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We're all death's customers eventually.
April 20, 2009 11:31 AM   Subscribe

With all of the economic strife in the world, the funeral industry is still going strong. There is a niche for all budgets these days, including the availability of coffins at Costco.

Former Hell's Angels can take their last ride in a hearse pulled by a Harley Davidson. The more fashion-conscious can go out in a burial shroud custom made by artist Marion Spadone. More and more environmentalists are investing in eco-funerals, though this option comes with its own complications.
posted by grapefruitmoon (55 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
I've already requested that my remains surreptitiously be fed to all of you at a MeFi meetup TBD.
posted by not_on_display at 11:40 AM on April 20, 2009


The eco-funeral article was ... unexpectedly funny. As the author admits. What I don't get is, why the cautionary tone about green funerals? It seems the problems they ran into where the result of poor planning. For example: she was actually surprised that a cardboard coffin resembled "an IKEA flat pack", and after being told they'd have to wait a few months for the soil to settle before they could plant a tree over their father's grave, they come back some time later and no one could remember where he'd been buried.

Her advice about green funerals is "I would definitely visit the site first, and get recommendations from other families about the site and its proprietor." Isn't this a good idea in general?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:50 AM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Excellent. I have directed my mother to the Costco page and suggested she go to the store itself so she can 'try a few on'. Wear some comfy sweats and pick out whatever you like!
posted by Turtles all the way down at 11:52 AM on April 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


In every army, there are the fallen.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:53 AM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


The "moss-lined woven willow nest" coffin from the eco funeral link sounds awesome - alas, googling is not turning up any pictures.
posted by saucysault at 11:54 AM on April 20, 2009


Ah, and for the record, I want my remains burned on a giant funeral pyre in front of a giant chocolate statue of my likeness. As the fire melts the chocolate and co-mingles with my ashes, it will be funneled through a series of pipes into waiting glasses, so that guests can drink me. Throughout, speakers will play "The Feast Never Ends" by IOSYS on continuous loop. And there will be guys on motorcycles leaping over my burning remains for your enjoyment. Order your seats now!
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:57 AM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Reading further, that is bizarre that in the UK un-embalmed bodies cannot be legally put on display for visitation. I'm glad that was not the case when I had a death in the family.
posted by saucysault at 11:57 AM on April 20, 2009


Shouldn't the Costco coffins come in a gigantic six-pack, with commensurate savings for buying in bulk?
posted by Western Infidels at 11:58 AM on April 20, 2009 [6 favorites]


There's always Body Worlds and Plastination! What'll you care if tons of museum-goers gawk at you; you're dead!
posted by not_on_display at 11:59 AM on April 20, 2009


From one of the casket descriptions on costco.com:

THERE IS NO SCIENTIFIC OR OTHER EVIDENCE THAT ANY CASKET WITH A SEALING DEVICE WILL PRESERVE HUMAN REMAINS

This is why I want a Viking funeral
posted by double block and bleed at 12:03 PM on April 20, 2009


He charges roughly $1,000 to rent a hardwood casket for a daylong viewing; a body is placed in a combustible container of cardboard or soft wood, and inserted into the rental coffin lined with fabric.

When I die everyone has my explicit permission to toss my carcass in a ditch to rot and go waste their money on something actually fun.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 12:04 PM on April 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


Western Infidels: "Shouldn't the Costco coffins come in a gigantic six-pack, with commensurate savings for buying in bulk?"

You'd think. At least advertise it as "The Final Bargain".
posted by Joe Beese at 12:05 PM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


The wicker coffin people also make furniture, natch.
posted by steef at 12:06 PM on April 20, 2009


I want a gigantic marble monument that says "LOOK UPON HIS WORKS AND SNARK. TOTALLY MEH."
posted by GuyZero at 12:07 PM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm most intrigued about the rental caskets as this was a plot point in Six Feet Under that at the time, under California state law, a casket couldn't be used once and then re-sold. Is this a state by state thing? Anyone know?
posted by grapefruitmoon at 12:08 PM on April 20, 2009


I've always loved multipurpose furniture that actually allows you to enjoy that outlay.
posted by Mitheral at 12:09 PM on April 20, 2009


Except for the crazy acquisitions made by Service Corporation International, everyone expects the cemetery and funeral home business to grow.
posted by Pants! at 12:11 PM on April 20, 2009


I want to be jewelry.
posted by padraigin at 12:12 PM on April 20, 2009


I didn't see a link for "a 6-foot hero, a keg, and a brick oven."
posted by uncleozzy at 12:18 PM on April 20, 2009


I've said it before, I'll say it again.

I want to be taken to deep interplanetary or interstellar space, converted to antimatter, and slammed back into Earth at about 0.999C. In a pinch, I'll accept just being hurled back to Earth at a speed high enough that my relativistic mass is approximately Jovian.

It's not like you really want to live in a world without me.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:27 PM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


The coffins at Costco are a great deal, but you hafta buy 'em shrinkwrapped in lots of 12.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:38 PM on April 20, 2009


When I go, I wanna take you all with me.
posted by The Whelk at 12:40 PM on April 20, 2009


Guess I should have read the comments, huh?
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:43 PM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


When I go, I wanna take you all with me.

Do you mean that in a sort of unhinged kamikaze sense, or in a modern-day, Egyptian pharohesque "I want to construct a giant tomb and force you all at spearpoint to stand around my coffin as dirt is shoveled on top of you" way?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:45 PM on April 20, 2009


The girl who had such an awful experience with the eco-funeral of her father.... I read the article and really didn't see where it was all that bad. Most of the mistakes made seemed to be mostly of their own making. What really irritated me more than anything though was that she called 'Six Feet Under' a tv 'comedy'. I don't know what that says about me, that her miscasting of a television show's genre made me want to yell at her. I don't care either. Six Feet Under was awesome.
posted by Bageena at 12:48 PM on April 20, 2009



Do you mean that in a sort of unhinged kamikaze sense, or in a modern-day, Egyptian pharohesque "I want to construct a giant tomb and force you all at spearpoint to stand around my coffin as dirt is shoveled on top of you" way?

More in a Roses Of Heilogabalus kinda way.
posted by The Whelk at 12:53 PM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


More in a Roses Of Heilogabalus kinda way.

I could deal with that.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:01 PM on April 20, 2009


Just as in young children's competitive events where everyone receives a ribbon regardless of final position in the race, I request the single word on my tombstone: Participant.
posted by digsrus at 1:10 PM on April 20, 2009 [5 favorites]


"One gentleman wanted to be remembered for comforting his grandchildren with ice cream, so, after the funeral, mourners were greeted by a man in a Good Humor truck, handing out frozen treats."

Heh. That's cute.
posted by lullaby at 1:12 PM on April 20, 2009


I want to have my corpse fired out of a circus cannon into an active volcano.

Basically, I want to put the "fun" back in "funeral".
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 1:13 PM on April 20, 2009


I want my remains cooked for consumption.

If they can make it a challlenge on Top Chef, all the better.

(Padma Lakshmi joke available on request)
posted by Joe Beese at 1:31 PM on April 20, 2009


"Look, we'll eat your mum. Then, if you feel a bit guilty about it afterwards, we can dig a grave and you can throw up into it."
posted by not_on_display at 1:33 PM on April 20, 2009


Every time you buy certain *risky* items at CostCo, they give you a discount on the coffin of your choice. Junk food, that giant trampoline... The goal is to get it for free!

On the other hand, at Sam's Club, the Platinum Lifetime membership comes with a free coffin- at no extra cost!
posted by metastability at 1:34 PM on April 20, 2009


Dave Barry once wrote that he couldn't wait until the Baby Boomers got into death. I think it's happening.
posted by lazydog at 1:36 PM on April 20, 2009


I like the PETA coffins. http://www.theoldpinebox.com/peta_coffins.html
posted by chance at 1:49 PM on April 20, 2009


Oops. Sorry.

PETA coffins
posted by chance at 1:50 PM on April 20, 2009


I can't afford to die.
posted by Elmore at 1:57 PM on April 20, 2009


Funny, I can't afford NOT to.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 2:43 PM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


For those who are both cheap and want to plan ahead, you can purchase a prepaid cremation and scattering-at-sea plan from the Neptune Society. (Their FAQ notes, in what may be my favorite FAQ answer ever, that "we were never asked to cease and desist business in Colorado by the regulatory authorities.")
posted by Kadin2048 at 3:33 PM on April 20, 2009


I have set aside a sum of money to sponsor, in perpetuity, a croquet tournament on the anniversary of my demise. There is funding for an open bar allotted. There are cash prizes awarded. The tournament victor also receives a trophy which is, of course, the urn containing my earthly remains.

I am very excited about this.
posted by leotrotsky at 4:13 PM on April 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Doonesbury, circa 1985:

Mark Slackmeyer: "It's three o'clock in the morning, and do you know where the children of the sixties are? Do you care? Dr. Dan Asher does, and as the baby boom's Boswell, he's back to give us the latest on everyone's favorite generation!"[...]

Doctor Dan: "You see, Mark, a truly cohesive generation only comes along once or twice a century. That's why the boomers will be tracked for the rest of their lives. This generation is like a great comet, blazing through the firmament, carrying with it a dream as boundless as the universe itself!"

MS: "Whew... How will we know when it's over?"

DD: "'Esquire' will run a piece on the hot new funeral homes."
posted by lysdexic at 6:26 PM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


My mum wants to be cremated and scattered to the winds.

My dad wants to be compresses into a diamond. My sister wants nothing to do with that, so I guess I get 'custody' and would be the one to pay to get it done.

Me? I want my body to go to science, if she'll have me.

/yeah, it's creepy when parents just-barely 60 start seriously talking about disposal
posted by porpoise at 8:52 PM on April 20, 2009


/yeah, it's creepy when parents just-barely 60 start seriously talking about disposal

Funny, I can deal with the "what to do with my body" chats (probably because I have VERY STRONG opinions on this that I have made clear to anyone involved in those decisions in terms of my own mortal remains), but when my mom started having me sign access papers to her safe deposit box and handed me copies of her will, THEN I got freaked out about her mortality.

I can kind of handle my *own* mortality, but my parents? You guys are planning to live forever, right?
posted by grapefruitmoon at 9:36 PM on April 20, 2009


Costco? I went to college there.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:08 PM on April 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


(probably because I have VERY STRONG opinions on this that I have made clear to anyone involved in those decisions in terms of my own mortal remains)

Always keep in mind that when your time comes, you're the only one in the room who doesn't get a vote on what to do with your body. If your family wishes to embalm you and lay your body out in the center of town for everyone to gawk at, that's entirely their choice. Don't mean to rain on any Viking parades.
posted by ColdChef at 4:59 AM on April 21, 2009


ColdChef: That is a good point. And yeah, while my feelings are strong, I figure if my relatives decide that they'd rather have me stuffed and put on display, well, I'll just haunt them from the afterlife ;)

My mama has a really good understanding of this after years as a nurse and, oddly, as a musician (she plays for a *lot* of funerals) and so has left it up to me that whatever I want to do with her is fine, since she will be, after all, dead. We have at least narrowed down her epitaph: "She always said her feet were killing her."
posted by grapefruitmoon at 8:38 AM on April 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


"She always said her feet were killing her."

That's just too awesome for words.
posted by ColdChef at 9:34 AM on April 21, 2009


On a sad and personal note: I kind of wish my dad had related to me before he died what he wanted done with his body after he was done using it.
posted by Severian at 9:26 AM on April 22, 2009


I said that I want a Viking funeral, not that I expect one.

I've let my wife and family know that I'm fine with going the cheapest way that they are comfortable with. I know that the undertaker has kids to feed but I don't want my family to go to great expense to dispose of my body.
posted by double block and bleed at 10:15 AM on April 22, 2009


My wife and I both want to be turned into diamonds after we die. From what I understand, that means you go through the cremation process first and then they compress a small amount of your ashes to make however many diamonds wanted, and then they store the rest should people want more. Whether she goes first or I go first, we both want our bodies disposed of this way because we would like to be able to stay close even after one of us passes. Down the road, I'd like to think that I have creative children and creative grandchildren who create or have created elaborate jewelry that contains the diamonds of multiple loved ones. Like a ring with one of me and one of Tara (my wife) in the setting that would go to our daughter, should we ever have one. Is that morbid?
posted by Bageena at 1:43 PM on April 22, 2009 [4 favorites]


Is that morbid?

Only if the diamonds are used to tip the teeth of a chainsaw. Wait, no, not morbid - AWESOME.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:14 PM on April 22, 2009


I know that the undertaker has kids to feed but I don't want my family to go to great expense to dispose of my body.

Oh, c'mon man! Think of the children! Have you not seen ColdChef's Flickr? Can you look into those big beautiful eyes and tell those children that Santa is only bringing used crayons this year because SOMEBODY wanted a cardboard casket?
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:11 PM on April 22, 2009


I know that the undertaker has kids to feed but I don't want my family to go to great expense to dispose of my body.

You seem to be missing the obvious solution: let the undertaker's kids eat your body.
posted by ColdChef at 4:10 PM on April 22, 2009 [6 favorites]


ColdChef: "53I know that the undertaker has kids to feed but I don't want my family to go to great expense to dispose of my body.

You seem to be missing the obvious solution: let the undertaker's kids eat your body.
"

Now that's what I call out of the box thinking!
posted by double block and bleed at 4:10 AM on April 23, 2009


“Here in Marin County, the yacht club is church,” Mr. Hast says.

I call bull. I worked at two mortuaries in Marin county. And church, more often than not, was the local Catholic one.
posted by ericales at 6:22 PM on April 23, 2009


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