Free is good, right?

By: Daryl Berry
Saturday, March 12, 2016

I had a friend ask me once, “Do you know what a free hot tub cost?” His father was downsizing and had a nice hot tub he wanted to give to him.

“Isn't free, free?”’ I asked.

He then proceeded to tell what he spent to get a concrete pad excavated, formed and poured. Then there was the cost to get the proper electrical service run.  He wasn't done because there was the cost of getting it moved and set up.  Then there were accessories and chemicals to purchase.  Needless to say, the free hot tub ended up costing him plenty.  Having enjoyed the relaxation of a hot tub myself, I am sure he has found the investment was money well spent.

My point is not to bash hot tubs or free stuff but to make the point that are no free lunches.  Certainly there are those that get many things and services without paying for them.  Anytime someone gets something for free, somebody else paid for it through higher prices or higher taxes so it wasn't free, somebody paid for it.  If someone cannot or will not pay us and we provide services for free or at a deeply discounted price, that price is ultimately reflected in the price for our goods and services to those that have the ability to pay.

Sure there are things that we receive that we do not reach in our pocket and pull out the money to pay for.  If a business gives you a free knick knack with their name printed on it, they would like for you to buy something from them someday.  That is called marketing and there is certainly nothing inherently wrong with it but most free things come with some strings attached.

The buyer just needs to be aware that in the name of getting something for free that they don't end up spending more on the things to which the strings are attached.  Let’s say you are offered a free grave.  But to get that free grave you have to pay the cemetery to dig and fill that grave at the time of need.  Their cost to provide that service may be much higher than what a funeral home’s grave digger would charge.  To get the free grave you may have to purchase another grave to go with the free one at full price, a price that is higher than you might pay elsewhere.   You will then need a grave marker so they will sell you one of those.  They probably will also try to sell you vaults and caskets, possibly at a higher price than you would pay at a funeral home. That free grave is no longer the bargain it appeared to be if you end up paying more in the long run.  We invite price comparisons for those shopping to find the best value in funeral service and merchandise.  The important thing to consider when comparing prices is the bottom line.

Our funeral home offers substantial package discounts for those making funeral merchandise selections through us. We do not make a practice of offering artificially low prices to get you in our doors only to try to up sell you into higher priced services or merchandise.  For convenience we do offer service and merchandise packages but if someone is looking for minimal services we only charge for the services requested and offer additional savings for payment prior to services being performed.

There are times in our business when we give our services away out of compassion.  For instance, in the case of an infant death, we do not charge a young couple for our services.  We only ask for payment of our out of pocket expenses.

Likewise, in the case of local police, fire or emergency personnel killed in the line of duty we offer our services, facilities and transportation fees at no cost to the family, only charging for the merchandise that the family selects.

There are others instances when we provide our services at a deep discount because circumstances beyond a family’s control call for a compassionate response since we do not have a desire to turn anyone away.  In case you are wondering, there is very limited funds available from county government to pay funeral expenses for indigent burials. 

The best advice I could give someone is to plan ahead.  We invite you to shop and compare. First find out in advance what the funeral type you desire costs.  Second, make plans now to pay for that service so a burden is not left to your loved ones to figure out how they are going to pay for it at the time.

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