Costco is truly a paradise for deal-hunters, offering low prices on everything from grocery staples to furniture, toilet seats, wireless earphones — and even caskets.
Talk about a store that covers the breadth of human experience.
Costco, for the uninitiated, is truly a rare kind of American retailer. It has such a dedicated community of loyalists who track the ongoing changes in its product mix, as well as the arrival of new deals, that multiple blogs and social media accounts have sprung up to follow it all. As for me, I thought I had a good handle on the chain’s value proposition and what it offered. Until now, that is, upon learning that the chain also sells funeral caskets.
And the other important thing to note about the caskets that you can buy from Costco? Per federal law, funeral homes have to accept them. You don’t have to feel compelled to pay a funeral home’s exorbitant price, in other words, just because you’re there.
Caskets for sale
For those of you who want to take advantage of Costco’s lower prices in this regard, here’s the key legalese about this, directly from the Federal Trade Commission (which you can read about in more detail right here):
“The funeral provider cannot refuse to handle a casket or urn you bought online, at a local casket store, or somewhere else — or charge you a fee to do it. The funeral home cannot require you to be there when the casket or urn is delivered to them.”
This is the Reddit thread in question that alerted me to the fact that, yes, you can actually buy caskets at Costco (as you can also see from the image above from Costco’s website). I particularly appreciated the matter-of-factness in one particular comment attached to that Costco casket thread: “I ordered one 2 years ago and put it in storage. I’m 50 but it was such a good Black Friday deal, couldn’t pass it up.”
Replied another commenter: “Well god willing you have Halloween decorations covered for a few years. You can even store Christmas decorations inside to save space!”
Costco’s Kirkland Signature products
As I said before, this store keeps finding ways to surprise me. Besides things like the fact that it sells caskets, its in-house brand of products is another.
I’ve written about the Costco Kirkland Signature brand before, but long story short: This is a significant part of the company’s business. Just a few years ago? The Wall Street Journal was reporting that around 25 percent of Costco’s $118.7 billion in annual sales came from Kirkland Signature products. Basically, the line offers generic versions of established products people can buy on the cheap.
However, here’s the secret that even casual Costco shoppers might not be aware of. Many Kirkland Signature products are actually generic versions made by the same companies behind the original.
Costco CEO Craig Jelinek has confirmed, for example, that Duracell actually makes the Kirkland Signature alkaline batteries available to Costco shoppers. Likewise, Huggies maker Kimberly-Clark also makes Kirkland Signature-branded diapers, while Kirkland Signature jelly beans are a product of — who else? — the popular Jelly Belly brand.