Rumor: Business offers fake mourners for funerals

Worried about a funeral not having enough grieving attendees? One UK business has you covered.

TRUE

Rent-A-Mourner offers fake mourners for funerals

Funerals are sad enough affairs without worrying about whether enough anguished guests will show up to share the grief. To that end, Rent-A-Mourner, an Essex, UK-based business offers trained grievers who will attend any funeral — for a fee, of course.

Staff briefed on deceased

As the Sun, Telegraph and Inquisitr report, the Rent-A-Mourner service costs about $68 per mourner, each of whom commit to a two-hour shift. The actors are given a rundown of the deceased's life story so they can handle themselves upon questioning from other family members. Owner Ian Robertson tells the Sun, "Our staff will meet the client beforehand and agree to 'the story,' so our staff will either have known the deceased professionally or socially. They will be informed of the deceased's background, achievements, failures, etc. so they can converse with other mourners with confidence."

Not required to cry

Robertson says his business draws inspiration from Asian and Middle Eastern countries where he says hiring grievers is much more common. He notes that "the Middle Eastern way is to provide wailers — crying women — as opposed to the quiet, dignified methods we use." Robertson says his mourners aren't required to cry, but are more there to swell the number of attendees. According to a sales pitch on the business's website the service is for people who "need to increase visitor numbers or introduce new faces" at a funeral. Business is booming, Robertson says, claiming a 50 percent increase in bookings over last year, with 52 funeral schedulings this year.

Attention not 'what we expected'

Robertson's business has made headlines around the world, a development that may be a blessing to some companies, but for a service that stakes its name on discretion during emotional events, the attention has made for some problems. In an email to MSN News, Robertson announced his decision to stop doing interviews and added that "Our customers and potential customers are questioning how we can be discreet and personal when we are attracting world-wide attention. At this point we are not entirely sure how this attention will affect our business, but the initial feedback hasn’t been what we expected."

 

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