Damned if you do, damned if you're dead.
March 19, 2002 3:13 AM   Subscribe

Damned if you do, damned if you're dead. If families don't purchase an expensive urn for cremated remains, require them to purchase a $45 temporary container. But be sure to stamp it "Temporary Container" on all four sides, advises one industry newsletter. The funeral industry may not be making any friends, but they're making a boatload of money. The Funeral Consumers Alliance would like to help them make a little less.
posted by headspace (14 comments total)
See also: The American Way of Death, At Your Disposal: The Funeral Industry Prepares for Boom Times, Last Rites

morior ergo sum
posted by raaka at 3:51 AM on March 19, 2002

For the other side of the coin, see Thomas Lynch's books on "Life in the Dismal Trade." Believe me, you'd rather be selling cars.
posted by ColdChef at 5:01 AM on March 19, 2002

Even better link.
posted by ColdChef at 5:06 AM on March 19, 2002

cremated remains

As I discovered when my step-father passed away, the actual funeral industry term is cremains. For some reason, this made me think of coffee creamer.

"Would you like some Creamains[tm] with your coffee?"
posted by MrBaliHai at 6:01 AM on March 19, 2002

for maximum profitability one dumps the remains in the field out back and places concrete dust in the temporary container. some people are just born businessmen!
posted by quonsar at 6:14 AM on March 19, 2002

Thomas Lynch...

Wow. I really have to get that book. Thanks, Coldchef.
posted by Grangousier at 6:14 AM on March 19, 2002

I used to work at a memorial park/funeral sales office as a telemarketer (yes, I know, I'm going to hell). I made the calls from a room lined with shelves that held pre-purhcased, empty urns. Each urn was labeled with an index card printed with the intended recipients name.

I quit after about a month, and the park's managers were eventually indicted for a few counts of fraud. The head guy, manager or director or something, actually confided in me that he had multiple social security numbers and driver's licenses from different states with different names on them.

But he also used photoshop to paste his head onto photos of people standing next to various state officials, autographed and framed them, and hung them on the wall of the reception area, utterly convinced that no one would know any different. So he could have been lying.

Life in the Dismal Trade is a wonderful book. I myself have looked into a career as a mortician. I think it would be neat.
posted by jennyb at 7:05 AM on March 19, 2002

I smell the handiwork of the Kroehner Service Corporation.
posted by rcade at 7:33 AM on March 19, 2002

coldchef: Lynch is a hellava nice guy..."breakfast of champions" go reread the book.(still rather sell cars) I consider him michigans finest poet. he is well thought of in U.K. I have an uncle in the monument business (hes even sold markers to Lynch) and the prices are high. But a fair dealer wont jip you. Federal law requires one to have a certain type of container for ashes...i'd imagine some greedy people are just cashing in.
posted by clavdivs at 8:59 AM on March 19, 2002

I really like Muslim burials. Just wrap the deceased in a cloth and bury 'em within 24 hours. No expensive treatments, no lavish casket.
posted by laz-e-boy at 9:51 AM on March 19, 2002

same with jews. no muss, no fuss. pine boxes only.
posted by zpousman at 10:04 AM on March 19, 2002

And now, the tale of Morose Marvin.
posted by ColdChef at 10:42 AM on March 19, 2002

Although, at the Jewish funerals I've been to, there was a sort of metal coffin shell around the wooden coffin. A clump of dirt is put onto the internal coffin before it's closed in. And the coffin was more than a simple pine box, too. It may have been made of pine, but it was carved and stuff. Maybe this is a degree-of-religiousness thing.
posted by bingo at 11:01 AM on March 19, 2002

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