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Author: Subject: Wal-Mart starts selling caskets, urns online

Zen Peach





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  posted on 10/29/2009 at 12:27 PM
WTF!


By EMILY FREDRIX, AP
Thu Oct 29, 12:18 PM EDT

The world's largest retailer wants to keep its customers even after they die.

Wal-Mart has started selling caskets on its Web site at prices that undercut many funeral homes, long the major seller of caskets.

The move follows a similar one by discount rival Costco, which also sells caskets on its site.

Wal-Mart quietly put up about 15 caskets and dozens of urns on its Web site last week.

Prices range from $999 for models like "Dad Remembered" and "Mom Remembered" steel caskets to the mid-level $1,699 "Executive Privilege." All are less than $2,000, except for the Sienna Bronze Casket, which sells for $3,199.

Caskets ship within 48 hours. Federal law requires funeral homes to accept third-party caskets. Returns are not accepted, the company says on its site, unless the product has been damaged during shipping.

The caskets come from Star Legacy Funeral Network, Inc., a company based in McHenry, Ill., that sells the same caskets for about the same price some less on its site, along with many others.

Star Legacy CEO Rick Obadiah said the response in the first week has been better than the company or Wal-Mart expected, though he declined to give specifics. A spokesman for Walmart.com also declined to release sales figures and downplayed the venture.

"Several online retailers offer this category on their sites," spokesman Ravi Jariwala wrote in an e-mail. "We are simply conducting a limited beta test to understand customer response."

But Obadiah said it is not simply a test. He said more than 200 Star Legacy products, including pet urns and memorial jewelry, and eventually about two dozen caskets, will be sold at walmart.com. The company also supplies similar types of products to online retailer Overstock.com and urns to CostCo's Web site.

Other parts of the Wal-Mart empire also sell funeral wares. The company's samsclub.com site sells casket floral arrangements for about $300.

Part of the business model is to get people to plan ahead: Walmart.com is allowing people to pay for the caskets over a period of 12 months for no interest.

The move gives more power to consumers and helps them avoid high mark-ups on caskets, which can often be several hundred percent, said R. Brian Burkhardt, a funeral director who blogs as "Your Funeral Guy."

"You can get a quality casket for $1,000 rather than pay $2,000, $3,000 or $5,000 in a funeral home. That's where it helps the consumer," he said.

The industry is not too concerned about Wal-Mart entering the market, said Pat Lynch, president-elect of the National Funeral Home Directors Association. Consumers have been able to buy caskets online and from other sources for years, with minimal effect on the business, he said.

Wal-Mart's prices for caskets don't differ greatly from those offered at funeral homes, most of which range from $500 to $5,000, Lynch said. He declined to give an average price, saying a casket selection is a personal one.

He said Wal-Mart can't offer one thing funeral directors do have: the ability to comfort someone during a trying time.

"There's no question in my mind as a funeral director for nearly 40 years that the most critical element is the human contact," he said.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

http://www.comcast.net/articles/finance/20091029/US.Walmart.Caskets/

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 10/29/2009 at 12:30 PM
It's all connected to the CFR and the swine flu, I'm sure...

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 10/29/2009 at 12:33 PM
not sold in stores?

http://www.walmart.com/search/search-ng.do?search_constraint=0&ic=48_0& amp;search_query=casket&Find.x=0&Find.y=0&Find=Find

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 10/29/2009 at 12:33 PM
Unbelievable.

 

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  posted on 10/29/2009 at 12:36 PM
caskets

http://www.walmart.com/search/search-ng.do?search_constraint=0&ic=48_0& amp;search_query=caskets&Find.x=24&Find.y=11&Find=Find


urns


http://www.walmart.com/search/search-ng.do?search_query=urns&search_con straint=0&ic=48_0&ref=



No pine box ?

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 10/29/2009 at 01:51 PM
The funeral industry has a semi-monopoly on caskets and other products and keeps the price artifically high. If Walmart wants to compete and people are willing to buy from them to save money that is nothing but a positive good.

 

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Universal Peach



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  posted on 10/29/2009 at 01:58 PM
quote:
Caskets ship within 48 hours. Federal law requires funeral homes to accept third-party caskets. Returns are not accepted, the company says on its site, unless the product has been damaged during shipping.



No returns???

 

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True Peach



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  posted on 10/29/2009 at 03:08 PM
This means they will probably start offering caskets with graphics, hell that rhymes. Souped up Headstones will be next......



"Wally AfterWorld"

[Edited on 10/29/2009 by rottinpeach]

 

Zen Peach



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  posted on 10/29/2009 at 03:11 PM
Three years ago my father's funeral cost $5,400. I just made pre-arrangements for Mom and the cost was $7,600. Prices are rising for a service none of us is going to escape. Good for Walmart and whoever else can help cut costs. I'm looking at urns on ebay.....a lot less expensive than the funeral hom.

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 10/29/2009 at 03:13 PM
There's a really cool company that takes cremains and incorporates them into glass art. Something different than the urns on the mantle.

 

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  posted on 10/29/2009 at 03:17 PM
There's one company that uses the cremains to create a coral reef. But it costs a small fortune. We have burial plots but I'm opting for cremation....I don't want some yahoo digging me up in a couple of thousand years and trying to figure out what I died from. I guess I've gotta stop watching the discovery channel.

 

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  posted on 10/29/2009 at 03:18 PM
I wonder if funeral homes would add on a surcharge/handling fee for any casket that was not purchased at their funeral home? If it cuts in to the funeral homes profits you can bet they will to keep you from saving at Walmart.

I agree Ann, it has become very expensive to bury a loved one. I am thinking on being cremated, then have my ashes scattered on a few bodies of water I have enjoyed during my life.

 

Zen Peach



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  posted on 10/29/2009 at 03:23 PM
I have a family member that is about 90% sure she is going to use these folks... http://www.memoryglass.com/

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 10/29/2009 at 03:29 PM
I checked out the website and the first thought that came to mind is I wouldn't want to end up sitting on the shelf in a thrift store somewhere while people picked me up wondering what the heck I was. And from some of the things I've seen in thrift stores, after two or three generations, it could happen.

 

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  posted on 10/29/2009 at 03:32 PM
They are trying to compete with Kiss.


 

Zen Peach



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  posted on 10/29/2009 at 03:34 PM
quote:
I checked out the website and the first thought that came to mind is I wouldn't want to end up sitting on the shelf in a thrift store somewhere while people picked me up wondering what the heck I was. And from some of the things I've seen in thrift stores, after two or three generations, it could happen.


You get more cynical all the time...

 

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  posted on 10/29/2009 at 03:36 PM
Is it just a coincidence that Wal-Mart came out with this just as the health care bill was presented? Can you say "death panels"? We have to find out just who in Congress has a lot of Wal-Mart stock.
 

Zen Peach



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  posted on 10/29/2009 at 03:46 PM
Try to imagine the "brainstorming" that birthed this idea....


"Hey! I've an idea. We sell a lot of Sh*t that kills people, right?...why don't we sell caskets too?"

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 10/29/2009 at 03:50 PM
quote:
Is it just a coincidence that Wal-Mart came out with this just as the health care bill was presented? Can you say "death panels"? We have to find out just who in Congress has a lot of Wal-Mart stock.


Well, with the upcoming end of the Baby Boomer generation, death is going to be big business here pretty soon.

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 10/29/2009 at 03:51 PM
You get more cynical all the time...

I suppose it comes from getting older....you cease to be amazed by what some people are capable of doing.

 

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  posted on 10/29/2009 at 04:23 PM
quote:
Try to imagine the "brainstorming" that birthed this idea....

"Hey! I've an idea. We sell a lot of Sh*t that kills people, right?...why don't we sell caskets too?"
ROTFLMAO!!!

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 10/29/2009 at 04:30 PM
Do they come in "Dirt Blanket Brown?"

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 10/29/2009 at 04:33 PM
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Do they come in "Dirt Blanket Brown?"
If not I'm pretty sure you can pick up some spraypaint in aisle 9.

 

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  posted on 10/29/2009 at 05:17 PM
quote:
quote:
Do they come in "Dirt Blanket Brown?"
If not I'm pretty sure you can pick up some spraypaint in aisle 9.


That just cracked me up!!!

 

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  posted on 10/29/2009 at 08:37 PM
I want to be burned and scattered.

I agree with dougron. Much as I dislike, WalMart the bastards that run the funeral homes need some competition. When my father passed, i already knew what headstones cost, as I'd had one put on my great, great grandmother's grave. When I saw what the owner of the funeral home and cemetery wanted for one, I checked and found out I could have one made at the same damn place a lot cheaper than they wanted, and the company would install it. But the cemetery owner said no one else could install in his cemetery, and if i bought it somewhere else, he'd charge to install it, making it cheaper to use him. Bastard.

 

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