If you have ever had the unpleasant duty to bury a loved one, you know the gig. The somber funeral home representative has a respectful talk with the family about the deceased, who will do their hair and what will they wear to the hereafter. I have had this talk many times. Then comes the conversation about any burial insurance policies and money (have $5,000 to $10,000 handy) – which leads to vaults and caskets.
For vaults, it seems the differences between selections is a matter of water-tightness and air-tightness. I didn’t see a lot of differences in my recent trip. They are all thick and concrete, like a septic tank, more or less.
The water-tight point seems fairly logical. But when you are six feet underground, air-tightness goes without saying, doesn’t it?
For caskets, there are many options, from biodegradable to wood to sadly cheap to bizarrely expensive. There are simple metal boxes to really cool ones with tuck-and-roll interiors and elaborately ornate handles. I even saw a bullet-shaped Porsche-ish version to speed your remains to the next life.
And speaking of cars, the selling points for caskets are not unlike that of being in an automobile dealer.
“This one has an unlimited 5-year warranty,” said the man confidently tapping the lid.
I examined the casket briefly and said, “Once it’s in the ground, how would I ever know?”
He smiled and nodded. “There you go,” he said. I liked this fellow.
In the end – the real end – I have never seen or heard of anyone bringing a used casket back for faulty construction. In that respect, this is an industry with 100% satisfied customers – sort of.