If you follow Facebook, you may have seen the item on Costco selling coffins and burial urns in their stores. It seems that they started selling them in Australia in 2015, and are now adding them to stateside stores. Costco would not be expanding a product line if it wasn’t selling.
The display is well done – sort of like frying pans and rain gutters. But they seem to be placing it next to a barbeque display. That’s going a little too far in the minds of some folks. It has raised a huge number of comments, both positive and negative, and often hilarious. One comment referred to it as the ultimate example of impulse buying.
The display appears to contain small sample coffins, I assume to indicate what materials and styles are available. Not everyone seems to get this. There are a lot of comments about such things as insufficient leg room, etc. And then there are the basic questions, such as how one gets it home (tied to the roof of the car), and how one generally handles the whole process. Perhaps we need a book, “From Costco to Grave” with step by step instructions. But the prices are apparently low enough (thousands of dollars under funeral home coffins) that it is offering a viable option for some folk. They advertize that you can get a coffin for as low as around $899, and their urns start at $159. With most funeral home services running around $10,000, it certainly offers an option, if you can get the details worked out, which apparently people are doing.
Of course, the traditional funeral homes are turning over in their coffins. They are quick to point out all of the benefits one gets by working with a funeral home, assuming you have a fat credit limit on your charge card: body pick up, cosmology for viewing, flowers, dealing with clergy (no simple task), use of vehicles, etc. And if there is a cremation involved, each state has its own regulations around that. Some states allow a cardboard coffin to be used, which might leave Costco out of the picture.
I remember several decades ago funeral homes started renting expensive coffins for the service, and then transferring the deceased to an inexpensive coffin for burial. I haven’t heard of that in a long while, but it sort of has its place on the “tacky list”, along with silk flowers, electric candles, and recorded music. Of course, that’s just one person’s opinion – mine.
Things like death, and funerals, and burials, can be very emotionally loaded. And when you throw religion into the mix, you really have your hands full. The best option is to make plans early (nobody enjoys doing this), and let your loved ones know what you want. There’s no guarantee they will follow your wishes, but it’s still a big help to everyone.
See you at Costco.
September 1, 2022
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