"…See my co-workers standing around looking somber and respectful? They’re not there to just have a presence of authority, they are studying you. They are watching the family dynamic and will report back to me with any potential angles I can play to manipulate your emotions, which family members are taking it the hardest and will therefore be the easiest prey, and their estimation of your financial well-being. If, by the way, you appear to be less affluent, I’ll tell you to take your business elsewhere. This is not a hospital and I don’t provide a service – this is a business. If you aren’t paying me (in full and up front, generally), all you’re getting is my sympathy."
(Full disclosure: I found out about this stuff years ago and instantly became intent on never allowing my body to become part of this kind of grief theater. My body is going to medical science [there are never enough cadavers for medical students to work on]. Putative funeral money will instead be spent on a wake with good catering.)
(ETA a comment on this comment:
Just so you know, once you sign your body over to research, you get no say at all in which kind of research it’s used in. At least according to Mary Roach’s book Stiff, which is fascinating reading if you can stomach it. It’s all about what happens to cadavers after they’re left to science. Being left to science can mean anything from being used in med schools, to being used as a crash-test dummy. Not that this means you shouldn’t leave your body to science, just that you and your family won’t have much if any say in what kind of science it’s left to or what is done with it.
Re the last statement: while this may be true in the US, European law is structured differently (a good deal of data is here in this white paper from the Tiss.EU project, recommendations from which are in the process of being enshrined in the law of EU member states). Meantime my will is specific about where the body goes — specifying a range of what I judge to be good medical-schools-at-training-&-research-hospitals in all the places I live or routinely travel. (I don’t see any point in incurring the expense of shipping ±60kg* of tissue back to the EU should I discorporate on some other continent. NYU or USC will do as well as UCD or USZ.)
…(laughter) Am I talking about corpses before I’ve even had my tea? Sherlock must really be getting to me. :)
*Probably more like 50kg by the time this happens. Those extra pounds I picked up over the last decade are on their way off.