Friday, August 3, 2007

Great Deals on Coffins at Costco

The timing is a bit odd for me to have come across this story today. After all, I just had to buy a coffin for my father less than two weeks ago. Maybe that's why I am not put off by this story. In fact, I had to buy more than just a coffin, I had to pay for mortuary services and an entire funeral.

There are no Costco's that I know of in Argentina. Even if there are, they wouldn't be anywhere near where my father lived. Every time I asked my father for an address, it would be a succession of "at the intersection of this street and that street, just up the road from the gas station, turn right and look for a small shack past a column of red berry shrubs."

In the end, the coffin my father received was a plain pine box - humble, simple and totally unpretentious. All qualities my father lacked in life. In a way, I figured I'd make one last attempt to instill in him traits I thought might aid him getting past security at the pearly gates.

To some, selling coffins at Florida's Costco may seem tasteless and even opportunistic, but in a competitive, free market environment, even the Grim Reaper has to take advantage of demographic opportunities. See news article on Costco Coffins.

So, what's my point here? Well, for one, you'd better pick out your own coffin ahead of time, because you never really know what revenge your children will take if they have to buy one for you. And secondly, if you are going to go the cheap route and buy one at Costco, go ahead and kill two birds with one stone (pun intended), and buy yourself a whole palette of discounted Lysol All-purpose cleaner while you're at it. Aisle 12, I believe.


Barbara said...

I've noticed that too, that Costco has started selling coffins. There was a scandal of some kind, years ago, about mortuaries marking up caskets so high that families were going deeply into debt, after being "guilted" into making an emotional purchase of "only the best" for loved ones, without taking time to think it through. Now I understand there are laws requiring mortuaries to inform the bereaved that they can purchase caskets straight from the vendors.

Then there are "green burial" services in nature preserves, which sometimes don't involve a coffin at all:

Barbara said...

I meant to add this:

under "no casket required" -- but one must be Tibetan and living in Tibet (under Chinese occupation) in order to observe it.

Green burial standards in the US require at least a biodegradable coffin.

Marcel Cairo said...

Who knew that you were the coffin expert!

Thanks for the links, Barbara.

Barbara said...

Not an expert, just a sponge for such things. I happened across an article about sky burials a year or two ago. I'm always fascinated with anything to do with Tibet, for some reason.