Funerals make me cry. And so they should seeing they’re indicative of death. But they also make me laugh hysterically as sold by wily funeral undertakers on television channels. Specially targeted are viewers of eNCA almost hourly. These adverts fit nicely with the channel’s obsession with broadcasting funerals. Or is it because of the advertising revenue from Corpse Incorporated that it feels obliged to feature prolonged services?
They make me cry with frustration having to switch to another channel offering reality viewing, away from pastors, pulpits and pallbearers creating a sombre atmosphere in one’s home. Then there follow flashes of the same funeral throughout the day. Deadly stuff.
The adverts would raise the ire of the dead. If the deceased could see or hear the sales pitch, he or she would sit up and object to the hogwash sprouted by a slick salesman dressed to the hilt and surrounded by flowers that come with the package. “Say, Boet with the suit, what’s this about a dignified funeral? Dignified to whom? Me? Too late. I mean, what dignity is there entrapped in a box? Or do you mean to the mourners? Why spoil them? When I was alive they treated me like something the dog left behind. They don’t deserve any dignified funeral. And while I still have some breath, what happens to my coffin after being pitched into the furnace? You probably pull it from the heat, put it back in your fancy showroom to become another contribution to a dignified funeral. I hope YOU can rest in peace”.
Funerals world-wide are good for business. In Africa, particularly, where they’re an integral part of tradition, mourners are being stung with exorbitant prices for coffins and attendant trappings. Unaffordable loans have to be taken, often from crooked lending sharks who hike the price even more with high interest rates.
Back to adverts. In the UK, a company behind a set of funeral comparison adverts banned by Transport for London, has said it was trying to break the "taboo" around death. Proposed adverts showed beachgoers running with coffins rather than surfboards - with a pun on "roasting temperatures" and cremations.
Disgusting stuff. OK. Ours ain’t so bad. But the consumer council should check out an industry obviously targeting vulnerable clients – whether or not they can afford it. And bury the culprits.