Wal-Mart Peddles Coffins

Bloggers giggle at Wal-Mart's decision to sell discount caskets

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Ubiquitous discount paradise Walmart is now selling caskets in addition to digital pianos, tee shirts, paperback bodice-rippers and hunting bows. Bloggers are having a tough time covering this with a straight face, though most admit they're not, in principle, against online sales of burial accoutrements (Category: "For the Home"). Under headlines of "Discount Death," or riffs on Bruce Watson's brilliant parody of the Walmart slogan "Save Money, Die Better," writers are reacting to this move with tongue firmly planted in still-living cheek.


  • Good on Walmart  Karen De Coster at the Lew Rockwell blog admits she has "always disliked the high cost of a funeral." She almost gets through the post without a smirk. Not quite: She offers her readers a link to the site, advising them to "take a peak" if they "like getting their shopping done way ahead of time."
  • Business End May Not Work Out  Daily Finance's Bruce Watson points out that, while Walmart isn't the first to enter the discount casket market, one potential problem might be that "few people plan ahead for their funerals." That means that "the target market for Walmart's caskets would largely consist of bereaved survivors, who may be too upset to bargain shop." Watson acknowledges that many of the Walmart casket models are already sold out, but wonders if that might be "due to the fact that Halloween was this weekend." He sandwiches his comments in quips, with aforementioned headline "Save Money, Die Better" and a final comment about nails and coffins.
  • Recession Retail  24/7 Wall St.'s Douglas McIntyre starts with a reprimand to families who "won't pay the full $1,000 when a loved one dies," but says that, in a recession "[p]eople will shop for almost anything based on price." He does not quite manage to cover his distaste, although it's unclear if, in fact, he wants to: "Who could pass up the 'Pieta and Last Supper Steel Casket' for only $1,599 or the 'Dad Remembered Steel Casket' for $995? Does that come with free shipping?"
  • Always a Joke About Demographics  Tim Buckley's cartoon at CtrlAltDel keeps it short and sweet. "Walmart sells caskets now," says one figure to another. "That's weird." Actually, "it kind of makes sense if you think about it," the other responds. "I mean, Nascar fans die too, right?"
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