For some reason today I went looking for an old friend on facebook. In the past few months I’ve reconnected with several people from past, some I have spoken to in as much as 27 years so I thought I’d try to find this girl I used to know. We exchanged an email or two about 6 years ago and then nothing. So I do my search and naturally, I don’t find her in the list… but then I see her name in the supplemental links at the bottom – in a link to her obituary.
I take this in and click the link, which takes me to the local newspaper and a brief excerpt from the obit. I click through, wanting to read the whole thing. And I’m taken to a page where I’m asked for money to make an online “memory book” active for a day, a year or a lifetime, and each at varying degrees of cost.
I’ve never seen this before and I find it repugnant! I can’t read an obituary unless I, or someone else, has paid for it: “By purchasing a Guest Book sponsorship, you’ll be giving loved ones a place to express their feelings and share memories any time they’d like in the months and years ahead.”
Are we that hard up that we need to charge for this? Regular articles can stay archived forever, available to anyone. Even if you have to pay for access to a newspaper’s archives, that price is for the COMPLETE archive, not for one 205 word article (Unless it’s academia, which is a whole ‘nother level of price-gouging hell)
Am I insane? Am I wrong? I just don’t understand profiteering on someone’s loss, just because you can. Find some humanity, people!