Ultimate consumerism

I’m reading Final Rights: Reclaiming the American Way of Death by our own dear Joshua Slocum and Lisa Carlson. It’s very good and very infuriating.

The situation is the totally familiar one of an industry straining every nerve and pulling every string to winkle more dollars out of other people’s pockets into its own, but in a context where doing so allows a lot of really nasty forms of manipulation – like creating a bogus “requirement” to view the body and then saying “wouldn’t you prefer to see her in an upgraded” vastly more expensive box?

There’s a weird strain of hilarity behind the whole thing – the basic idea of buying an expensive box that’s going to be buried in the ground. There’s one quoted item of PR-speak that refers to the body “nestling” in whatever it is. Nestling?

One thing I didn’t know is that in most places there are a lot more funeral outfits than are needed, and given that there’s no legitimate way to expand the market, the only way to survive is to inflate the prices. With shoes or hamburgers or phones, you can just market the bejeezis out of them and sell more and more and more, but there’s no way to sell more and more and more burials.

Maybe they should consider that. Reburial every few years, just like getting new appliances and granite counter tops. The living room looks a little dull and drab, time for new curtains and a lick of paint. Same thing with the ancestors.

Exctract here.

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