Anonymous funeral director explains the big con behind the industry, coffins, and embalming

This. My best friend’s family operates two funeral homes and have been family-owned through four generations. It’s a small town and they know a lot of people, but their main concern has always been about the people still around. There are a good many companies out there that are going to care about you.

Check the parking lot and see what the funeral director drives. If it’s the equivalent of a late model Ford minivan, that’s the place you want to be cremated. You are going to get cremated, right?

For further reading I’d also like to recommend “Stiff,” by Mary Roach.


As my best friend who happens to be a funeral director says, he has job security for life.

I’ve gotta say it, this situation is… grievous.

Far out. Eclectic…

This is why it’s a good idea to make funeral arrangements while you’re still alive.

Yeah, my family is the type to crack jokes at the wake, have a quick cry, then start asking if the food’s ready yet because that’s all we came for (deeeeep southern). The wings of the family that are “married in” generally have the most awestruck looks on their faces. But they should have known what they were gettin into when they married in. I almost pity the funeral director that had to deal with my father and my aunt over their parent; almost, but not quite (we’re cheap too). My dad’s words were, “Daddy’s dead, even if he did like maple and gold more than hickory and brass, he damn sure can’t complain about it now.”


Lest we also forget Twain’s valuable advice regarding how to conduct oneself at a funeral:

Do not criticize the person in whose honor the entertainment is given. Make no remarks about his equipment. If the handles are plated, it is best to seem to not observe it. If the odor of the flowers is too oppressive for your comfort, remember that they were not brought there for you, and that the person for whom they were brought suffers no inconvenience from their presence. Listen, with as intense an expression of attention as you can command, to the official statement of the character and history of the person in whose honor the entertainment is given; and if these statistics should seem to fail to tally with the facts, in places, do not nudge your neighbor, or press your foot upon his toes, or manifest, by any other sign, your awareness that taffy is being distributed. If the official hopes expressed concerning the person in whose honor the entertainment is given are known by you to be oversized, let it pass -- do not interrupt. At the moving passages, be moved -- but only according to the degree of your intimacy with the parties giving the entertainment, or with the party in whose honor the entertainment is given. Where a blood relation sobs, an intimate friend should choke up, a distant acquaintance should sigh, a stranger should merely fumble sympathetically with his handkerchief. Where the occasion is military, the emotions should be graded according to military rank, the highest officer present taking precedence in emotional violence, and the rest modifying their feelings according to their position in the service. Do not bring your dog.

At the time Twain was writing this, the surest way to upsell a Christian family would have been to tell them that Jews use the cheapest pine boxes.


The last funeral director I dealt with was sufficiently personable on the surface, but revealed himself to be a deeply craven person with just a few well-timed subtle reactions. He managed to convey to my aunt, without actually verbalizing such, that the wedding band he had just handed her was removed along with her father’s finger earlier that morning. I like to think she missed the reference, and of course I’ll never ask her. But I caught it plain as day.

[quote=“maggiekb, post:11, topic:7682”]
I remember being really shocked at the level of up-sell pressure my father and uncles and I got when my Grammy died.[/quote]
OTOH, when my mother went, she specified cremation in her will, and that funeral arrangements should be as cheap as possible. The funeral people totally respected that, gave me no pressure at all, and she went in the ground in a cardboard box.

Yeah, but only once.

I’ve wanted to be buried at sea since I started working on the sea. Given the opportunity I will do it myself once I am far gone enough. Push my walker onto a boat, take it out into the Pacific as far as I’m able, then open up the through hulls and become fish food.

If I can’t manage that, my grandfather specified cremation and his ashes spread in a river. That will work for me as well (except ocean).

Being an organ donor is highly under-rated. Unfortunately most people do not sign the declaration on their drivers licence or in Canada, their health card.

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Speaking as someone who was hired during his Paralegal days to sue people for funeral expenses… I feel this book is right on the money.

Seriously, the vulture I had to work for was out for ridiculous amounts. I’d not seen him trying for anything less than $15,000, and some of those people I had to serve were widows or widowers who had duried their spouse of 35+ years.

Quit being a paralegal after six months of that, and decided that I will never hit the brakes if I see a lawyer or a funeral director crossing the street. And, since I know how the law works, I’ll follow it up with good use of reverse.

In many countries you have to opt out of being an organ donor, and it results in much higher donation rates. I wish it were the case in the US.

I wonder how much of people’s resistance to it steps from the old theological ideas that if your body parts aren’t all together at the time of the Second Coming, you won’t be able to rise up and go to heaven – or, at least, you’d be hanging around heaven without your heart, liver and spleen.

I’d like them to take any possibly-useful organ my body, and then cremate it. The ashes could go under a tree if anyone wanted them to be, but I’m not picky.


In the small town where my Dad was raised, when they’d ask the local mortician “How’s business?” He’d reply: “Dead.”


Solution? Forgo the casket all together. Your move, funeral director.


I prefer a more environmentally responsible option. How much for the “slingshot into the alligator sanctuary” package?

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I always got “Fantastic, people are just dying to get in here.”


Which reminds me…

As someone in the funeral profession I will tell you that this person is either a fraud or worked for an extremely rare and disgusting funeral home. It seems as though he/she googled a bunch of stuff and threw it together.

I hate things like this because VERY RARELY does anything good come out in the press about our profession. If anyone wanted to “sell” something for a living- Why in the world would they choose this line of work? Why not used cars, mattresses or electronics- something with a commission. It would take a sick individual without a lot of money sense. The fact that there would be several of them watching a grieving human being plotting on how they could upsell them is almost laughable. The honest truth is that most funeral directors/morticians/embalmers go into this line of work because they are extremely empathetic and felt a calling to help people. I call BS on the whole thing.

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