One thing we know is certain: No one gets out off our planet alive. I’m not referring to those brave souls — e.g., airline travelers and astronauts — who leave the surface of the planet temporarily. i’m referring to those who depart from here on a more permanent basis.
Said another way… Sooner or later, we all die — either by natural or very unnatural means. So, everyone on the planet faces the loss of their loved ones… and the necessary aftermath of laying them “to rest” — both physically and emotionally.
Enter the funeral home industry.
We have all heard — perhaps even experienced — the worst of this. When hardened businesspeople have preyed on grieving families, seeking to maximize their financial return by manipulating the purchase of expensive products and services they don’t need or want.
Jessica Mitford stunned the nation in 1963 with her shocking expose entitled “American Way of Death” (and its “Revisited” update in 2000). A more recent work — “Final Rights: Reclaiming the American Way of Death” — was published in 2011 by two leaders of a new consumer movement seeking to bring integrity to the industry (Joshua Slocum of the Funeral Consumers Alliance, and Lisa Carlson of the Funeral Ethics Organization). Both are available on Amazon.com.
But there’s GOOD news, too. Or shall I say, GOD news?
Take this company: R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes in Detroit, Michigan. Their mission states their “highest priority is to honor God in all that we do as a company and as individuals. With respect, dignity, and personal attention, our team of caring professionals strive to exceed expectations, offering options and assistance designed to facilitate healing and wholeness in serving the personal needs of family and friends as they experience a loss of life.” http://www.rggrharris.com/about-us/mission-statement
Their many services help families plan and take whatever approach is in their best personal interests. http://www.rggrharris.com/services/overview
The company articulates core values in eight key areas…
Families (those they serve, always their primary consideration). Integrity (achieving the highest possible ethical standards). Excellence (without compromising company standards, or law and regulations governing them). Caregiving Professionals (establishing superior relationships and working cooperatively with other complementary professionals).
Community Involvement (being a positive resource and good neighbor). Suppliers (relating to and treating them with respect). Profession (being a reputable, industry innovation leader). Employees (treating them as their most valuable resource; developing their potential and supporting their assumption of responsibillity and accountability). http://www.rggrharris.com/about-us/mission-statement
And they have a “no charge” guarantee: If anyone is not completely satisfied with any of their professional services or facilities, the customer will not be charged for that service. http://www.rggrharris.com/about-us/our-guarantee.
Risky? Not when they’ve decided where they will put their trust. “But seek first His kingdom and righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.” (Matthew 6:33)
Who could argue with their comprehensive and caring approach? Somebody did… in a precedent-setting way. Tune in Wednesday for the attack that came… and its outcome.
What’s been your experience with this industry?
What lessons would you offer to others?
Diana Furr, a.k.a. Abba’s Girl
This blog may have raised questions for you. If you’d like to connect, engage, or get further help from me, you can… EMAIL me at firstname.lastname@example.org; CALL me at 863-446-1660; or request a complimentary initial CONSULT with me at http://tinyurl.com/DianaFurr.