Alan Creedy Customer Service Funeral Industry News

Pennsylvania Deprives Consumers of 21st Century Services

February 25, 2014
Alan Creedy

In addition to the weekly Creedy Commentary, I frequently contribute to industry trade journals and speak at trade conventions. Among my affiliations outside the DeathCare industry are The Center For Creative Leadership, The Performance Institute and Human Synergistics. I believe in giving back and so was recently honored to serve as Chairman of the Funeral Service Foundation.

Pennsylvania Deprives Consumers of 21st Century Services

Article from by: Alan Creedy, Creedy Commentary

The Regressive Elements in Pennsylvania have apparently won a victory…or have they?

Last week’s Circuit Court Reversal regarding the Pennsylvania Funeral Licensing Law probably caused some champagne corks to fly in Harrisburg. But this “victory” begets the question: “What Have We Done To Ourselves?” Funeral Service’ legacy of “circling the wagons and shooting inward” is about to bite us big time and we keep fighting old battles while the world passes us by. I hesitated to write this opinion but then concluded that it is not only my fight but everyone’s, regardless of state, who views this business as a true profession.

When my mother died in Bennington, Vt at 92 I knew, as an insider, that an hours visitation prior to the service wouldn’t work and circumstances did not make a full visitation the night before possible. So, I persuaded the funeral director (who had never done such a thing) to let me rent his visitation rooms and hold a two hour reception following the funeral. IT WAS PERFECT FOR EVERYONE. Especially for the immediate family who got to interact with everyone in an intimate and informal setting.

Had my mother died 7 miles to the West in New York State their archaic laws would have forced me to find a venue that would not have been as convenient. I probably would have opted for a sit down lunch which would not have been as laid back or intimate. We would have lost some of the attendees on the way to the restaurant. All-in-all it would have been a comparative mess and significantly greater inconvenience.  We would not have been served as well. Not to mention that the funeral director would have been DEPRIVED OF THE ADDITIONAL REVENUE.


There is a debate going on in funeral service about whether or not we are a profession and the court’s decision casts some interesting light on the answer. Those that think we are not a profession believe that requiring a four year degree will solve the issue. Until now I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about it. After all, the public already views us as professionals and many of us conduct ourselves as a professional would be expected to behave. I looked Professional up in the Oxford Dictionary and it doesn’t say anything about a degree of any kind:

A Profession is:

  • A paid occupation, especially one that involves prolonged training and a formal qualification

  • A body of people engaged in a particular profession

Check and check! But this victory for the regressive element gives me pause. So, I looked up the word Guild and to my amazement and amusement this is what I found:

A guild is:

  • medieval association of craftsmen or merchants, often having considerable power.

I don’t know. Just sayin’…If the shoe fits…

Read the rest of this article from Alan Creedy