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Morning Sun
  • TRUE STORIES: Grinding to a halt

  • Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t come to yours.

     – Yogi Berra




    A while back I read in the newspaper that a South Carolina funeral home is opening a Starbucks in its lobby. The mortuary’s owner says he hopes it will help mourners “get their minds off what’s going on.”

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  • Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t come to yours.
     – Yogi Berra
    A while back I read in the newspaper that a South Carolina funeral home is opening a Starbucks in its lobby. The mortuary’s owner says he hopes it will help mourners “get their minds off what’s going on.”  
     It wasn’t clear, from the owner’s statement, whether he was talking about getting their minds off the deceased or the reality that they’re all going to be ‘buying the pine condo’ and ‘taking the big dirt nap’ sooner or later.
     To my mind the South Carolina funeral home operator is making a big mistake with putting in a Starbucks. My experience with drinking coffee is that, rather than get my mind off what’s going on, it does the opposite – causes me to obsess on it.
     If he really wants to redirect people’s minds, he should put a full bar with beer on tap, a variety of cocktails and two or three big screen TVs tuned to NFL football games.
    Of course the commercials for fancy cars, beauty treatments, erectile dysfunction medications, and the latest smart phones will provide diversion for those who don’t get distracted enough from ‘what’s going on’ in the football games.
    Psychologist Rollo May said, “Many people think they are facing death when they are really side stepping it with the old “eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow you die” — middle-aged men and women who want to love everybody, go every place, do everything, and hear everything before the end comes.”
    I did a little checking and found out combining a funeral parlor with another business not entirely new.
    Over the past five to six years, more and more funeral homes have been hosting weddings. That’s right, you can tie the knot right where others have gone to get their six feet under preparation.
    “Although people may think it morbid to start a marriage in a place surrounded by sadness, it would be no different than doing it at a church — where both caskets and newlyweds occupy the aisles throughout the year,” says Sue Totterdale, national chairwoman of the National Association of Wedding Professionals. “A banquet hall is a banquet hall, and a chapel is a chapel,” she says. “If you can get past the driveway and the cemetery, it’s going to be beautiful.”
    It does kind of make sense when you think about it. Both occasions require flowers, makeup, hairdos, suits, and dresses. Not to mention limousines. It sure gives new meaning to the term ‘wedding rehearsal’.
    Speaking of vehicles, a drive-through service is currently being offered at a funeral home located in Compton, California. The service allows the casket containing the body of the deceased to be placed behind a display window, while visitors simply drive by, signing a book of condolences as they leave.
    Page 2 of 2 - According to owner, Peggy Scott Adams, the idea originated in the 1980s when there was a sudden spike in gang related cemetery shootouts. So gang members preferred this kind of a service, since they were protected by the drive-through corridor made of bullet-proof glass.
    Getting back to drinking a cup of Joe when seeing someone off to the marble garden, a recent issue of the Funny Times magazine featured a piece by columnist Lenore Skenazy that listed the winners of a naming contest for the new Starbucks opening in the South Carolina funeral home. Below in italics is a little advertisement I wrote for the home incorporating the winners.
    Ladies and gentlemen, when the grim roaster appears and it’s time to meet your mocha, why not prearrange your funeral at the Bean Nice Knowing You Funeral Home, which features the Still Above Grounds Café and Departure Lounge.
    For those of you who think outside the box and prefer to be cream-mated, we have a variety of de-coffinated features. We also have a beautiful chapel for Catholics to offer prayers to insure that the deceased doesn’t end up trapped in perkatory.
    So, when drinking your mourning java and wondering where’s the best place to roast in peace, remember the Bean Nice Knowing You Funeral Home. Better latte than never.
    No doubt, if the South Carolina experiment succeeds, it won’t be long before the Starbucks corporation begins reversing the idea and opening funeral homes in their existing cafés worldwide. No doubt they’ll need new signage with an appropriate motto. How about “Starbucks — A Great Place to Grind To A Halt”.
     
    J.T. Knoll is a writer, speaker and prevention and wellness coordinator at Pittsburg State University. He also operates Knoll Training & Consulting in Pittsburg. He can be reached at 231-0499 or jtknoll@swbell.net
     
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