With all the recent celebrity deaths in the news lately, our society has become a noticeably morbid place. Nothing really makes us feel mortal quite like finding out somebody you know, if only vicariously through a television screen, has checked out for good. Unfortunately for their families, many of these celebrities have a lot of loose ends that need to be taken care of, and many of us can be sympathetic to their plight.
You might think that death would absolve you of your worldly burdens, but in our materialistic society even how you go out costs money. Surprisingly, almost half of every funeral’s cost goes to the casket they put in the ground. Options like what kind of wood to use, what to line it with, and even adjustable bedding make our modern coffins much more than a pine box. To meet the demands of our mortal coil, the industry of casket retail more than fulfils our needs.
What is casket retail?
A funeral home provides many things, one of which is a large selection of coffins to choose from. What they don’t tell you is that their selection often represents a small fraction of what is available. Casket retailers can provide an alternative for a cautious person or their loved ones to choose from a wider selection with a relatively cheap delivery fee.
Casket retail popped up in the 90’s, and has proliferated as a popular alternative ever since, surviving attempts to legislate them out of existence. For the fiscally conservative, funeral homes provide simpler options for a few hundred dollars, and casket retailers simply do not offer anything below a grand. However, most of us prefer to send our loved ones off in style, and can afford to provide them with something a little more luxurious. This is where retailers come in handy.
Should I pick a retailer over the home?
In most cases, that is a resounding yes. These businesses can only exist because they provide a cheaper alternative, and many homes will capitalize on a families’ grief. Some funeral homes will try to charge you a “handling fee” or similar for an outside casket. This is an illegal practice, and you should report it if you encounter it.
Selling you on more effective sealants is also illegal under Federal Trade Commission laws. A retailer casket is exactly the same as a funeral home casket, and may have been manufactured by the same people.
Luckily, the casket retail business has forced funeral homes to charge more reasonably, and if you find their product is not much different from surrounding retailers, it is much more convenient to purchase at the mortuary. Sometimes a funeral home will cut you a discount if you have found a cheaper casket, in order to save their sale.
What are the benefits?
Firstly, there’s the price point. A solid oak casket can run for over $3,000 at a home, while a retailer can offer a similar product for less than half the price. The same is true for metal variants, and delivery will be around $300. Even with delivery, this amounts to a significant savings, and a mortuary cannot charge you extra to handle it.
Another factor is variety. Not only will you find more kinds and combinations of wood, steel and semi precious metals, you can find them in oversized or undersized variants easily. This can save a grieving family unneeded delay or attention.
Weirdly, things like refrigeration or high-end sound systems are also available. I say, to each his own, maybe you want to keep your Red Hot Chili Peppers pumping through some serious woofers in the afterlife.
Financing the casket is also an issue. Some private funeral homes require cash up front for products, but retailers will have many options to deal with a wider customer base. You can even order one online.
Are there any risks?
Buying anything comes with risks, and casket retail is no different. The big thing you should look for is delivery; some companies may deliver late or cause damage to a casket. Be sure to check the company’s reputation online or through their customers in your area before ordering, especially if you’re going for a high-end casket. Do not ask the funeral home, because they will almost certainly try to protect their business by convincing you to buy from them.
If there is some kind of problem however, a retailer will usually allow a return for unused caskets. You can also purchase one before it is actually needed, which will give you the chance to inspect the product.
Casket retailers provide a level of financial security for the lost and the loved alike. If the need arises, rest assured that this option helps protect families from unscrupulous mortuaries and help the deceased truly rest in peace.