Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Vulture Appears Innocent

So, after receiving a couple of calls from a funeral home, I got them on the phone:

"Thank you for calling Unnamed Funeral Home and Cemetary. Please select from one of the following four options, so that we may better assist you:
If you are calling to report a death, please press 1.
To speak to someone about pre-arrangements or upcoming seminars, please press 2.
To speak to our Rembrandt Florist, please press 3.
For all other inquiries or if you know your party's name or extension, please press 4.
To hear this menu again, please press 5."

The first message (left by a woman's voice) just gave the phone number. That Guy, however, who left the second message, actually specified that I should press Option One and then ask for him.

So, for preliminary evaluation: I received at least two calls from Unnamed Funeral Home. Both are a bit garbled. The first one seems to be addressed to someone I don't know (but might just be garbled), while the second claims to be a courtesy call, mentions the loss of my mother, but appears (in its slightly garbled way) to give the wrong name for her. Also, the second call wants to "guide me in a really positive way" and wants to schedule me to "come out and make some final arrangements". And in addition to leaving the callback number, wants me to select the option for "report a death".

Yeah. No, that doesn't sound deeply sleazy or massively inappropriate at all.

"You call may be monitored for quality or training purposes.

Hold music...

Series of clicks and no more hold music... and now a dial tone.

(Am I going to end up live-blogging this whole thing? Looks like.)

Trying again...

Same message... Same hold music...

Got an operator this time... and (oh hey!) That Guy.

...Who says it might just have been a wrong number. I offered to give him the number he called me on, but he says he can't look it up that way. And the (possibly garbled) name "Betty" from his message didn't seem to mean anything to him. So at this point, either:
1. It's a coincidence. That would be one hell of a coincidence, but stranger things have happened.[1]
2. Unnamed Funeral Home is doing sales cold-calls. If so, their system is massively confused.
3. Unnamed Funeral Home is trying to get in touch with a legitimate client and simply had the wrong number (in which case their system may still be massively confused).

You know what? Let's call That Guy back and ask him.

Okay, That Guy says unequivocally that no, his department does not do sales calls of any form. They are strictly scheduling. And he sounded a little appalled when I told him that I'd just lost my own mother right before receiving his call.

So at this point, I'm going to have to say that this was some weird combination of coincidence and wrong number. I can imagine that a funeral home might be cold-calling the relatives of recently-deceased individuals to drum up business, but I can't imagine that people wouldn't find that offensive and inappropriate -- and after some poking around online, I can't find any accounts of anything even remotely similar.

That being the case, I'm going to go through this entry and the previous one, and soft-scrub all the names involved. I'm not above naming and shaming people who behave inappropriately, but that doesn't seem to be what's going on here. And since people don't read (and often don't read thoroughly) I don't want to be responsible for any false rumors about a business that doesn't seem to have misbehaved.

[1] My mother-in-law once got a wrong number call, which turned out to be from a couple that they had lived next door to for like fifteen years, before they moved several times and lost track of each other completely. So when I say that this level of weird, wild coincidences happen, I'm not kidding.


  1. I'm so glad to hear that it was an honest error.

    1. To be completely honest, so was I.


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