Saturday, May 14, 2011


Let’s face it, traditional funeral home visitations are inconvenient, awkward, and criminally under-catered. The only thing longer than the lines are the uncomfortable gaps in forced conversation but we endure them because we wish to pay our respects to those who have passed on while letting their families know that we are there for them.

One California funeral home has implemented a unique solution that allows mourners to pay their respects without the social pitfalls and long waits of traditional visitation ceremonies. Since 1974, Adam’s Funeral Home in Compton has offered “drive-thru” funerals by placing the casket behind a large display window under a covered drive-thru. This set-up allows family and friends to view the body and sign the guestbook without ever leaving their vehicles.
Adam's Funeral Home
When asked about the unusual service, owner Peggy Scott Adams insists that a drive-thru funeral is “a convenience thing” allowing those with hectic schedules (or even mobility problems) to participate in the grieving process. While many still view the idea as a gimmick, the process became widely popular in the 1980’s when gang violence was so prevalent that graveside services were often the scenes of drive-by shootings.

Ever the clever marketers, Mr. and Mrs. Adams installed bullet-proof glass in their display windows so that the family members could stand beside the casket and “receive” guests without having to worry about the Rolling 60’s Crips sneaking in a couple of “ratchets” to try  and catch somebody “slippin’. While the level of gang-funeral assassinations has declined, Adam’s funeral home continues to find its unusual services in high demand.

This got me wondering, if something as seemingly absurd as drive-thru funerals could sustain Mrs. Adams for over three decades, what other enhancements is the industry overlooking?

The visitation fast pass – not just for theme parks anymore, the fast pass ensures that you don’t miss Letterman because Aunt Gertie keeps rambling on about how “peaceful” Mildred looks. You simply display your fast pass to any parlor employee and you can go from the door to the deceased before your creepy uncle even knows you’re there.

Surrogate Pall-bearing – while being selected to carry your step-dad’s aunt’s body is quite an honor, you also realize that the pig iron and solid mahogany casket she selected is going to be quite a burden on you since the other seven designees have been drawing social security checks since Reagan’s 1st term.  

First Class-Seating – sometimes those antique folding chairs just cannot provide the lumbar support necessary to endure all thirty-seven stanzas of Amazing Grace. For a small fee, VIP mourners will be provided with a recliner thereby ensuring that the corpse isn’t the only body that gets to stretch out.

Headstone Sponsorships – With the skyrocketing cost of a traditional burial, why not let a corporation bear some of the financial burden? Ads will be discretely affixed to the back of the headstone allowing unobstructed viewing of your epitaph by loved ones. Examples include:
“This interment has been brought to you by your local Suzuki dealer if our new line of fuel-efficient sedans doesn’t get your heart racing it’s because your name is already on the other side of this tombstone!”

Third-Wheel Plots – While traditional funeral homes only provide burial plans for couples, we are pleased to announce that our exciting new cemetery configurations allow you to be buried with your wife and your secret Brazilian mistress. Secret second family? Sister wife? No job is too small and no deception is too big for our expert staff.   

Custom Cremation Scents – Why settle for the clichéd smell of incinerated cadaver when your remains could be infused with our custom “odor enhancement packages.” Favorites include “fresh cookies,” ”lavender solstice” and “Georgia pine.” We can also add hickory chips to the processing chamber for the grilling enthusiast.

In-house photography – Allow our expert staff to document every second of the mourning process. We offer a variety of affordable packages and every order includes a complimentary 8X10 of the deceased. Also, don’t forget to ask our staff about the “It’s never too late for one last family portrait” special during the month of September.

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