A View From Middle England - Conservative with a slight libertarian touch - For Christian charity and traditional belief - Free Enterprise NOT Covert Corporatism

Friday, October 30, 2009

Wal-Mart starts selling coffins

Wal-Mart doesn't miss a trick. They've reckoned that, as everybody eventually dies, selling coffins is not a bad idea. Even if they got a tiny fraction of the deceased people's purchasing power, that would produce a tidy sum.

I've had a look at these coffins. Actually, they're not coffins but the far more grandiose caskets that Americans have come to cherish. These are the satin-lined plush interiored things that open halfway so you can get a peek of the dead relative or friend as you pay your last respects. These weighty things make for better profits but they are hellish for pallbearers. If fact in most cases they give up trying to lift them. No, these things are usually wheeled in on a folding trolley, many times looking as if trolley and casket are going to come to grief in some way.

I favour coffins over caskets. But Wal-Mart won't be selling coffins. Far too deathlike for their liking. The casket seems to be a more sanitised way of coping with death. I was told once of a good Anglo-Catholic church in America that wanted a funeral with pallbearers carrying the coffin shoulder high into the church. The priest was being fobbed off with a fancy casket. He wanted this parishioner to have a nice oak coffin. Nothing doing. So he went on the internet and found a Jewish coffin maker in California, many miles away, who had just the right thing. With a bit of redecoration the wooden coffin did the job and he was able to escort the deceased into church, shoulder high with pallbearers in attendance.

Wal-Mart may well sell quite a few. On the other hand, if you don't buy your casket from a fancy funeral director, are you expected to arrange your own Wal-Mart funeral? Maybe, but don't be late for it!


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