Why Don’t We Use More Cheap Caskets Imported From China?

Image courtesy of Ben Dibble

Caskets: they’re boxes that we use for a funeral service and maybe a wake, then either stick in the ground or burn up. Why do we spend so much money on them? More importantly, why are 95% of all caskets used in the United States made in this country when everything from the device you’re using to read this post to the sweater I’m wearing right now was made in China?

There are two ways to look at this: it’s nice that the casket business hasn’t migrated offshore, keeping American manufacturing jobs in the important sector of corpse boxes. Yet the reasons why casket showrooms aren’t full of $400 Chinese versions of caskets that usually cost five times that much will make you want to put down the flag you’re waving.

Bloomberg Business profiled Jim Malamas, founder of Ace Funeral Products, a company that sells shipping containers full of caskets wholesale to funeral homes. The three companies that dominate the wholesale casket business in this country have sued distributors of foreign-made products, accusing Ace Funeral Products of stealing its designs.

While it’s easier, survivors aren’t limited to the selection in a local funeral home’s showroom. The FTC Funeral Rule gives us the right to purchase a casket from anywhere and have it shipped to the funeral home, whether you’re buying from Trappist monks or from Costco.

Rest in Peace for Less With Caskets Made in China [Bloomberg Business]

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