Worried that not enough people will show up your funeral? Let Rent-A-Mourner help. The ingenious and aptly-named company allows concerned parties to pay for professional grievers to fill a funeral home and make sure that the deceased gets a fitting and extremely well-attended sendoff.
For approximately $68 a head, the U.K.-based business will send “professional, polite, well dressed individuals” to attend your funeral or wake, and will weep, wail and generally appear sad about the passing of whatever person happens to be filling the casket for about two hours. Rent-A-Mourner promises that your paid grievers will be “discreet” and “professional,” according to its website.
To ensure that the hired help fit in with non-paid mourners, before the funeral the actors are briefed about the life of the deceased. This allows them to mix and mingle with other funeral-goers as if they had been friends, according to the company. “We will take your guidance on how you would like us to integrate and mix with your other guests,” the website states. Who uses these services? According the firm’s website, “We are typically invited to help increase visitors to funerals where there may be a low turnout expected” — often due to the euphemistic “popularity issue” or the more pragmatic “being new to an area.” While the practice may seem crass to some, in other parts of the world it is standard practice, including some African countries, China and the Middle East, where professional mourners frequently attend funerals.