"There's a psychological block going on here because the death word is hanging around our head. And that deranges us and shuts our rationality off and opens up our emotions. So we think we're thinking, but we're not, we're just feeling."
Executive Director, Funeral Consumers Alliance
I'm excited for you to meet Joshua Slocum, the Executive Director of the Funeral Consumers Alliance (FCA), a nonprofit dedicated to education and advocacy surrounding funeral consumer rights. The Funeral Consumers Alliance exists to help people make good decisions about funerals and the tools on their website are there for you when you need them.
This episode highlights some of my conversation with Josh. Below is a transcript of the conversation with even more great information about how to buy a funeral.
Thanks as always to Pat Cupples and Hotels & Highways for the use of your original music. Photo: from the movie "The Big Lebowski"
Free Course: "How to Host a Virtual Funeral"
FULL TRANSCRIPT (Recorded on 2/22/22)
Joshua Slocum, Funeral Consumers Alliance
Brian Hayden, Redesigning the End
Joshua: I'm Josh Slocum, I'm executive director of Funeral Consumers Alliance.
We're a nonprofit - think of us like we were the consumer reports of funerals. So we try to help people understand what their options are, what their legal rights. And how to plan a funeral. And I use that term expansively means anything that can be done with the dead body. So it could mean cremation only.
It could mean body donation. When I use the term funeral, help people plan and arrangement a funeral that meets their emotional needs, but also meet their budget. Because money is one of the biggest factors that causes people dissatisfaction and funerals. And I got into the work because I used to be a newspaper reporter.
And I did some research on the funeral industry a couple of decades ago for a feature story. And, and what I uncovered was so disturbing to me in terms of how consumers were mistreated and how much collusion there was between state regulators and industry lobbying bodies that. you know, I got in contact with this organization, funeral consumers Alliance, and that turned into a job.
So that's how I got here.
Brian: Great. Why does the Funeral Consumers Alliance exists? What's the role that your organization plays and, and who do you serve?
Joshua: We serve the general public. Anyone who wants information, needs information on how to plan a funeral affordably.
That's what we're here for. We try to act as a voice for consumers in public policy discussions might be legislation might be regulations that affect the well-being of grieving people in the funeral, transaction, buying cemetery, property buying funeral. Because consumers need a voice in that arena as well.
And there are already industry trade associations that speak for funeral directors. So we try to speak for consumers. So an example of big picture stuff that we do, our organization was heavily involved, many decades ago in helping get passed. What's called the funeral rule, which is a set of regulations that federal trade commission that give consumers specific rights when arranging a funeral.
And today we are pressuring the Federal Trade Commission to strengthen the rule, to bring it into the 21st century. So for example, the funeral rule requires funeral homes to hand people, paper priceless so that they can see what they're buying. First. We want the FTC to require those price lists to be published online, to meet shoppers, where they shop and the way they shop in 2022.
Brian: So how should I shop for a funeral?
Joshua: Well, let me take it two ways. Let me, let me give you two scenarios here. I'm going to give you the, the,