecting Directors website here there’s a rant by a funeral home consultant, Alan Creedy. In it, we see amusing similarities between the US funeral industry and our own:
Why do funeral professionals spend so much time fighting among themselves and never fighting for themselves? … Why is so much emotional energy spent on not-losing-a-call and none spent on getting 5 more calls?
Mr Creedy berates US undertakers for their passivity in hard times:
We are so addicted to our “Mr. Nice Guy” image and so afraid of offending just one person that we allow people like Jessica Mitford and Lisa Carlson and a plethora of ill informed journalists to tell our story for us. In fact, I have come to believe we no longer know what our story is.
Worse, it seems US funeral home profits have halved in the last 30 years. Mr Creedy wants undertakers to stand up for themselves:
WAKE UP! If you think people will like you because you are their doormat (which they don’t) they will like you a whole lot less when you are a public failure. Your livelihood is in jeopardy. Your wife and your family’s livelihood is in jeopardy…
…and so on. You can read it for yourself here.
Over here in the UK, times are also hard for undertakers. There are too many of them competing in a market where the death rate has never been so low.
Worse, there’s a recession on.
And to top it all, demand has never been higher for cut-price funerals. The undertakers who are doing best are the £995, bargain basement, pile em high and burn em cheap brigade. The number of people looking for direct cremation is becoming astonishing.
It is not all economic necessity which is driving this. Arguably, the significant factor is the failure of our undertakers, collectively, to make a case for the emotional and spiritual value of a funeral ceremony.
A funeral is, for many, no more than an invidious social ordeal.
And the trend is that it is becoming increasingly okay to opt out.