thumbnail of Buyer beware; 10; Standing on Ceremony
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
Buyer beware. The past and present by word of the bewildered consumer shoppers in the modern marketplace look for the Best Buy the safest product and find a perplexing jumble of goods. The consumer's choice is the story behind this program series buyer beware. From birth until death consumers are surrounded by ceremony. These commemorations may be simple or elaborate and expensive or costly but often consumers are unaware of cost that may be unnecessary and discover a depleted nest egg. Such expenses seem to mushroom at the point of graduation. Whether for high school or college this ceremony marks a beginning and an end. Young men and women turn from the pursuits of childhood and teenage
years to the responsibilities of an adult. They wear a cap and gown and carry their leather bound diploma down the aisle. Surrounding this simple moment are numerous expenses from a celebrating party to the first month's rent on an apartment and the first paycheck soon after another ceremony may enter the picture. Do you Robert take Linda to be your lawfully wedded wife to have and to hold for richer or poorer students at. The close of this time honored ceremony brings tears and hopes for the future and a stack of bills. Brides and grooms find novel and
untried settings for weddings and the costs keep rising. Lorraine Trebilcock professor of textiles and clothing in the Department of Home Economics at the University of Illinois has studied the fads and fancies of bridal garments. She reflects on some recent ceremonies of note. The word has been treated to a variety of weddings within the past few years by means of television at 11:30 in the evening of Wednesday the 17th of December. One could watch the tiny town wedding party tiptoe through the tulips in February of this year the crown prince of Neapolis and his bride completed their marriage rites in Katmandu. The ceremony was held at 4:45 a.m. the hour the royal astrologers agreed would be the best have no feel for the guests who had to be present at that ghastly hour. They had spent the evening and early morning hours feasting on one hundred and eighty six delicacies served on gold and silver plates. Time magazine in July 1969 reported a wedding in which the bridegroom and guests wore no
clothes and the ceremony was a stark as the apparel dropping a stick before the couple. The officiating minister pronounced the legal essential oils in modern ocular. You were married as long as you did it said he. A person who married a Rockefeller and in tribute to the political heritage of the couple the bride carried Violet's rhododendrons and roses. The state flowers of Illinois West Virginia and New York. Lucy Johnson married Patrick Nugent in a ceremony which was seven months in the planning. An estimated 55 million people watched the proceedings on television that he picked up the tab reputed as being a minimum of $75000 and a maximum of one hundred twenty five thousand dollars. Linda Bird Johnson managed to get by on $60000 including $5000 for food at $10 a head or mouth as the case may be a thousand dollars for the cake and a $500 fee for the minister.
Such a $60000 extravaganzas may seem a trifle expensive to some and certainly are not the usual fare but even ordinary weddings have many elements provided by several merchants. Professor Trebilcock notes the economic aspects of weddings today. One could make a hobby of collecting news stories and statistics about weddings since the news media seem to carry a continuous supply of phyla materials. However far out some of today's weddings tend to be the need for some form of ceremony remains deeply rooted and from the seeming need big business has grown. Anyone associated with weddings knows that the retail business in clothing flowers and jewelry certainly hold a forefront. But one must not forget the co-ordinate services such as hotel and restaurant facility rentals caterers and Braver's bakery shops travel agents luggage of in-doors tuxedo rental services and even the United States government. After all they get into the act of selling stamps for all those invitations. In
February 1970 the bridal market in the United States was estimated at 10 billion dollars. The bridal business is not a simple one. You simply do not just sell clothes and things to people. If you are engaged in this business you become aware of tradition. Many own families have traditions which need to be observed. Many ethnic groups have traditions which will be followed. Each religion has its say in what can be done as part of the wedding. Catholics the Protestants the Jewish people the Shinto religion each has something to say about the ceremony if it is held as a religious one. And if an interfaith marriage is about to be performed then of course the arrangements become even more complicated. Considering all these facets of a marriage ceremony today it seems no wonder that costs are high. But how high how much does an average wedding cost.
It has been estimated that an average of one thousand six hundred sixty six dollars is paid out for each wedding and that the average wedding gown cost is one hundred five dollars. This is simply an average because the people in the bridal business know that the girl who works for her living and whose family works for their livings is very apt to pay far more for her wedding gown than the daughter of very wealthy people. The daughter of very wealthy people will frequently wear the wedding gown her mother wore or her grandmother wore. And so the bridal business isn't very good in that particular area. But it's not unusual for a girl who works as a secretary to pay over 900 dollars for a wedding dress that she will wear just the one time. Some may choose the more expensive ceremony for this important day in their lives
as long as they know the options they are free to choose these costs but some do not know that less expensive gowns are available and if only worn ones is due or ability important. Wedding invitations may be printed on the best paper. But Will friends notice if a slightly cheaper quality of paper is used. Flowers may be provided by a local florist with complete service to reduce the worries of the bride and groom. But if moms are in season and a relative arranges flowers beautifully perhaps this might be more meaningful or even more important savings may be realized by comparing the costs of a wedding consultant who provides all services for a married ceremony reception and honeymoon with individual suppliers. Each community will vary but in some cases a package deal may save money provided all the details of a wedding were originally desired. Most important of all what this ceremony as short is five minutes in duration in some
places in perspective. Consider the importance of financial stability after the rice has been thrown. And don't sacrifice it for a picture perfect wedding. One of the oldest ceremonies and one which is a part of every life is that surrounding death funeral and burial comes often unannounced and unplanned. The relieved relatives or friends must arrange for simple or ornate ceremonies to mark the close of life. Closest relatives may find a special comfort in marking this point by a ceremony but they may also look back in horror at the costs of this commemoration. Funeral directors who provide counsel to those in grief are dealing with emotional consumers who are not deciding on the basis of economics. As
these consumers purchase goods and services from a funeral director. They may find satisfaction or be stripped of every cent many serve those in grief. With compassion and care charging only for required costs. But investigation by Ruth Harmer author of The High Cost of dying shows the other side of the picture. Right now I'm really I'm really but I don't buy it. Libretto for dancers working on projects created in in theaters and you go on to the next hearing is tell me about an experience he had had in Denver in the gun for the day when there is still some one of her students in Denver and got her involved in the case the woman was the woman's husband dies and that all things being had had no training of any I didn't know he was there to take her and he persuaded her to pay
at least twenty five hundred dollars for various women and really had very little money and a couple of hundred dollars here and got herself into this mess. Thank you. And for eight months. Meantime we undertake this like running into the body with stories to tell from the body which was made up and the funeral paid for is this frequent do funerals really cost this much. Ruth Palmer suggests an average figure but draws certain conclusions about its meaning. Just what is average in every thing a hundred thousand dollars for a funeral and you know all the burial things to go with us. I think that it's very difficult to say because a fifteen hundred dollar figure with Sidney Marco is killed now and would exceed it in some say
again in 1963 or it is not terribly needy because that is. Go for county city and say. That I'm sorry I let you go and fight fight fight off. Yes. Why do funerals cost so much. What is included in this ceremony. Elements vary from religion to religion and from state to state but actual requirements for funerals are minimal compared to the usual list presented by a funeral director. Jessica Mitford author of The American Way of Death notes the misconceptions that are most common. For example most people believe an undertaker's home for the family that it is a requirement of the law but the thought of a peace that the next number of climates and I'd say that's one thing the other thing is that
no business of cremation and burial the crematory would have you believe physicists in order to have a coffin or comic it's a safe coalition and all the cremated. Again this is merely a regulation of the crematory innocence the law. No one relating to two burial. There's a limited set of federal regulations. A few months in which the coffin is in case the force there is. I guess I'm not it is not the law anyway. You can even prefer any competent point of view. After thing it leaves her in that phase where a rectangular concrete. I do not. OK that fade away the end of the wooden coffin. Ruth Harmer agree that the consumer in the midst of bereavement is often deluded shouting No hate fun if you don't mean
nothing. Fired in any way there is no you know in this case about half of it and this is representing a phone that they have had the free falling because usually because of Mario Kart they stared out at the same time I feel everything after that. This is represented and I think that the announced cards for various services are also represent the average deal for all that time. That's $150 less This is than sorry really I think I said that I think I was on the Oddly enough to be a very hollow lifeline. Even the properties of goods sold are misrepresented or caskets are
offered to preserve the memory picture created by the staff at the funeral home. Jessica Mitford outlines these tactics. You can't get anybody to believe that the law of the field. I think probably it's all in the realm of sending them if they intercept a friendly face. But does the casket preserve the body. And if they voted it down because the kind of involving the fact that America is not taken for its preservation is not intended as a problem was to preserve the pontiff. It's actually meant to preserve the body a few days of the funeral. It can be right there restore it if they call themselves and they didn't. Remember if the phrase corn fried tempi are they
still in the crate. But the fact is that nobody in farming. Not for profit. But they get a far greater degree of facts. They often call. Such discussion of the burial of a body may tend to turn the stomach of the consumer and horrify a widow. But the facts of death do bring a need for certain knowledge rather than emotion as a guide. Jessica Mitford talked with Dr. Jessie car professor of pathology at the University of California Medical School. She learned that any buried body rapidly begins a process of decomposition and that no modern burial techniques counteract this to any extent.
Within a period of a few months even in a well-lined casket extensive decay will occur. But such facts are not considered by the consumer who buys an ornate casket. He is acting on the basis of his grief. And here is the crux of the issue. Jessica made for describes the pitfalls which entrap the unwary consumer involved in the situation of death itself. Most people there is the average according to the undertaker them since they only shop for a few rolls that will be once every 15 years and they have pretty much force you need to know where you can consult people and that is one thing. See the funeral consul general of the media in grief stricken and get it over with quickly as possible. Factor is that the Federal Council member securely Is it the widow of the breadwinner. Frequently has a large amount of cash available more than you normally would because of the
Union death benefit. Again the undertaker's a very prime position to get away with. For Ruth farmer speaks out for the consumer and asked that he not be bullied in a moment of weakness. She cautions listeners Well you know the there there is one of the problems in any case if there is really a theory that this is a different type of Staff I think that's something that's been inundated by the fact that since that first market to a room that many hundred dollars are for sale and dollars it's ridiculous thinking. I am here to answer that. All anybody is very very funny
and I think that you know operate anything and the first. Time i do we have to realize that that money is not going to be feeling you know in a you know most of us really I think. Thank you. Yeah they have it every Friday. Thank you for it. I think you know. The strains of the organ at the time of a funeral but economics
prevail here and organise must be paid. Flowers seem a part of today's funeral ceremony but florists must be paid. Consumers ask what is included in a funeral. I'm really quite a loss. What do you mean a complete service for my husband. What do you suggest. Well Mrs. Howard our standard prize for this beautiful casket also covers the removal of your husband's body to our funeral home here and eventual transportation to the place of rest. We also will restore your husband's appearance by various embalming and cosmetic techniques and provide our full facilities here for visiting hours later this week. I will be happy to obtain burial permits and death certificate transcripts so you will not need to be bothered with these details. I will also handle obituary notices placed in the local papers. And schedule the church services which you preferred.
You will probably want to make your own agreement with the forest but I would be happy to set out these displays which I received here and of course will provide the vehicles for you and the immediate family in the crypt of the cemetery. So you see this price is far more than a casket along. Well this seems to be a complete service. All of these elements of a modern funeral do not have their part in a longstanding tradition in this century alone many aspects of funerals have been modified greatly. Jessica Mitford notes some of these changes as they also try to play upon the conservatism unfaithful on the faces of a few are old enough to know if they want to make a big store for Magic's less privacy and all they really want to do is to get it over with in such a way that the family and neighbors will not be offended and so on. If it is in fact the
creation of the undertaker's an open casket for instance I had opted not to come. And only actors in this country and the friend of the century. I mean there really a tradition over here involving with phone and not just in the US Civil War. And receives applause by the undertakers of course if I did. Actually there's another thing about the system so cold. For example in England after the onus the end of a cremation result an affront on privacy. In fact I consider this a terrible thing. By the way the first offense in the eyes of the populace and several experts in the US and the service there were literate also thinks not. They start to feel sympathy. When they entered the concept of fair giving them that
office and the only thing to set up they could make it easy to see I think if it were a funeral to face the murder of said they did not then think this is completed. Yet another choice is open to many. Often medical schools would like to ask for the donation of portions of the body to use to help the living. Commonly requests are made for eyes hearts and other segments of the body. Some schools welcome the entire body of the deceased and have devised legal means for the relatives or the deceit and to make such arrangements. State laws for bequeathing your body to science may vary but in most states such a choice is available. However many consumers will feel most comfortable in the choice of a funeral and burial of the deceased as they consider the options for services in this area. They may wonder who can help them. Jessica Mitford was asked to suggest a source of assistance.
It isn't breaking rules and in this country all funeral and memorial right is needed basically consumer groups that get a sense of protecting people from the SAS. You know not read very many of them have in fact come play with one of the fakers in the in the locale or say to provide a reasonable name and you might say in a first for a reasonable sum of money a lot of us please contact is this isn't right. Maybe 100 hundred fifty dollars I'm generally advocating for that fun thing but for people who don't belong to these that is all they don't want to think about a way it seems to be evidence that that's one of the companies by a passionate software that could be a lawyer could be a minute until the friends who will help steer the nurses to the No. If you have a fake ID that is not preferable to the proof going in there
I think for many such funeral societies are members of the continental Association a funeral and memorial societies. Individual members of these groups receive detailed information about state requirements for burial costs of local funeral homes and special arrangements that are available. Membership is not time consuming but only an assurance of assistance at the time of need. Consumers might find a greater peace of mind with the advance planning of these societies to obtain dignity simplicity and economy in funerals. Planning in advance allows a consumer to consider his purchase on a rational intelligent basis. But buyers should still be aware. George Schaefer assistant attorney general for the state of Illinois notes a common ruse to sell cemetery plots well in advance of need.
Usually what happens is that the door to door a solicitor in a sale of monuments and headstones a memorial is selling the monument at a far larger or greater price than it would ordinarily be obtained from from a local reputable dealer. And he does so at a time when a person is to be relieved perhaps not thinking correctly and his sympathy is of course the greatest. His dramatic presentation is very pretty and very appealing and very persuasive. Another gimmick which is employed in this field is that the sale of cemetery lots in nonexistent cemeteries. We will take for instance an example where the man will go around and tell people that he as he is purchasing these this tract of ground. It is going to build a beautiful cemetery
with permanent care. And then he will go around from citizen to citizen selling these lots of tainting their names as he goes to use as references for the next prospect of customers. One thing that a person can always do to protect himself is deal with a local established funeral director and most of most funeral directors are and have a long standing reputation so consumers must also do comparative shopping and choose wisely. Even if thoughts are not yet clouded by great. Buyer beware still oh by word of the consumer shoppers search for information and protection to buy the best for the leaks. Our next
program compares the quality and quantity and which the consumer may pick. In either case still has warned buyer beware. This is the national educational radio network.
Buyer beware
Episode Number
Standing on Ceremony
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/500-vh5chg6v).
No description available
Consumer Affairs and Advocacy
Media type
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 71-8-10 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:30:00?
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “Buyer beware; 10; Standing on Ceremony,” 1971-00-00, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed April 20, 2024,
MLA: “Buyer beware; 10; Standing on Ceremony.” 1971-00-00. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. April 20, 2024. <>.
APA: Buyer beware; 10; Standing on Ceremony. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from