Thursday, January 20, 2011

Walmart to Offer Funeral Home Services


Walmart to Offer Funeral Home Services

By Bill Britton

Special to INS — Beginning next week, Walmart will offer funeral home services at 225 of its Supercenters. The Walmart slogan, “Save money. Live better,” will be altered at these locations to “Save money. Die stiffer.” Its motto “Always Low Prices” will be changed to “Eternally Low Prices.”

The locations of Walmart funeral outlets are scattered around the country, with concentrations in Florida and Arizona. Already, caravans of motor homes can be seen in Walmart parking lots to take advantage of Black-Light Specials featuring in-store packages starting at $500 for cremation at a municipal incinerator.

The Martha Stewart Infinity Series of services begins at $1,999 and ranges up to $14,999, depending on the options selected. These include facial reconstructions like YouthFace4You at $899, the Dolly Parton at $999, and the Private Presley at $1,999, among others. Clients can also be cryogenically preserved or have a life-size replica of themselves made at Madame Tussauds locations around the world, all at reduced prices.

Funeral sales desks will be found adjacent to the garden center area, where tie-in purchases of flowers and plants can be made. Viewing chapels will have a rotating altar with Christian, Jewish, and Buddhist themes. A Muslim theme might be added, depending on demand from the Mideast.

Scott Price, President and CEO, Walmart Asia, has negotiated with the Hongtai Casket Company of Nanjing, China to fabricate a line of jumbo caskets to accommodate its broad customer base. Price explained, “These will have ten lifting handles instead of the normal six, although it looks like ten will soon be the new normal in America. Of course they’ll be wider and have twin steel I-beams built into the bottom.”

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