Continuing Series : Dark Clouds Over Funeral Industry

In an earlier post, I brought up the issue of the ever-growing dark clouds forming over the funeral industry. With the Boston Herald’s focus lately and the continuing rise in funeral-related scandals, I am sure this will become a series (as the title suggests).

While not the only offenders, the corporations have been at the top of the list lately, especially one in particular. So, the question really is why are there such problems for this corporation. Is it the structure? Size? What is the problem? Across America, the debate will continue, especially between funeral directors and the consumer. So, what do other countries think?

I turned to one of my favorite sites, The Good Funeral Guide, out of the UK. In a recent post, Unmasking The Wolves, Charles Cowling writes:

“Big chains are systemically incapable of giving the grieving public what they want. They know this, of course. It’s why they trade under the names of the families they’ve bought up. It’s the vital point the financial journalists always miss when writing about the trading position of Dignity, talking up the attractiveness of its shares. The market, they say, as if it were an unravished bride, is ripe for consolidation. Orthodox economics teaches us that consolidation’s what’s best for markets. But funeral consumers want small, intimate, private and personal. They want boutique. If they can have that at a lower price than the big beasts charge, they who enjoy economies of scale which they do not then pass on to consumers, it’s win-win for consumers all the way. Dignity shareholders urgently need to know this.”

I found myself saying, just the other day, “funeral service was not designed fit into the mold of a publicly traded industry.” As the series continues, I welcome your thoughts and comments.


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