Friday, October 30, 2009

Honey, when you go to Wal-Mart pick up some toilet paper and a casket for Mom.

Everybody's favorite stereotype.  
The funeral director as cheesy late-night infomercial salesman. 

Joining Costco in an effort to put individual funeral homes out of business give customers more choice Wal-Mart will now sell you a casket in your time of need.  (The comment section has the usual complaints about greedy funeral directors, yada yada yada.)  The caskets are made by a company called Star Legacy but I've never seen one so I don't know the quality.  I've seen some Costco caskets (Chinese made, I believe) that looked pretty chintzy to this professional eye, but I'm sure most families wouldn't know the difference.  That is until the handles start to pull out on the way to the graveside because the loved one is a bit hefty and the rivets used are third world shoddy.  This I have seen.

Anyway, the point is, and I've written about this before, is that yes the funeral home makes a lot of it's profit from the sale of merchandise.  Caskets, guest book packages, flowers, urns, etc., but nobody ever gives much thought to all the other services we provide.  I notice nobody ever complains about wedding planners and how expensive they are.  Basically, we do the same thing.  We plan and direct an event for your family that tells the world that your loved one's life had meaning.  I happen to think that's important, you may not want to cut into your inheritance.  That's your call to make.  The one difference between funeral directors and wedding planners is they get months to do their work, we get a few days.  But funeral directors are predators of emotionally vunerable people and wedding planners are providers of a joyous event.

So do what you want.  America's a great country.  Lots of choices.  But remember when it's two o'clock in the morning and your 300 pound father is dead on the bathroom floor, wedged between the the toilet and the tub, purging fluids and feces, hopefully your local funeral home will still be in business to come and pick him up.  If it isn't, call Wal-Mart or Costco.  Maybe they can send over a stock boy.


  1. High tech funerals:
    Better get with it Mr. Funeral guy.

  2. You must be mistaking me as the owner of the funeral home. But seriously, the owners have mentioned this. Funeral attendance for the lazy and the suitless. haha. I've also seen stuff on the video grave markers. Imagine getting harangued by your mother in perpetuity for not visiting enough. Oy vey.

  3. I gotta tell you FG, this is could be my kind of funeral service. No fuss, no muss. A couple of ghouls just show up in a discrete panel truck, remove the body and tidy up. Maybe spritz some Fabreze Hawaiian Aloha™ here and there (extra charge). Hey, they could sell the remains for shark chum (eco friendly!) for all I care, just as long as I don't know about it. Then, when I feel the need for a visit, I would just log in to the www and view some nicely chosen photoshopped pix of the decedent on the virtual gravesite. The possibilities are freakin' limitless.

  4. I would suggest doing a pre-need so you have that all in writing. Have fun trick or treating tonight, tbird. And watch out for cars.