The declining death rate is leading to rising unemployment among grim reapers, with record numbers of the hooded angels of death being forced to 'sign on' at local job centres.
‘The reaping industry is dying on its feet,’ said Duncan D’Eath, President of the British Confederation of Reapers, ‘people may be enjoying longer lives but we, the hard working harbingers of death, are the ones who are forced to suffer.’
Experts say that the British reaping industry has been in decline for many years with a massive drop off in home deliveries. ‘Gone are the days when reapers could travel door-to-door ministering to the sick and elderly,’ said Mr D’Eath, ‘nowadays people go to hospital where they are reaped in-house. Even the terminally ill are choosing to travel abroad to be reaped at special clinics. It’s a dying shame.’
Reapers blame the downturn in their fortunes on advances in medical science. ‘People are being allowed to live longer and longer,’ said Mr D’Eath, ‘but really, what’s the point? All they ever seem to do is sit around watching Countdown and eating Werther’s Originals. It’s so bloody selfish.’
The deathly downturn has resulted in increasing numbers of reapers turning up at Job Centres to ‘sign on’. ‘It’s very difficult to find these guys work,’ said Jobcentre Advisor, Miss Kimberly Smalls, ‘they have a very specialised skill set and, in such a competitive jobs market, many employers are reluctant to take on a scythe wielding spectre of death.’
Some unemployed reapers, or ‘deathseekers’, have managed to find work by retraining as gardeners. ‘People often seem a bit anxious when they see me standing at the door,’ said one, ‘but when I tell them that I am here to cut their lawns they always seem very relieved. I think it must be my competitive rates.’
‘It isn't easy,’ said another especially grim reaper, ‘I have a dead wife and three little reapers to look after. You should see them in their hand-me-down hoodies, looking up at you with their pasty white faces and hollowed out eyes; they are little more than rags and bones.’
However, the plight of the reapers was met with short shrift from former Employment Secretary, Lord Tebbit: ‘My father was a reaper,’ he said, ‘when he couldn’t find work he didn’t complain. He got out his scythe and he looked for the old.’