Buzz Lightyear Helps With Pushy Cemetery Salespeople

As you may know, I am relatively new to the death services industry and not a licensed funeral director.  

Unfortunately, sometimes industry veterans think that they can take advantage of me because I am a relative rookie.    

This recently happened at a large commercial for-profit cemetery.  

The cemetery manager, for whom I was doing a favor by referring to him a new customer, decided to thank me by embarrassing me in front of my customer.  

He pointed out that I didn’t know the difference between a “columbaria,” a “mausoleum,” and an “ossuary.”

Needless to say, I wasn’t happy and quickly decided to be like Buzz Lightyear.

According to Buzz Lightyear

[R]evenge is something we do not promote on my planet…But we’re not on my planet, are we?

Revenge…it seemed like a great idea and easy to do. 

The cemetery manager didn’t know that while I didn’t have his “funeral vocabulary,” I am a lawyer and know the laws and regulations governing cemeteries and mausoleums. 

And, if I am motivated (or pissed-off), I can identify regulatory violations like an experienced prosecutor. 

So, I decided to push the cemetery manager’s buttons and focus on what seemed to me to be obvious violations of law and/or regulation.        

It only took me 5 minutes of quiet nudging before the cemetery manager “voluntarily” cut thousands of dollars off the sale price to my customer.   

Since the cemetery manager is a glorified commissioned salesperson, the discount came right out of his paycheck (which made me very happy).  

As we left the cemetery manager’s office, I channeled my inner Buzz Lightyear and said…

[he] is a sad, strange little man, and [he] has my pity

What you need to know about the difference between a columbarium, mausoleum, and ossuary…

Columbaria Defined

A columbarium is a space designed for the interment of cremated ashes (in urns).  This can be within a larger building (such as a church or mausoleum) or a free-standing building. 

Pere Lachaise Cemetery is the largest cemetery in Paris, France, and has more than 3.5 million visitors annually.  It is the most visited columbaria in the world.  

Columbaria is the plural form of the word “columbarium.”

Within a columbarium, cremated individuals who have been placed in a funeral urn are subsequently entombed in a niche that is typically sealed.  

Mausoleum Defined

Mausoleums are buildings designed to entomb the full body of a deceased individual (usually in a casket).  

Deceased individuals are placed in a casket, and the casket is placed in a crypt and sealed.  

Ossuary Defined

An ossuary is a repository for human skeletal remains, which may include cremation ashes.  

An ossuary can be a chest, box, niche, cave, or any other physical location designated the resting place for human skeletal remains.  

So, now you know what I know about these three terms.  

And, if someone tries to make you feel bad about yourself because you don’t know or remember something do what Buzz would do…

Set your rhetorical laser from “stun to kill” and shout…

To Infinity and Beyond!!!

Mark Sunshine

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