Corporate America Would Have Deaths Occur Only During the Week

By: Daryl Berry
Friday, June 30, 2017

I have received two notices this week that convinces me that the people setting in board rooms making decisions have little or no feelings for the public who pays their dividends.  I suppose profit is all they are concerned about when they decide not to provide their services on the weekend.

No doubt, I could find some economy in not being available on the weekends but death does not take a holiday.  Our business is a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year business.  We respond when someone picks up a phone and asks for our services. 

As we come up on the Fourth of July holiday I face the dilemma of having to tell a family that they must wait nearly a week before they can bury their loved one because they have cemetery property in the local, corporate owned, for profit cemetery.  I received a phone call at roughly 4 p.m. on Wednesday saying that they would not be having any burials from Saturday, July 1st until Wednesday, July 5th.  Had I received a death at any point after that call, the funeral would have had to be postponed for a week since there would not have been time to get the funeral arranged in time for a Friday funeral.  As it turned out, that didn’t occur but I still have the weekend and holiday to get through. I fear that what will happen is that there will be multiple deaths during this time period going to that cemetery causing a backlog on Wednesday the 5th. This would mean that they will be postponed another day or two or must pay a premium in overtime charges for an afternoon burial.

I am certainly not trying to tell them how to run their business but I want those reading this to understand that it is not our doings.  We can only go along with their policies, no matter what I may think about them.  Rest assured that those having burials in other local cemeteries will not face such a situation because we have someone that will work on Sundays and holidays to service graves.

Then yesterday, I received an email from the newspaper in Lexington saying that their obituary department will close over the weekend from this time going forward.  All obituaries must be received by 4:30 p.m. on Friday if they are to appear on Saturday, Sunday or Monday.  What this means is if someone dies on Friday afternoon, for all practical purposes, the obituary would not appear until Tuesday.  In many cases, the funeral would be history by then.  This does not affect us so much, since we have local radio and online sources to announce deaths but in the cities where people depend on the daily newspaper for obituaries it will have a large impact.  Newspapers are dying because they are becoming less relevant and now charge much for what they once printed as news.

No doubt business models change over time in response to public desires.  In some cases, corporate decision makers will work to change the status quo to enhance their bottom line.  Rest assured that we will continue to provide our services on weekends and holidays.  We may be delayed from having a service when there is a city wide celebration such as the Fourth of July, but we will always be available to respond at the time of need.

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