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Lifehacker Taps Joshua Slocum As ‘Funeral Expert’ For The Masses, You Should Be Concerned

June 4, 2013

Ryan Thogmartin is the CEO of DISRUPT Media | Follower of Christ | Husband | Father | Entrepreneur | Host of #DISRUPTu! and #FUNERALnationtv | Lover of Skittles DISRUPT Media is a social media content agency that focuses on storytelling for funeral companies. We use real stories to build creative strategies that achieve actual business goals.

Lifehacker Taps Joshua Slocum As ‘Funeral Expert’ For The Masses, You Should Be Concerned is one of the most popular blog sites in the world with 14.5 million monthly readers and is ranked #8 by Google’s Pagerank. A lot of people read this blog.

On Monday Lifehacker held an online open forum centered around ‘death’. They tapped Joshua Slocum as the ‘expert’ to answer consumer questions.

Lifehacker said this of Slocum:

Joshua Slocum, director of the Funeral Consumers Alliance, a nonprofit that helps people avoid funeral fraud. He recently wrote this post explaining why funerals don’t have to cost a ton of money, and it sparked a lot of discussion. Today, he’s back to lend his expertise on end-of-life planning, funeral law, and much more. Have questions? Josh is here for the next hour.

So for an hour Josh answered questions that could have and should have been answered by local funeral directors or a funeral director that could represent the profession as a whole.

Here is a sample of the questions that were asked and a few of the answers given by Slocum (who is all about avoiding the use of a funeral director):


Hi Josh,
My wife and I are going to have an infant burial (buried cremains) within the next week/two. He’ll be buried at the head of a plot my parents have and have a small memorial stone. What are the typical costs for this type of burial and the breakdown.

Answer from Slocum:

Hi there,
Since it’s ashes, not a whole casket, it should be less. But you’ll need to shop around for a funeral home to know for sure. Ask the cemetery if your family can do the burial without a funeral director. If they’ll let you, it can be very meaningful.
Also ask the cemetery the cost for opening/closing, setting the stone, and any merchandise.
This could be around $1,000, or it could be a bit more or less.

Reply back from consumer:

We are going thru a local funeral home to arrange everything. They arranged the cremation so we figured they could do the burial too. As you may expect we’re not really of a mind to sort too many details. I was just trying to get an idea of what sort of cost I was looking at. Thank you for your input.

Answer back from Slocum:

In that case the funeral home ought not to charge more than $500 to $1,000 on their end. All they’re really doing is making some phone calls, setting up chairs, and perhaps opening and closing the small grave.
Remember, ALWAYS comparison shop between different funeral homes. You may find superior prices that you didn’t think to look for.

There are conversations taking place like this everyday and the funeral profession is no where to be found, but guess who is…people and organizations like FCA who want to route consumers around funeral directors. When is this profession going to step up and embrace online forums and social media as the platform to educate the consumer about the funeral process and how things should be done. Do you think the family above really wants to tote around the ashes of their newborn searching for a cheap rate or even worse try to do the burial themselves?

I end every social media presentation at funeral conventions the same way:

The conversation about death and funeral service is happening online and through social media…you’re (funeral homes) just letting someone else control the conversation. 

Point proven above…again.