Drive through casket viewing

Nikki - posted on 04/18/2011 ( 38 moms have responded )

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A funeral parlour in the US is offering mourners an unusual way to pay their respects: a drive-by casket viewing service.

The parlour in Compton, southern California, lets mourners grieve through a bullet-proof glass chamber that is visible from the street.

Peggy Scott Adams, owner of the Robert L. Adams Mortuary funeral home, said the 3.6m drive-through is a unique feature that sets the business apart from other parlours, the Los Angeles Times reports.

"You can come by after work, you don't need to deal with parking, you can sign the book outside and the family knows that you paid your respects," said Scott Adams, whose parlour has been in business since 1974.

"It's a convenience thing."

Although handful of drive-through funeral parlours are known to operate throughout the US, with one in Chicago and another in Louisiana, Ms Adams believes hers is the only one in southern California.

Would you use this service? Is this taking convenience too far? is it disrespectful to the dead?

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Krista - posted on 04/18/2011

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I'm another one who thinks it's really damn rude. If you can't be arsed to find a parking spot and get out of your car to go in and pay your respects to the family, then they're obviously not that important to you and you should just stay the hell home. I would much rather receive a proper sympathy card in the mail, than know that some asshat signed a guest book outside, but couldn't be bothered to get out of their car and come give me their sympathies.

Amber - posted on 04/18/2011

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I think it kind of defeats the purpose of a viewing, right??

BUT, I think we need to think about where this is. It is in Compton, home of the most notorious gangs in the country. It is one of the most dangerous cities in the entire nation.

In gang life, a funeral is an easy place to pick off rival gang members because the are all congregated in one area. In that particular area, being able to "drive through" behind bullet proof glass might be the only way that they get to attend the funeral without being shot themselves.

Is it sad? Yep. But it might be their only option....which I think is probably even more sad and disturbing.

Charlie - posted on 04/18/2011

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That is just fucking rude , I would rather they didnt come at all , the whole point of going to a funeral is to pay your last respects ang I find it very hard to believe you can do it from a car ......

Mary - posted on 04/18/2011

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I was always raised with the belief that funerals are actually for the living, and not really for the decesased. After all - they are dead - so what the hell do they know or care about what's going on at their funeral?

A viewing is a time for those who are grieving to receive comfort and support from others. It is a time to express your sorrow for the one that has passed, and celebrate the difference they made in your life and the world around them through sharing stories or kind words about them with others whose lives they touched as well. It is an acknowledgement of the fact that they lived, and mattered. It is a time to offer comfort and condolences to those who will be most impacted by their absence.


Often times, funerals and viewings are attended by the friends and co-workers of the surviving family members, many of whom had never even met the deceased. Their attendance is not about paying last respects to the dead, but is solely an expression of concern, comfort and support for the bereaved.

A drive-by viewing eliminates all of this - there is no sharing or interacting. What the fuck is the point? And who in the hell would opt for this type of service?

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Vegemite - posted on 04/20/2011

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oh wow i wonder if you can also throw flowers, a condolence card and a frozen crock pot dinner out the car window for the dearly departed's immediate family as you drive past.

Jane - posted on 04/19/2011

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And one other thing: although I wouldn't bother with it, it's fine if that is what the deceased asked for or what the family wants. I have seen all sorts of things at funerals. The most recent surprise was at the memorial service for a friend his family first had a potlatch - they gave little things to everyone who was in attendance, Then, at the end of the funeral, they played the Beach Boys "California Girls." It wasn't the playing of the song that was the problem, it was that it was played on the pipe organ in traditional church pipe organ style. It was...different.

Jane - posted on 04/19/2011

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The father of an elementary school classmate back in the 1960's was supposedly the first person to have a drive-through viewing window in the world. It would have been located in the San Francisco Bay Area.

One thing I can say, having lived in California, if there is one place such a thing would be successful would be in the LA area. People live in their cars there and seem to think nothing of driving for two hours twice a day to work and back.

Personally I don't believe in viewings. I didn't have one for my husband and I won't authorize one for my parents when they go. I will tell my kids not to bother with it either. So, no, I would not use this service. The body is just what is left behind. It isn't the person that you knew and loved. I believe in celebrating a person's life, not their dead cast off.

Brittany - posted on 04/19/2011

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Oh wow, how dare we inconvenience ourselves to find a parking spot to pay a friend or loved one our final respects. Are they really serious? Are people really that lazy? I think it's nothing but disrespectful. Paying your last respects that way is a waste of time. You might as well not even show up.

Rosie - posted on 04/19/2011

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it's horribly distasteful. if the dead person wants this as their funeral then i guess so, i think it's a little stupid. what's the point of even going?

Kimberly - posted on 04/19/2011

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Ick. I think it sounds a little distasteful. Honor the dead and those they left behind, for goodness sakes, and show up for a proper funeral. And dress nicely, too. Flip flops are not allowed.

[deleted account]

It might be disrespectful to most, but it's not compulsory to have the service this way....if the family or the dead chose this as their option, then it is more disrespectful to ignore their wishes and do whatever is most convenient for you. Personally I would not want that for my funeral, but hey, if somebody chose to have it that way, who are we to decide what it is and isn't?

Veronique - posted on 04/19/2011

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It's a joke,right? Ok that is stupid. I'm sorry but the decease deserves a heck of a lot more then a drive by. I mean really, you're so busy in your life that you can't take an hour or so out of your day to pay respect to someone you knew.

Firebird - posted on 04/19/2011

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Something else came to me last night after I shut down my computer. Now I want the Grim Reaper to open my casket whenever someone drives by. =)

Amber - posted on 04/18/2011

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Now that was what I was looking for! Oh that was good! haha :) Literally laugh out loud good!

Firebird - posted on 04/18/2011

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I'll request that whoever does my arrangements makes a huge spectacle of it lol laser show, disco ball, my favourite music playing... maybe something by Slayer, no can-can girls though since I'M the one on display. Haha I couldn't imagine can-can girls dancing to Slayer anyway. Ooh and a mandatory donation box so my faithful will have to help pay for the light rentals.... oh oh oh a toll drive-through viewing! lol With those spiky things that pop your tires if you try to back out!

Amber - posted on 04/18/2011

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@ Joanna ~ I was preparing myself for something really crude. And by preparing, I mean getting excited. And then it wasn't that bad. Give me something better than that :)

Firebird - posted on 04/18/2011

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lol I apologize in advance because what I'm about to write may come across a crude... I so want to put that in my will! Drive-by viewing!

Lady Heather - posted on 04/18/2011

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Parking is a major problem at the funeral home on my street. The parking lot is TINY and other than that it's just street parking. Many people on my street have vehicles parked there already so there's not much left. It's just crazy every Friday (that's the most popular day for some reason).

Stifler's - posted on 04/18/2011

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Is parking seriously a problem at a funeral parlour? I've never been to a funeral with a viewing to tell the truth, I doubt I'd go through a drive through to view a dead person rather than park and walk in. Usually only close family is invited to view the body.

Dana - posted on 04/18/2011

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My first thoughts went right along with Amber's. Maybe this is a safe way for people to pay their respects at a gang members funeral.



Either way, I'm not actually bothered by this. It's not as if you have to use the service if you don't want to. And while I agree with Mary's post, wholeheartedly, because it's the way I was raised too...I also think it's really up to each individual (if they've prepared for their death) or their families.

Johnny - posted on 04/18/2011

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I went to an "invite-only" funeral. He was young and died of CF. It was an all-night dance party funeral. There was videos of him, open bar, everyone was encouraged to go into the DJ booth and speak about him between songs. He prepared the list himself and the family sent out the invites. He was a relatively well-known local promoter/photographer and I guess they didn't want crashers. It couldn't have been a more fitting event. No food though. If I have one like that, I'd have to make sure food was provided.

...I wonder if my funeral coverage includes it?

Lady Heather - posted on 04/18/2011

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Now there's an idea - invites. Just so everyone knows where they stand before the big event.

Johnny - posted on 04/18/2011

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Send me an invite please Heather. I love Rockets.

If I wanted to be "viewed" after death, I'd donate my corpse to Bodyworlds.

Lady Heather - posted on 04/18/2011

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Well technically I want everything donated and my bones given to the SFU archaeology department to ensure my immortality so a casket viewing wouldn't work. I suppose the viewing could be of my skeleton. Maybe I'll request this in the event that my death occurs around Halloween. And the snacks will be Rockets (the Canadian kind), mini chocolate bars and those Halloween toffees in the orange wrapper.

Sal - posted on 04/18/2011

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amber that is a point i hadn;t even thought of here in small town australia we don;t have much of a gang problem but it does seem counter productive for the funeral home, if people were getting shot there there would be more bussiness for them, and in these tough times we got to take every chance we have, (only joking)

Sal - posted on 04/18/2011

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i'm a huge fan of the open casket anyway, but if it is imoprtant enough to see your poor departed i think getting out of the ca and taking a moment isn;t much to ask, i also heard that the open casket is making some what of a resurgence (according to the report that i was listening to) as (here in aus anyway not sure of other places) funeral directors are now limited to where they can add charges and what they can put profit on, so they are offering more open caskets to people who may never thought of doing it and then can charge for extras, i don;t know but taking to the chirch or where ever not sealed uses more petrol apparently, and closing it there is another charge....no open caskets for me, and i would like a biodegradable burrial pod and not to be too a natural burrial so no enabalming either..

Lady Heather - posted on 04/18/2011

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Maybe it's just because I live across the street from the funeral home, so it's never an inconvience for me (ha), but inconvenience such as parking are generally the last thing on my mind when I know someone who just died.

I think I'd be for this if the person being viewed had okayed it ahead of time (not always possible I guess). Personally I find it kind of humourous and wouldn't mind if people were viewing me like that. I'd want them to have milkshakes and popcorn though. Those are just better viewing snacks. They don't require much concentration.

Johnny - posted on 04/18/2011

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Aside from a couple Catholic funerals I've been to. And the Doukhobor funerals in my husband's culture, almost all those I've been to didn't have viewings at all. It's just not that common around here.

I have instructed my husband that although I will allow him to hold a Doukhobor ceremony for me if I pass before him (as Mary said, the funerals are more about the living, so if it comforts him...) I do not want my casket present. The idea gives me the heeby jeebies. Probably because I didn't grow up with things like that. Every open casket I've seen looked NOTHING like the person anyway. I couldn't even recognize his granny in her casket. They could have switched the bodies for all we knew.

If my husband pre-deceases me, I want just a boomin' party.

But the drive-thru idea appears to my twisted sense of humor. So if they open one here, I'd totally go for it. Just for kicks.

Krista - posted on 04/18/2011

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I never thought of it that way, Amber. That's actually a pretty good point.

Desiree - posted on 04/18/2011

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I am actually very glad that it is not customary to have viewings in South Africa. I know that my priest won't allow it at all. I would rather remember the dead as they were before being put in a coffin and dressed up.

Shannon - posted on 04/18/2011

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I know a few people that i would truly enjoy being able to just drive thru and pay respects just so i didn't have to deal with the family they left behind :-P However in general i find the entire thing a bit tacky and would not use the services, Due to the fact that i have a HUGE family we generally attend at least 3 funerals a year if not more... i am already at 4 for this year and have another to attend on Thursday of this week. One that i was at recently set my teeth on edge and i was so appalled at the behavior of the man's DAUGHTERS, that i was speechless. At the beginning of the service we are all sitting in the gallery waiting for the eulogy and the casket was not at the front of the room per usual, the daughters were in the customary "front row" each with a BEER ( hello???) and at 5 after 11 the one daughter stands up and says to the other "Where is dad?" the other daughter pops back with " oh you know dad he's late for everything" and THEN they funeral director wheels in the casket.... I was thinking WTF are these two smoking?? lol His other family members were astonished to say the least... these are th e type of people i would use the drive thru with lol crazy!

Bonnie - posted on 04/18/2011

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I find this very disrespectful, not just to the person in the casket, but to the family who is grieving.

Nikki - posted on 04/18/2011

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lmao Tracey, I wasn't going to admit that I pissed myself laughing when I first read it, I am one of those people who laughs at the most inappropriate moments.
I do think it's creepy and disrespectful too.

Sneaky - posted on 04/18/2011

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I'm sitting here grinning, but that might be because I am really tired. I'll come back tomorrow and see if it's still funny.

PS I think funny can be disrespectful to the dead - but then I know some people would really get a kick out of this too. Depends on the personality of the dead person I guess.

JuLeah - posted on 04/18/2011

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I have seen this. In some places you can order a burger and fries while you view

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