Another quiet day comes and goes in the sales office. With customers so scarce, the staff passes time by kicking around ideas on how to promote business. One puts together informational packets to hand to customers when they do stroll in; another bones up on cemetery rules and regulations. KEZK-FM -- "Your Official At-Work Network Station" -- plays softly in the background. One of the salesmen pulls out a picture downloaded from the Internet that features a sexy young thing caressing a coffin. The coffin is actually a phone booth. His idea, which he intends to run by some yet-to-be-determined marketing guru at Anheuser-Busch, is to put these coffin phone booths in bars as a joint venture -- as if the brewery would really consider associating itself with this doleful enterprise -- to help promote the anti-bibulous Alert Cab concept. "You put a coffin in a bar, people will talk about it," he remarks. Suddenly a short, sweaty fellow appears at the door. He steps into the air-conditioning. A customer. No, turns out he only wants to look at the phone book. The salespeople go back to their busywork, knowing that when you're selling a product most folks don't want to think about, you can't expect a queue of customers pressing... More >>>
By Jennifer Silverberg
Abbey Direct Casket Outlet's Brentwood showroom. According to Lisa Carlson, director of the Funeral Consumers Alliance, "The boomer generation is an information generation, and, unlike their parents, they are shopping around."