I had a rather bizarre telephone conversation earlier today that I will attempt to transcribe here.
First, let me say, that I usually avoid unsolicited calls like the plague. I try to be polite and let the caller down gently. Someone’s only doing their job. But, sometimes, when they just won’t give in and insist on forcing my ear, I just hang up.
Today was a little exceptional in that the caller had a Glaswegian accent so was eminently understandable to me and she sounded so pleasant and apologetic for troubling me. I decided to give her my time.
‘Do you think I might trouble you to answer a few questions? It won’t take much of your time.’
‘The subject’s quite delicate and I’ll try to be sensitive.’
‘Okaaay.’ (I’m getting slightly worried now.)
‘We’ve been conducting a survey of your local area in respect to funeral provision.’
‘Have you ever had to organise a funeral?’
‘Well, I’ve been involved in organising one although my brothers did most of it, when my mum died.’
‘Can I ask when this was?’
‘About three and half years ago.’
‘And, do you remember how much it cost, approximately?’
‘Maybe about four to four and half thousand pounds.’
‘And, how much do you think a funeral would cost now?’
‘About the same, maybe. We did a bit more than was necessary but we felt it’s what mum would have wanted.’
‘Would it surprise you to know that funeral costs are rising year on year by about 10%?’
‘I can’t say I’ve given it any thought.’ (She’s selling something. What’s she selling?)
‘Are you married?’
‘How old are you?’
‘And what about your husband?’
‘Do you have any children?’
‘I’m sorry for my reaction. It’s so unusual to hear.’
‘That’s ok. It’s the usual reaction.’
‘Have you thought of your own funeral arrangements?’
(Ahh, she’s selling insurance.)
‘Can’t say I have that much. Although we do have insurance in place.’
(That’ll put her gas at a peep.)
‘Do you mind if I ask who with?’
‘Well, one through my work and a couple of others we sorted ourselves to make sure the house would be paid for and the kids would be ok.’
‘So, you’re covered financially. Do you have any other concerns about funeral arrangements?’
‘Em, no, I don’t think so. Although…’
‘Well, it’s just that when my dad died about twenty-five years ago, my mum didn’t want him buried in the local cemetery as it sometimes is vandalised. So, when she was arranging my dad’s funeral she expressed her concerns and the undertaker suggested a new cemetery that had just opened up. More like a garden of remembrance. A beautiful spot, very calm and serene and well-tended. I suppose I wouldn’t like to end up somewhere nasty.’
‘That place sounds lovely. Do you think you would like to be buried there?’
‘Well, I suppose if I have to be buried somewhere, I would just as soon it was somewhere like that. And, do you know, when my mum was buying the plot suitable for three, there was a special offer on because it was a new cemetery – a buy one plot, get one free. So, she bought two. Room for six.’
‘So, do you think you would like to be buried with your mum and dad?’
‘Ahh, no, probably not. I have my own family now and I suppose maybe it would be better to have our own plot.’
‘Well, I’m glad to tell you that you qualify for our free advice. With the cost of funerals rising each year, we could arrange someone to call. And no matter whether you die soon or forty years from now, the price will be frozen at today’s price.’
(I did not see that one coming.)
‘Is that something you would be interested in? Freezing the price of your funeral now?’
‘Ahh, no, it would not.’
‘Can I ask why? It’s a great offer. Free advice. No pressure.’
‘Well, I make it a point of never buying when someone comes calling. If it’s something I want to do, I’ll look into it myself.’
‘That’s fine. Thank you for your time. And I’ll look into that cemetery you mentioned. It sounds wonderful.’
I’ve laughed recounting this to my family today.
My children, little sods, are delighted to know that they’ll be fine when hubby and I pop our clogs.
After the laughter, came thought. I wonder, should…..Nah, don’t go there. The garden will do fine for me. The nearer to haunt the wee buggers.