Posted by Vale
You’d be forgiven for thinking that Oliver Twist is in a workhouse somewhere asking for more. It seems extraordinary in 2012 that there are headlines like this in the Daily Telegraph this week, followed by the stark (and slightly ludicrous) quote from Kate Woodthorpe of the University of Bath that it is:
“becoming too expensive for poor people to die”.
The article is based on a joint report between the university and Sun Life Direct and notes that the number of applications rejected for a funeral payment increased by 6.9% and is likely to jump again in the future. Put bluntly funerals are becoming unaffordable for more and more people.
There are issues with the report of course. Sun Life’s interest in shepherding people towards its end of life plans is one. It also includes a great deal of information that deserves more detailed consideration. For the moment though our concern here at GFG has a narrower focus. Let’s go back to the news that, in an age where benefits claimants are routinely stigmatised and welfare support is harder to access, state support for the costs of funerals is shrinking; that the funeral as it is designed, sold and delivered is becoming too expensive for too many; that we are pauperisng people.
As a service (that likes to puff its chest out and call itself an industry) does this news make you feel good about the drive to upsell? Are you comfortable with a lack of transparency about pricing? Do the packages you offer, the lack of flexibility, the way that basic or simple is designed to look mean and cheap fill you with pride?
Are you filled with a drive to change, to build new and more responsive businesses where trustworthy services and products are offered in a culture of respect and openness?
Or do you dust off the top hat and smile to yourselves at the prospect of this new Victorian age?