Proposed Consent Agreement In the Matter of Service Corporation International and Stewart Enterprises, Inc.; File No. 131-0163 #00020

Submission Number:
00020
Commenter:
Judith Turner
State:
District of Columbia
Initiative Name:
Proposed Consent Agreement In the Matter of Service Corporation International and Stewart Enterprises, Inc.; File No. 131-0163
I am writing to comment on the proposed merger of SCI and Stewart funeral homes and the attempt to avoid a monopoly in the Washington DC area by omitting Sagel funeral home from that merger. Currently the Funeral Practices Committee of Greater Washington has a contract with Hines Rinaldi funeral home that allows us to do most of the work in a funeral using Hines Rinaldi's facilities -- and keep the entire funeral religiously correct at a cost under $2000. I am a volunteer on a synagogue committee of people who prepare mets (bodies) according to Jewish law, so I am familiar with what is needed and how much we help grieving families. If the FTC's intention is to ensure that such services continue to be made available, it is going about it the wrong way. A solution that looks good on paper does not look good when we gather to pray over the body, wash and dress it, and put it in the appropriate coffin in accordance with laws and practices that go back nearly 5000 years. Sagel does not have the facilities to allow us to prepare the mets correctly. In essence, the FTC has allowed SCI to give up a sub-standard home (Sagel has not been a business success, and indeed has lost business in the past few years, I understand -- you would have a better way of verifying that) in return for a choke-hold on the funeral business in the Washington metropolitan area. It seems to me that rather than preventing monopolistic practices, the FTC is encouraging them. Surely you can find a better solution, FTC. Please try again. Thank you. --Judith Turner