The latest scandals surrounding the funeral industry, which are only adding to the overall growing number, continue to raise questions about the future of the profession. Many are pointing to the economy, while others are pointing to deeper societal, moral and ethical breakdowns.
R. Brian Burkhardt says, “Truly the problem is a combination of the economy- people wanting to pay less for funerals, those performing questionable practices, and remarkably the internet and social networking- folks being educated that they can pay less for a funeral.”
Ryan Thogmartin of Connecting Directors, a social media network for funeral directors, calls the stories “absurd.” He says“funeral directors simply offer products and services.”
I am not positive as to what the funeral industry trade publications think, but I have some opinions based on how they are turning away article submissions from writers covering any story raising questions about the funeral industry.
And, what do I think? Well, the stories are certainly not absurd. Maybe a little harsh in terms of grouping all funeral homes and funeral directors in one group. There are good and bad police officers, good and bad clergy, good and bad grocery stores, etc. So again, a little harsh, but not completely absurd. Those choosing to enter the profession are growing fewer, leaving many firms having to “take whatever they can find” in terms of help.
I tend to agree with R. Brian Burkhardt’s view of a combination of factors. Cremation is very popular, but brings in fewer dollars for funeral homes. In the corporate world, where funeral directors are paid commissions on sales, it means fewer dollars for funeral directors. In a lean economy, everyone is trying to save money and make money wherever (and however) they can. It is the however they can that gets some folks into trouble.