Thursday, December 11, 2003

Funereal salesmanship

There's been a great deal of consolidation in the funeral business over the past decade or two and many outfits do not disclose their ownership, preferring to let local people believe that they're dealing with a local business, so there's no way of knowing whether this sales letter is used throughout some chain or whether it's an original creation and "used only for the purpose for which intended" and created, the inauguration of this grand Chapel of Serenity (the chapel of serenity concept is sweeping the funeral business nationally, as is the move to "above ground entombment," since there's more profit to be had). There seems to be a vogue for "memorial parks"--let's have no more of cemeteries! Except where there are brackets, the following letter is printed in its entirety, unedited.

An Open Letter To All Area Families:
[A cemetery that shall go unnamed, although it uses a fancier name than "cemetery"] is proud to announce its plan to construct [unnamed] County's first modern community chapel mausoleum, the CHAPEL OF SERENITY. The new chapel mausoleum will be situated in a beautiful setting of flowering trees and broadlawns. The [cemetery] is now extending the opportunity for area families to select above ground entombment in this beautiful chapel mausoleum, luxuriously finished with imported marble and granite.

There are many advantages to above ground entombment:
. Timeless construction of granite, marble, steel and concrete.
. Clean, dry, ventilated chambers.
. Price comparable to the average cost of earth burial.
. One purchase is the only purchase, eliminating the need for
lots, vaults, and memorials.
. Comfortable inside services in the beautiful chapel regardless of weather conditions.

For centuries our most reverent and honorable form of burial has been in permanent structures of beauty and dignity. We urge families to select early, as the most desirable spaces will surely be chosen first. In addition, the first one hundred families to select will be honored by having their names on a bronze plaque to be permanently placed at the mausoleum. This will be a way to thank these families for necessary support to make this community mausoleum a reality.

Enclosed please find a postage paid reply card that can be filled out and mailed in to obtain more information on the NEW CHAPEL OF SERENITY MAUSOLEUM. In addition, you are entitled to receive "FREE", the Emergency Record Portfolio. This planning booklet helps to list vital information, helps to organize important papers, possessions, documents and financial records.

Looking forward to serving you, I remain
Sales Director

We sincerely regret if this letter should reach any home where there is illness or sorrow, as this was certainly not intended.

And then there's the enclosed post card: "Chapel of Serenity: Heritage . . . Dignity . . . Beauty . . . Permanence . . . an Everlasting Memorial to Your Family Name -- The beautiful and elegant chapel, with it's [sic] richly appointed granite and marble, will be a place where friends and relatives will visit for generations with pride. This is about you -- Caring and sharing."


Post a Comment

<< Home