30 October 2015

Death Care Series

The aging baby boomers are moving into retirement like a tsunami and have the potential to negatively impact economic growth, straining the economy. Certain sectors will boom, such as pharmaceuticals, caskets, and bingo games, but overall, old folks slow down. Perhaps this will be the boomers' final legacy, sending the economy into a tailspin by merely getting old. Now that's ironic.

And speaking of caskets, the Death Care industry is poised to grow with this tsunami of Baby Boomers; however, the last hurrah of the Baby Boomer generation could be to morph this pretentious and fragile industry by merely getting back to funeral basics.

The American Way of Death Revisited by Jessica Mitford, 1996, Excerpts
First Publication 1963

A brief look backwards establishes that there is no resemblance between the funeral practices of today and those of even seventy-five to one hundred years ago, and that there is nothing in the “history of Western civilization” to support the thesis of continuity and gradual development of funeral customs. On the contrary, the salient features of the contemporary American funeral [beautification of the corpse, metal casket and vault, banks of store-bought flowers, the ubiquitous offices of the “funeral director”] are all of very recent vintage in this country, and each has been methodically designed and tailored to extract maximum profit for the trade.

Of all the changes in the funeral scene over the last decades, easily the most significant is the emergence of monopolies in what the trade is pleased to call the “death care” industry. Of the three publicly traded major players – Service Corporation International [SCI], the Loewen Group, and Stewart Enterprises – SCI, incorporated in 1984, is the undisputed giant.

10 May 2006, Form 10-Q
Over the long-term, we believe that our industry leadership, along with superior brand, reputation, financial strength and geographic reach, will result in expanded growth opportunities with the aging of the Baby Boom generation.


Famous Preserved Bodies
19 August 2010
So much of travel is about coming face to face with history. And in some cases, that can be more literal than most. Here are six earlier humans who have been preserved – through accident or intent – for us to meet hundreds (and thousands) of years later.

Wal-Mart starts selling coffins
30 Oct 2009
Prices range from a "Mom" or "Dad Remembered" steel coffin for $895 to a bronze model at $2,899. The retailer is allowing customers to plan ahead by paying for the caskets over 12 months for no interest. They can be dispatched within 48 hours. Catering for cradle-to-grave needs, Wal-Mart already sells everything from baby wear to engagement rings.

Artist: Paul Insect – Death by Consumerism

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