Monday, December 8, 2008

Too broke to croak? Call Costco

Looking for a way to trim funeral expenses this holiday season? Need some serious savings on Fido's urn? Or next-day delivery on that copper-colored casket? Then call Costco.

You know we're in an economic downturn when Costco starts peddling funerals. No, this isn't a joke or a skit from Saturday Live. This is America 2008 where you just can't afford to die.

Like the Washington Post's we-watch-so-you-don't-have-to TV column, I present the bottom line on Costco's funeral supplies:
  • Currently, caskets can only be purchased from and shipped to addresses in the following states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. (Too bad, Marylanders and Virginians - no service for you).

  • A casket ordered for expedited delivery will arrive by 5 p.m. (your local time) the following day (Monday-Friday, excluding holidays). Unfortunately, expedited delivery is NOT available in all areas, so it's best to put Grandma on ice for a few days.

  • Acts of God, weather-related conditions and states of emergencies can delay delivery beyond the stated delivery parameters. In other words, be prepared to keep Grandma on the aforementioned ice for a couple of weeks, just in case.

  • will only accept returns of caskets due to freight or cosmetic damage from shipping. Can't change your mind, kids. Better agree on Mom's casket now because otherwise you've got one huge, creepy coffee table to fight over.

  • Most importantly, Costco wants you to know, and I quote here (including the capital letters): "THERE IS NO SCIENTIFIC OR OTHER EVIDENCE THAT ANY CASKET WITH A SEALING DEVICE WILL PRESERVE HUMAN REMAINS." Ashes to ashes, dust to dust - the ultimate act of God. Sorry, Costco offers no guarantee that in 2000 years, some inquisitive antropologist will be able to dig up your sorry ass.

I'm a big proponent of cheap funerals. I'd much rather see all that money go to some good cause - as the case may be.

But when it's time for me to leave this world, I hope my heirs won't be so desperate as to go funeral shopping at Costco. Instead, just give my body to science. It'll save you a pile of dough and hopefully do some good for this world, too.

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