Truth Justice and the American WayGuest Article – Dan is a licensed embalmer and funeral director in California and Idaho. He works as an expert witness nationally in the funeral, cemetery and crematory industries and may be reached at [email protected]. Any comments are welcome.
No it?s not Superman or the Lone Ranger, it?s those irritating people that are going to save the world (at least the world as they see it) from all of those unscrupulous and devilish undertakers (us). You know those money grubbing souls that are driven only by dollars and have little to no compassion for the living. That is how they view us………
Let us hold ?those? people up in the light of day and see what they look like. First is their point of view from my perspective of some 25 years of trying to understand and work with these people and I do mean ?these people?. Essentially there point of view is as follows:
?Funeral service is a necessary evil but we can live with it as long as those evil funeral directors will cremate or bury my loved one for under $200.00.?
Let us examine their way of doing business: Attack the funeral, cemetery and/or cremation businesses at every opportunity with negative publicity, be it real or imagined, to help in recruiting even more individuals in search of cheap funerals. Cheap funerals are what everyone wants, needs and desires.
Realizing that all three businesses (funeral, cemetery and crematory) are sensitive to negative publicity and that all three business types are not likely to push back in any manner even to defend themselves from misleading or blatantly false allegations lest they seen as attacking a ?tax deductable, nonprofit, charity? consumer group. This ?charity? surges forward with little fear of reprisal at every opportunity.
Let us look at ?their? base. They being the Funeral Consumers Alliance.
Back in the 1960?s (yes I do remember the 60?s) one could join what was then (if memory serves me correctly) The Continental Association of Funeral and Memorial Societies. One in search of a cheap funeral paid a one time fee of $15.00 and in turn received a membership card and a free newsletter for life.
One might inquire: How do you keep your doors open with a one time contribution of $15.00 and furnish a newsletter for life? The answer is…….you don?t……. unless your staff is composed of volunteers and you find other revenue sources. These other revenue sources turn out to be their base. By keeping an extensive mailing list to keep them informed as to legislative matters, sell them items like books written as ?consumer guides? and allowing them to continue to donate to keep the ?charity? work going. Actually anything to keep those donation flowing. So what was that initial $15.00 fee for? It appears that those subscribing members paid to be placed on a list for donors (I?m not talking body donation here).
Just think how inexpensive funerals could be if donations arrived every day in our mail box, the industry was not regulated, and all of the staff worked for free! (of course our ?free? staff would have to be on call 24 hours per day, seven days per week and would have to be licensed). Yeah I know, not in Colorado.
And then there are those fund raisers. It seems as though, every once in a while someone from the FCA needs to go somewhere to speak, listen, testify, whatever. Apparently their presence is necessary so they can share their knowledge of operating a crematory, a backhoe, directing a funeral or embalming a body. That would be if they had any experience in any of those areas. For these special events the call goes out for even more donations. It seems that while the staffing works for free the hierarchy does not. Somehow those at the top must be paid. Paid with the dollars gleaned from their base. Perhaps by those that paid $15.00, received their membership card and a newsletter for life possibly some 25 years ago and have perhaps subsequently been subjected to never ending requests for those ?charitable donations.? So with all of that in mind (25 years of donations) how much did that cheap funeral really cost?
I could go on and on and on as I have hit but a few highlights yet unlike some once the point has been made I feel it?s time to move on. Unlike those at the FAC or whatever their name is this year. It would appear that FAC could use their energies and funds in a positive manner.
Just one mans opinion…………….
Dan Rohling, CFSP