View Full Version : Costco begining to sell CASKETS

08-18-2004, 12:01 AM
LINK (http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20040816/ap_on_bi_ge/costco_caskets)

Costco Begins Test Marketing Caskets

Mon Aug 16, 7:20 PM ET

By DON BABWIN, Associated Press Writer

CHICAGO - Whether you're in the market for a good night's sleep or the eternal kind, there's now a discount store somewhere that has you covered.

On Monday, Costco Wholesale Corp., better known for bulk chicken and cases of soda, started test marketing caskets along side mattresses at a North Side Chicago store and one in suburban Oak Brook.

"This is certainly something that can be an easy value," said Gina Bianche, a buyer in Costco's corporate office in Issaquah, Wash. "I don't want to say cheap value, but it just needs to be done."

Each of the six models from the Universal Casket Co., in colors including lilac and Neapolitan blue, is priced at $799.99, made of 18-gauge steel, considered medium weight for caskets, and can be delivered within 48 hours.

Caskets could already be purchased directly from manufacturers, in funeral supply stores and over the Internet, but big general merchandise stores had stayed away from selling caskets until now, said David Walkinshaw, a spokesman for the National Funeral Directors Association.

At a Costco on Chicago's north side, shoppers checking out the new casket kiosk Monday seemed to like the idea that the same store where they buy so many things for this life was branching into the after life.

"A casket at Costco, yeah, I think it's pretty bizarre," said Inga Barth, 53. She wondered about buying a casket with only a kiosk and small samples of the caskets' material to look over, though, saying, "When you go casket shopping, you want to see the whole thing."

That didn't trouble John Neuhaus.

"I want the adjustable bed and mattress for my neck," he joked, pointing to one of the features highlighted at the kiosk. After all, he said, "It says eternal rest."

Others liked the idea of being able to shop for the casket long before a loved one's death, a time when the survivors are distressed, under time constraints and may feel they are at the mercy of funeral homes.

"I remember my mom was supposed to get a plain pine box for my dad and she walked out with mahogany," said Gretchen Henninger.

When her mother later died and Henninger was left to deal with the funeral arrangements, "I felt I was being manipulated into feeling some emotion that would lead me to spend more money," she said. "Taking that away would be wonderful."

Those involved in arranging funerals were not as enthusiastic about discount retailers moving in on their business.

"If you take the casket out of the equation and the casket is purchased in a retail environment, then that portion of the funeral director's profit center will disappear and the funeral director must respond to that," said George Lemke, executive director of the Casket and Funeral Supply Association.

Asked if that meant raising prices, he replied: "That's entirely possible."

Costco is prepared for that, said Fred Elsner, general manager of the north side store. When casket buyers dial the phone number on the brochure, "We will put them in touch with funeral homes that are part of the program," he said.

The brochure says buyers can cut their overall funeral costs by more than 30 percent that way. But Lemke said the funeral home working with Costco might not be the one the family planned to deal with.

"If you are talking about going to a funeral home, 30, 40, 50 miles away, they (customers) might have an entirely different attitude," he said.

While caskets can costs several thousand dollars, some funeral homes do sell them for even less than Costco is charging, he said.

Walkinshaw, who also works as a funeral director in the Boston area, said he has caskets ranging from $350 to about $8,000. He also thinks Costco won't cut into the business of funeral homes.

"Other people have tried (selling caskets) and found out the public is real comfortable buying caskets from funeral directors," he said. "It's kind of one-stop shopping."

Bonnie Busch, vice president in Costco's Midwest division, hopes shoppers will make one more stop. "I hope they don't have any deaths in the family, but if they do I hope we can help people out," she said.

08-18-2004, 12:21 AM
I don't know about all of that....seems kind of creepy to me. Although, I do know I got the full court press to get a really, really expensive one when I was picking out my dad's. Promises of him flying straight to heaven or something like that...I remember thinking, "WTF?" It was ridiculous.

So...what? You go to Cosco for 3 cases of Dr. Pepper, a 5 gallon drum of ketchup and a casket. Couldn't be any worse than my usual--go to Wal-Mart for toothpaste, a gallon of Kilz, some socks, a chain saw, and an oil change.


08-18-2004, 12:23 AM
Imagine going through the checkout line with about four or five those and a chainsaw? Cash, Credit or Debit please...haha.

08-18-2004, 12:27 AM
Hey atleast there will be some competition out there for caskets. Bastards can stop overcharging!

08-18-2004, 12:32 AM
How much does a casket cost these days?

08-18-2004, 12:32 AM
a gallon of Kilz

Wtf is that?

08-18-2004, 12:56 AM
How much does a casket cost these days?

A *decent* one goes for about $2,000-$3,000. And I really, really am NOT trying to be racist in any way...they actually had some at the funeral home that were like fuschia, teal....and not in a classy way. I was looking for the rosary and the fuzzy hanging dice. Those were the only ones you could really find for less than $2K, and so tacky it was hard not to laugh. Even a plain old wooden box that they cremate people in was more than $1,000.

Kilz = wall primer for painting. It's good when you're going from a dark color to a light one....or if you have little kids (like mine) who like to color all over the walls in permanent markers. Covers it right up without having to use 10 coats of paint. :)

:lol :lol @ Pooh. A bulk package of Duck tape, a chainsaw, and a casket.

08-18-2004, 01:41 AM
Oh I know what that is...we just had to use some this past weekend on our walls. We actually went from a light color to a dark one...but actually...it was because we went from semi-gloss to satin and we needed to do that.

BTW...I didn't at all like the paint colors my mom and stepdad chose..but oh well.

08-18-2004, 01:48 AM
What ever happened to pine boxes?
I am gonna plan my own funeral and choose the cheapest box to put my body in. If they would allow cardboard, i'd take it.

08-18-2004, 09:41 AM
I'll just pic my casket from the box bin at the front of Sam's Club like everyone else. It's free and there's nothing like having "Delmonte" written all over your final resting spot.

Useruser666 :eyebrow

Hook Dem
08-18-2004, 11:17 AM
I always joke about them putting a lit cigarette in my mouth before closing the lid. The reply? " You'll burn up". WGAF? You're dead aren't you? Cheaper way of cremation! Maybe even throw in a gallon of gas.:rollin

Joe Chalupa
08-18-2004, 12:55 PM
I want to be buried in the fetal position so I'll be comfortable.