Posts Tagged ‘Crematorium’


February 2, 2020


In Finland.

Nothing riles more than getting a bill for insurance. Now-a-days they sneak in on the computer, silent thieves in the night, with the stealth of someone walking past your window wearing soft slippers checking up if you have any visitors. Strange unknown cars parked in the visitors section of your villa/townhouse might indicate you have a visitor. The depth of interests of some residents in shared housing often brings on a mindless curiosity, and an ennui, whereby the merest diversion from the norm, brings on an excitement in the minds of  lonely residents.  Sociologists whose jobs are to study societal ills write often that loneliness is a major contributor to mental illness. They sometimes also point out that even when in the company of people, many suffer isolation.

I have often wondered that isolation and a fear of isolation draws us into taking out insurance. There is no doubt that fear is used to attract people to take out insurance, even though we know the odds are stacked in favour of the Insurance companies and that the consumer of insurance is at the shortest end of the stick. Anyone who took up the shares in NRMA (IAG) some years ago will now be sitting on a nice little packet today. My advice is to take up shares in Insurance companies but don’t get insurance. You will be the winner, not the other way around.

Lately there have been a spate of advertisements on TV dealing with deaths. However, death is dealt with in such a happy and jovial way the viewer almost ends up wishing to hurry along into the welcoming arms of a warm and cosy pre-heated crematorium. Expert actors, always at the prime of their lives, are showing wives and husbands jubilantly bending over a pram or dancing along a verdant meadow obviously happy  full of life and avocados, when suddenly and without warning, and through the sheer magic of advertising genius, the wife quickly takes the opportunity, while taking a curt little side-step,  mentions still all smiles, and beaming with happiness but a certain determination, that good responsible wives are good at, and comes out with a bit of a downer to all this family content-ness and asks; ‘but who might pay for the funeral?’

Not to be outdone; the husband all gleaming pearl-toothed, and hugely smiling whips out a death and funeral policy and proudly shows the wife he has done it already. No fear, all is well and taken care of.  The advertisements ends up with the couple bending again over the pram or rolling down the meadow. The wife so proud of her hero husband. All is taken care off.

Till the end

We are not dying like we used to.

August 26, 2013

We are not dying like in the good old days.

I have written before on how things are crook in the world of the dedicated undertaker.Now it is worldwide. Embalmers, grave diggers, crematorium sweepers, they are all huddled around street corners hoping for a body, shovels are going rusty and listless undertakers reduced to sipping buttermilk or lukewarm tea.

Some of the largest retorts have been switched off and lying idle, saving gas or electricity. These are hard times.

Unfortunately, the best of the undertakers etc will get out of the industry. Many embalmers already have taken up restoring cars, cane furniture or simply becoming panel beaters. The industry will find it hard to replace those that took pride in their work. Many were answering an almost sacred plea during the peak or heydays of the dying, few were chosen. The very best were artists in their own right and could name their price. It was as much a calling as becoming a bishop or a Venetian gondolier.

Many corpses were left with the signature of the embalmer as recognizable as a vintner could call his ‘vins de Bordeaux.’ The best of them clearly under emphasized their work, were modest and yet worked with much devotion and creativity.

It makes one wonder how the industry will fare in the future. I am pretty sure that, no matter what, the trade from ‘ashes to ashes’ will survive.

Already many of the smaller undertakers were taken over by the larger ones and with mass buying of coffins and introduction of solar heated crematoriums and retorts, costs were cut, prices lowered. Many are now corporate giants and listed on the Dow Jones, The FT100, and the AEX etc. Some of the smaller funeral directors tried double dipping with re-use of coffins, the introduction of flat pack carton coffins with Allen key, plastic re-usable flowers and introducing three for the price of one and other sustainable solutions.

The logistics of less numbers dying now seems a problem that will take innovative action. The larger corporate ones have taken to offering ‘Corpus-futures’ (CF’s) the same as already existing with pork bellies, soya beans etc. One has the option of going ‘short’ or ‘long’ on the dearly departed. Timing is of the essence though.

The experts can blame longevity on the mild weather or the habit of taking vitamins, exercise and tofu milk with cucumber but I wonder if people are cutting corners and doing a swifty and burying Aunt Agnes on the sly under Rufus the dog kennel? Are there economic reasons at play here? How does that stack up though against all those funereal insurance TV ads with so many of the ‘happy’ Rolfing around in the knowledge that for the cost of a mere weekly latte or sugar slushy they will get a nice warm cremation or a burial without having to worry afterwards and lying awake all night.

Anyway, you can get a decent funeral for less than an Mp with 5 Gigabytes; including a box of I love Lucy VD’s thrown in for niks.

The problem seems odd. On the one hand, robust health with longevity and mild weather is to be blamed, yet on the other side obesity and the Big quarter pounder Mac were seen by many as the savior for the industry. What is happening here? Is there some rort going on somewhere?

I am suspicious.