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By: Steve K.
Sinai Memorial Chapels
Fortunately, experiencing the needs of a funeral home is not a daily routine, but unfortunately due to that, consumers don’t properly “shop” for their needs. If they did, they would find Sinai Memorial Chapel in Delray Beach, Florida to having the legendary allegiance of a Nordstrom’s, Wegman’s, or Amazon.com. I had a week of planning before my mother’s passing. At such an emotional time, almost anyone can easily fall for a “professional salesman” dressed in mortuary black, but who is no better than an aluminum siding shyster. You may fall victim to the “wow” effect of a high style building or simply embarrassed to question or negotiate pricing that you would easily do for any other multi-thousand dollar purchase. Like Wegman’s, Sinai is a family-owned business, except you are dealing personally with a family member directly and who treat you like family. Like a Nordstrom’s, service is first and foremost to running a successful business. The only difference is you get Nordstrom’s Rack- the same quality and service of a Nordstrom’s in a Boca-like mall, but the pricing and locale of a strip center. Once inside the building it’s all the same. And like Amazon.com, though you are buying on impulse, you are doing so intelligently and economically.Simply put it, here are the facts:•I “shopped” four funeral homes over a two-day period and by chance Sinai was last. Their overall price was less than half of the so-called leading corporate operation and still one third less than the lowest competitor. If you don’t think saving over $6000 (and that’s excluding the cemetery expenses) for likely the same services is not key, then I’m glad you are well off.•In two homes, no one would even speak with me. I was asked to make an appointment. Again, I had some leeway, but wasn’t afforded even a few quality moments (and it’s not like there was a service underway or upcoming). •After formally meeting with the other three, two of them made me feel like I was buying a car and you know what kind of experience that really is. I almost think that one of them was going to have me pay for undercoating on the casket.•Two of the four automatically directed me to higher priced caskets and Sinai and one other showed me all ends. It’s ironic how as a Jew you are suppose to be buried in a plain wood coffin, but some of these homes expect you to pay for a condo in the ground. Only Sinai did not make feel offended if I had decided to choose the lowest price coffin.•While their shopping center location seems unusual for a funeral home, then again who said the status quo was the only way to do business. Sure they don’t have a fancy free-standing palace (and somebody has to pay for that), but their exterior is pleasing enough and the interior exceeds anything you need for a consultation or the funeral service itself.•Finally, you can’t put a price on customer service and care. But if you can, then at the least double your cost savings. The Fischman’s treated me as both a consumer as if I were to give them business weekly and with the right amount of sympathy and empathy.•They were one of the two homes that got on the phone and negotiated with the only Jewish funeral home in our hometown for that end of the process. Sinai was the only business that even offered me other acceptable options.•Due to family squabbles Sinai’s pricing was adjusted evenly when we had to switch more tasks to the hometown home. By contrast the hometown biz priced us based on total spending.•Even as we spent less in the end with Sinai, they never wavered in the quality and compassion of their services. I think that says more about them than anything. At one of the worst times in your life, this is one decision you won’t regret.

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