Monday, April 02, 2007

Seven Days: Deals to Die For

Seven Days: Deals to Die For: " the eroding reputation of funeral directors. He's not opposed to casket makers selling coffins, florists selling flowers or monument makers selling tombstones. What he objects to are consumerist approaches to death -- the Internet crematories, the wide-mouth bass leaping from the corner of the dearly departed fisherman's casket, the high-pressure sales pitch for non-refundable, 'pre-need' services -- that are driving the public to cheaper alternatives, such as cremation. A growing number of Americans -- 40 to 50 percent, at last tally -- are now going that route. "

Mortician Thomas Lynch likes to remind his fellow funeral directors that theirs is an unexpandable market. Whether it's during wartime or peace, recession or prosperity, each day an average of 6300 Americans are, as Lynch puts it, "working into the past tense." But if Vermont's funeral directors don't start paying more attention to the essentials of funerals rather than the frills, their sales and the reputation of their profession will suffer.

"You can expand the market for books and golf and sushi, but it's one per customer when it comes to mortality," Lynch told a group of about 80 Vermont funeral directors who gathered at Burlington's Wyndham Hotel. "Just because a funeral costs the same as a trip to Disneyworld doesn't mean we should market it like one."


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