Tuesday, March 23, 2004

I don't know what to make of it

I mentioned the other day that I went with my dad to see the mortician. Mr. G is a nice enough fellow, in his early eighties himself, and a friend of the family (At least technically, since he's a friend of my step-brother, but it's hard to think of my step-brother as "family" in any meaningful sense as we were both in our thirties when our parents married. I mean, I've only seen the guy a couple of dozen times.) to boot. Mr. G was a Marine in WWII stationed in the Pacific, and my dad was Army and also in the Pacific and so they had to swap a few stories. I always like being the fly on the wall when the war stories come out. Mostly because my dad talks about it so rarely anymore. Anyway, we probably spent the better part of an hour talking with Mr. G and when the paperwork was signed he excused himself to go next door and make a copy to send with us. When he returned, he gave us both an inexpensive version of a Swiss Army knife with his company's name and number on it.

Now, I don't know about you, but the last thing I'm looking for when I visit a mortician is a tchotchke. I'm not offended by it, just puzzled because I can see where other folks might be. What would make a mortician think that handing out trinkets to his customers would be a good idea? Does he just pass them out to people who make pre-arrangements? That would make sense since when I look at it, I will be reminded of a time when my dad and I were together. But then I think, why did he give them to us? Seems to me that if you're looking to generate goodwill (and ultimately business) you would want to put them in the hands of folks who weren't already your customers. And then there's something about that whole 'generating business' aspect that is just kind of creepy in a general sort of way when you start talking about funeral homes and morticians.

Anyway, like I said, I'm not offended by it, but then again I'm probably not as sensitive as some folks either. At the time he gave the knifes to us, I was just struck by how odd it seemed. What do you think?

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