Wal-Mart: The Big Box Store

In my house we cling to the quaint old habit of reading stories to each other from the newspaper.

“Hmmm…It says here that Wal-Mart’s now selling caskets.”

My wife Ann nearly did a Danny Thomas spit take. She knew what I was thinking.

“I swear to God if you buy me at coffin at WalMart I’m going to come back and haunt you.”

big box

We’ve had this conversation before. To me a box is a box and since I’d sort of prefer to be cremated putting me in an expensive piece of furniture seems like a terrible waste. I’d be OK with a cardboard container or a Hefty bag or something. It’s been made clear that is she goes before I do -which is statistically improbable- she expects the best of everything: beautiful coffin, well-appointed funeral home, harpist…

“You get mad at me because I won’t use coupons at Price Chopper. —and now you don’t want me to shop around for something expensive like a funeral?”

Cue the stare.

I don’t believe in ghosts, but just in case I’d better pay attention to her wishes. By the way —I wonder if you buy one of those coffins they can pack your other purchases inside? Shipping an empty box also seems wasteful.

25 thoughts on “Wal-Mart: The Big Box Store

  1. I’m with you on the cremation thing, but stick with the corrugated box. Although Hefty brand bags may be cheaper at Walmart, burning them releases toxins to the environment.

  2. If everyone keeps buying at Walmart in a few more years there will be no where else left to shop…Now its caskets and urns…so then in addition to hair and nails they will be offering mortuary services…and then all the privately owned funeral homes will be out of business…

  3. Rob – Great to read another entry. Did not know you were AE. I tease my husband about this topic, I tell him that if he is not nice I will bury him in a speedo, open casket. Now I am thinking that if I add to that the notion that I might use a Walmart casket (Tags still attached, of course) he will really wonder about his final tribute. He is nice person, so at least people will say nice things about him, regardless of his attire and “furniture”.

  4. Look, until the rest of the business world can follow a plan like Walmart and provide products at prices that are as low as theirs’, I have no problem with them offering more and more. As far as mortuary services go, the funeral business is a huge racket. The laws that are in place force you to use them no matter what you have decided to do with your remains when you die. Your only option to avoid them (as far as I know), is to donate your body to science – someplace like Albany Med. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if the funeral people would have their hands out even then to dispose of the body once the medical students have finished with it…..

  5. Just another industry that capitalizes on emotions. Babies, weddings, pets, funerals.

    Why wait? I tell my kids that when I get old and start to be too much of a burden to send me to China and sell me for parts.

    My only demand is that they get a good price.

    If you think it is crass, ask yourself how Mickey Mantle made it to the top of the list for a new liver?

  6. The world’s #1 retailer has really gone too far. Is there truly a demand for caskets at Walmart? Or is Walmart doing what it often does to run small businesses out of business — That is, flood the marketplace with cheap goods produced in China.

    Walmart you stink.

  7. Good for Wal-Mart. Who cares! You can buy caskets at Amazon and about a hundred other places online. I don’t shop at Wal-Mart because the place is overwhelming and disorganized. I get a weird vibe when I’m in there. But it’s really not any better to shop at Target, Home Depot, Lowe’s or any other big box store. They’re all the same and they’re all taking away from the local economy.

  8. Tina #6 (and all you others that seem to think WM is the salvation to our nation’s economy), the “business plan” you seem to think other businesses ought to follow involves outsourcing every imaginable job to underpaid Asians. This is what is largely responsible for killing off American businesses.

  9. Yeah, Walmart, talk to me about them, as well as my neighbors. I thought it was only me, but it turns out if you check your receipt when you leave (as they do not item price) you are charged more than you think. In addition, and this is the real neat part, you are often times charged for buying two of one item. Since it is worse than living hell to stand in line for 15 minutes to get your $3 back on a pack of garbage bags, you say OK, Ill deal with it, since I saved so much money….until you realize you didnt, because while you can buy a crappy pair of jeans for $11, you pay more than you would at Hannaford for groceries, and more than you would at other places for a lot of the other stuff.. Just because they say you save more doesnt mean you do. Their latest TV ad says the average family saves $3100 a year shopping there? Yeah, if you substituted regular meals with dog food, maybe, but that is statistically impossible, since the average family spends less than $6,000 a year on non-durable goods.

  10. I’d love to have Costco around here —because I’ve heard the meat department is good, not for the coffins.

  11. 0325, If I’m not mistaken, Walmart is in business to make money. The fact that American businesses are being “killed off” really has more to do with greedy Americans, not with outsourcing. I have a feeling Walmart will not be asking for a bailout, like so many American companies of late.

  12. Walmart will not be selling them in the stores, it is on-line only and started a week ago. Why should grieving families have to pay the huge markeups that they do from funeral homes? Walmart purchases the caskets from the same suppliers that funeral homes do. Once again due o voulume, caskets purchased from Walmart will be significantly cheaper. This is good news for the consumer.

  13. To #11 what u say is just not true. Wal-mart is cheaper than pc and hannaford on most items. We compare everytime we shop and find most of the time if not all of the time wal-mart is cheaper for most of the stuff we buy. We do buy our meats at pc and hannaford and look for sales also. We have found sometimes even when it is on sale at pc or hannaford its still cheaper at wal-mart. We save all receipts and a throughly comparision is done. I even keeep a notebook of what we buy regularly and wal- mart continues to beat both of them. Recently we have begun to shop at pc more again because they our local and do a lot of charity work in our area. The gas discount is nice also. One last thought everyone keeps complaining about the loss of local jobs because of wal-mart, look around you every mall is full of stores that aren’t locally owned. Target,home depot,lowes,bj’s, sam’s club,I could go on and on. If you really care about about the local economy get out and spend some money wherever you can locally, the employees in these businesses are locals!!!!

  14. I am not one of the sheeple who shops at Wal-Mart. My personal opinion: wrong on so many levels. That’s my choice. I agree with the statements made in comments 2, 8, 9 and 11, and I like to take only one shower a day and sleep well at night.

    My end of life plan? Burn me and scatter my ashes from the top of Whiteface Mountain.

  15. No fan of the company to be sure, and while I understand the contempt many people hold for Wal-Mart and can’t argue with the fact that they aren’t all that good for other businesses, nor do they treat their employees very well, please note that the Price Chopper has been just as enthusiastic in keeping their employees from becoming unionized as anybody.

    Regarding the consumer, many of the PC offers, offering “BOGO” deals on merchandise, have you paying an absurd amount for the one that you have to pay for, negating any real savings. As for the alleged collusion regarding Wegmans and PC about intruding on each other’s areas, that’s no public service to consumers in either area.

    All things considered, I much prefer shopping local, but I think it’s a mistake to think that just because somebody is local they automatically deserve our support. There are other factors involved, and certainly one of them is the act of giving back, and that’s an area in which PC’s aggressive support of local charities and organizations is in their favor and is greatly appreciated.

    While I suspect that the Golub’s won’t be hawking caskets anytime soon, neither would I bet that it wouldn’t happen at some point in time either.

  16. #18, Mickey, you’re still going to have to purchase a casket or container from somewhere, even if you’re cremated. New York State law mandates it. So, the cheaper the better, I say. And I’m sleeping quite well at night, thank you.

  17. “Ya Gotta Love it” shop local to most people IS the local Walmart! The big boxes did nothing wrong, they only responded to what America’s shoppers wanted. Inferior items, low price and no service. It did not start with Walmart either, PC put your local florist, druggist and pizza shop out of business! Oh and aren’t they great for what they do for charity. Ask any accountant, every donation these chains make is good PR and comes off the top. The company gets to choose who they give money to instead of giving it to the US Treasury in the form of corporate taxes. It’s smart business. If you shop in your locally owned and operated florist, druggist, gift store nearly 80% of the money stays right where you live and they are the ones who buy your ad in the program, sign at the ball field and you don’t even wave when you drive by them on your way to Walmart!!!

  18. Eye,

    Never forget the punk who outed you. Of course, that punk got promoted.

    Shows the inverse relationship between integrity and reward. The punk displayed the ethics of Bernie Madoff and got rewarded for it.

  19. Definitely support Big Business and NOT the locally owned funeral parlor. If you dont like the way the laws are “stacked” regarding the funeral industry – start talking to your local legislator as many of the laws surrounding filing of a death certificate, releasing remains, burial (or cremation) options, and cemetery regulations are set by State laws.

    and gee – how dare walmart ask for $ up front for a casket. That’s usually the chief complaint that I hear from a family member about a funeral parlor – they asked to be PAID!

  20. I completely agree with The Observer. Because of PC, so many local business’ have gone out of business. What about local fish markets also? Walmart is not a favorite, but they do fit the bill. How many low income people cannot afford funerals, etc.? My parents died nine months a part, and the cost of the exact same casket went from $5,600 to $6,400 in that time period, that’s just the casket. Social Security only gives the deceased family members approximately $600 so you do the math. In today’s economy, it’s unfortunately that we’re forced to make decisions we normally wouldn’t make, but thanks to our wonderful government, people beating the system of taxes and social services, the middle class will always pay. Time to start putting people that are on the various welfare programs, etc. through drug, alcohol testing and stopping all these pregnancies that keep widening their government intake for services we pay for.

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