In Serbia, the business is booming. Across the street from Pancevo City Hospital there are two undertaker offices, clearly visible from patientâ€™s rooms. So that the relatives of a patient wouldnâ€™t have to search for one, if the need comes.
The competition in this business is fierce, like in any other. When a patient dies in a hospital the relatives will get a call from an undertaker, offering his services to the shocked family, in a matter of minutes after the loved one died. The undertakers have doctors and nurses on their paying lists; they are buying information about the deceased immediately after exitus letalis has been diagnosed. The competition is so brutal that in some cases the undertaker will call a patient’s family even before the poor one really died, which can have tragicomic implications. At the time when the official telegram from the hospital arrives, the fastest undertaker has long ago already booked a funeral.
I heard that in some other small Serbian city two undertakers also have their offices in the same street. The stores are facing each other, and big shop windows are full of different articles. In order to attract customers to his shop one of them has among black pillows and silk cloths displayed a small childâ€™s coffin. About 60cm long. And in white, of course.
Take a look at this post from Kiklop Nandor’s Blog: Stone cutter’s business card on graves in Pancevo Cemetery (or “What do you wait for, order a tombstone”).
On the picture is an advertisement for a funerals band in the old Zemun’s cemetery, Belgrade. Everybody is invited to pluck off a small excerpt with a telephone number.