Central embalming facilities (like those utilized by SCI or Stewart funeral home clusters) can really save a substantial amount of money by consolidating supplies, equipment and staff.

But they can also cost a lot of money, especially when an overworked or underpaid and inattentive staff-member mistakenly switches the ID tags on two bodies.

That’s what happened to an SCI firm in Stickney, Illinois, as detailed in this Chicago Tribune story.

SCI spokesperson, Jennifer Brandino, responded to the story, saying “We continue to work with both families involved and are committed to resolving the issue to their satisfaction.”

When I worked for SCI, “resolving the issue to their satisfaction” usually meant paying money or refunding the cost of services.

It’s one of the pitfalls of running bigger operations where the person doing the embalming has never met the family or the deceased:  mistakes are made more often.

I wonder if the negative impact of this story can be dismissed because of all the money they saved by consolidating their embalming and preparation processes?

Editor’s Note:  This story is not an indictment of SCI or any other corporate firm.  If anything, I hope our corporate readers will consider that the way they’re consolidated brings different challenges than a smaller, family-run and family-sized operation.

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