YspeopleExplore tab

Funeral directors are blood-sucking leeches

Thumb angry biker showing middle finger with both hands 000078716059 small

About Subversive

Do you have your own gripe with your local or state government? And what are the streets like in your part of town, in your home state?

If you'd like me to fire a rocket up them, or a shoddy business, I'm listening! You can email me here.

Leveraging grief to up-sell expensive funerals to vulnerable families is a loathsome practise and must stop.

Not only are funeral directors leeches, but they have government support in their quest to bleed their customers, at a time when they really don't need to be bled.

Funeral directors prey on the vulnerable.

Funeral directors prey on the vulnerable. Picture: Shutterstock

My mother, whom I loved dearly, died suddenly some years ago. She was a fit and healthy 78-year-old one minute and dead the next. I was away and had to fly home to organise the funeral with my sister, so that my father would not have to. It's a common story, I imagine.

I did not know one funeral director from the next, so I called a top-of-mind brand and asked for a quote on a basic funeral. I have long held the view, as did my mother and as does my father, that when you are gone, you are gone, and funerals offer very limited utility.

Read more from Subversive Sam: How big business is giving you the shaft

I was given a quote over the phone of around $6000-$6500. I did not really know whether this was good or bad, although it occurred to me that my father could never have afforded it -- and there would be many other people who would find such a cost very difficult to cover.

Nonetheless, with a view to getting the matter dealt with efficiently and with the minimum of stress for all concerned, I made an appointment for my sister and I to meet with the funeral director to make the required arrangements.

Upon meeting, the first thing I discovered was that a $6000-$6500 funeral was never on the cards. It would seem the receptionist had rolled out a well-rehearsed, well-spun tale to get me into the building so that one of her co-workers could roll out an equally well-rehearsed and well-spun patter designed to drive my expenditure up. I ended up spending $8500, and that was after resisting many of the trimmings that my mother, whom they had never met, apparently ''deserved'' or would have ''wanted''.

I complained about the deception, only to be told that there was no intention to deceive and this was no time to get stressed over such things. I was later told by friends who had previously organised funerals that ''is this any time to talk about money?'' was a well-used pitch.

In my view, it was exactly the right time to talk about money. And no, I did not ''owe it to my mother to buy a beautiful coffin with spectacular satin lining''. It seemed to me wasteful in the extreme to burn a coffin built in jarrah and lined with satin.

What I learned was that funeral directors are masters at leveraging grief to up-sell, cross-sell and extract as much money as they can when a grief-stricken customer is at their most vulnerable. They are, in other words, well-practised at sinking their teeth in to extract as much blood as possible.

It also occurred to me that funeral directors have two accomplices in this process. The first is the government, which makes it impossibly difficult for relatives to bury their own loved ones. To my way of thinking, it would be so much cheaper and more enriching to organise a funeral personally -- doing without the well-coached funeral directors’ staff and their feigned emotional connection.

The second accomplice is you, dear reader. The community places so much importance in funerals when the truth is, the guests of honour are not there and will never enjoy them. As I say, when you are gone, you are gone. Nobody has ever thought good things or bad things about their funeral.

The idea that a funeral is an opportunity to demonstrate your love is stupid and bizarre. You should have demonstrated your love when the individual concerned was still alive. If you didn't, it's too late.

I'm sure that another driver of expensive funerals is what they say to those who attend. Do they demonstrate your love and the importance of the individual in the box? To this, I can only say bah humbug! 

Who cares what others think. If you do, perhaps you need to talk to a psychologist about your insecurities – the same insecurities that funeral directors play on when they imply ''what will people say?''.

I made sure my mother knew I loved her in life, because I knew she would know nothing in death. I also don't give a shit what other people think. 

Remember, when you are gone, you are gone

Spend the money on improving the lives of the living.

Funeral directors are leeches -- leeches supported by the government and people who have a need to impress others.

Sad, but true!

Banner 2
| Your rating
No ratings yet

Related stories

Do you have a canny tip for saving money.

Share your money-saving hacks here

Everyone loves to save a dollar or two when they can. Do you have any money-saving tips to share with your YsFriends?

4 days ago
(Money & Business)
Because you're never too old to pursue your passion.

Your midlife career-switch advice is golden

Have you started a new business or pulled off a major career switch in midlife? We'd love to hear from you.

Ageing Money
11 days ago
(Money & Business)
Rejuvenate in Retirement.

6 ways to retire from work, not life


Are you ready for The Lifestyle Change? Retirement can be a more difficult adjustment than we realise.

Retirement Health Relationships Money Ageing
18 days ago
(Money & Business)
James Packer: born with a silver spoon in his mouth.

Bring back death duties for silver spooners

Why should the privileged offspring of Australia's elite inherit their billions tax-free? Let's level the playing field.

Business Ageing Money
22 days ago
(Money & Business)
Retirees have copped a rough time in recent years.

A new approach to retirement planning

I’m going to stick my neck out just a bit and say retirees have had a raw deal over the past couple of decades.

Ageing Retirement Money
23 days ago
(Money & Business)
Trickle-down economics my arse.

How big business is giving you the shaft

Are you battling to make ends meet thanks to stagnant wages and lack of jobs? Here's who's to blame.

Politics Social Issues Community Business Money
About 1 month ago
(Money & Business)
What impact will the eventual death of Queen Elizabeth have on us in Australia?.

What happens to us when the Queen dies?


As a part of the Commonwealth, the impact on Australia will be greater than you think.

UK Australia Community Social Issues Politics
About 1 month ago
(Money & Business)
Myer - no Harrods.

Good riddance to Myer's CEO!

And there are plenty more who should follow him. Don't these obscene executive salaries make you furious?

Business Money
About 1 month ago
(Money & Business)
New CBA CEO Matt Comyn.

Why 'banker' should start with a W

It's our fault that the big banks treat us with such contempt and arrogance. Time to hit back by taking our mortgages and...

Community Money Business
About 1 month ago
(Money & Business)
The dingy alleyway that leads to 78 Records is full of bins and junkies.

What it's like to work in junkie alley

An alleyway that almost everybody in the city walks past everyday, directly opposite the entrance to our underground train...

Politics Western Australia Social Issues
About 1 month ago
(Money & Business)

Have your say!

Your Great Australians

Trending stories
Marriage is a con, serving no purpose at all.

Marriage is a symptom of ugliness

Relationships and love have...

(Love & Relationships) 3 days ago
She truly does love, honour and obey Jim.

Jim really does spank his wife often

Part two in the story of...

(Love & Relationships) 4 months ago
Camel milk vanilla slice.

Camel milk vanilla slice

A delicious slice created...

(Epicure) 8 days ago
I'm dying of laughter!.

These fabulous puns have groan on me

Everybody loves a good pun,...

(Pastimes) 8 days ago
You want to ensure your medications are well-managed while overseas.

How to manage your medication while travelling

Follow these 13 handy tips...

(Travel) 10 days ago
Weekly Poll
Photographic memories
It's 35 years since the Ash Wednesday bushfires in South Australia and Victoria claimed 75 lives and more than 2500 buildings.