Comments about ‘Undercutting the undertaker: Reducing the unavoidable expenses of dying’

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Published: Thursday, Jan. 23 2014 7:00 a.m. MST

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David Anderson
Lakewood, WA

Jessica Mitfords 1963 The American Way of Death is one of the most important investigative books ever written, exposing the exploitation of the American funeral business, whose profiteering was, until then, an apparently untouchable scandal, according to John Pilger who provides an excerpt in his compilation Tell Me No Lies, Investigative Journalism That Changed the World.

Often drawn feet first to the funeral home to begin with, mourners only by virtue of necessity drag themselves, guilty perhaps, remorseful certainly, and susceptible worst of all, to conduct a most difficult and even macabre business, paying for services not even required by law but for which they are led to believe they must.

Popular ignorance about the law as it relates to the disposal of the dead is a factor that sometimes affects the funeral transaction. People are often astonished to learn that in no state is embalming required by law except in certain special circumstances, such as when the body is to be shipped by common carrier.

Other than what unnecessarily happens then behind the formaldehyde curtain, what else consumes the gold of those consumed with grief as revealed by Mitfords research?

More. Let the buyer beware the burier.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

With apologies to all those who wish to show off their feelings to a departed person, I think dead bodies should be handled somewhat in the same manner as other trash that we no longer need. I have instructed my kin to dispose of my dead body in the most economically efficient manner possible. If there are recycle parts, by all mean, give them away. If it has a commercial value, sell it.

Joan Watson

Dying and being buried has become a very pricey game. There is nothing wrong with choosing ones remains to be cremated, the ashes placed in an urn then placed in a small vault and buried. The headstone alone is tres expensive - as much as a regular funeral.

St.George, Utah

Loving families and friends can have peaceful and meaningful economical services(which their deceased loved one would have preferred).
No need for a large, densely populated, day long, very expensive affair.
Cremation, along with a quiet graveside service, or a simple, small family/friends gathering, creates a calmer, memorable day, along and lasting memories for all concerned.

george of the jungle
goshen, UT

I hope I have enough money saved in my emergency account to pay for it my self. I don't want to be a beast of burden.

South Jordan, UT

I didn't see any references to the value of negotiating prices. We had a positive experience is doing so with a funeral home in Las Vegas.

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