SOUTHFIELD (WWJ) – Ever worry that there won’t be enough sad faces at your funeral? Consider hiring some extra help.
Available now in some parts of the world, so-called “Rent A Mourner” services allow the recently deceased to occupy a coffin to a packed house.
A firm in the United Kingdom rents out “discreet,” “professional” grievers at about $68 per-person for two hours of crying.
“We are typically invited to help increase visitors to funerals where there may be a low turnout expected. This can usually be a popularity issue or being new to an area, or indeed, the country,” the firm states on its website.
Although it’s not yet a common practice here in the U.S., Steven Kemp with Haley Funeral Directors in Southfield, said he has heard of families renting mourners in parts of the south — and he doesn’t see a problem with it.
“If the families want that done, then I mean that’s certainly incumbent upon them and what they want,” Kent told WWJ Newsradio 950’s Zahra Huber. “Our business is in serving their needs and wants, and at least in my practice, that’s what I try to do. I try to please what they do as long as it’s not dangerous to my staff and the building.”
Kemp said, as we become a more global society, funeral directors have become accustomed to serving people of different cultures and ethnic groups — all with varying expectations.
He said the concept of hired mourners is no more unconventional than funeral practices he’s seen — such as animal sacrifice or the burning of money.
“You know, we are in the business of servicing families and the family traditions and what they want to do it important to me, as providing a service,” Kemp said. “So, if that’s what they want to do, I typically will do it within the realm of some sensitivity to the surroundings … I certainly will try to accommodate whatever they’d like to have.”