Aug

13

highgate cemetary, LondonGreat to know that even at death, they take your life blood away. Vic

Bury monopolists.

13 August 2010

Editor, USA Today

Dear Editor:

Kudos to Scott Bullock, Jeff Rowes, and their colleagues at the Institute for Justice for defending the right of monks at St. Joseph Abbey in Louisiana to sell caskets– and, hence, for defending the right of people to buy caskets from whomever they please ("In defense of monks and free enterprise," August 13).

I have personal evidence that Louisiana's requirement that all caskets be bought from a licensed funeral director is simply meant to protect funeral directors from competition.

When my mother died in 2008, a friend recommended that we bury her in a casket from St. Joseph Abbey. While making arrangements at the funeral home– but before we mentioned an Abbey casket to the funeral director– my family and I were shown several caskets that the home offered for sale. All were pricey. When we finally mentioned that we were considering a casket from St. Joseph Abbey, the funeral director suddenly remembered that he offered some less expensive caskets. Only then did he show us his more competitively priced models.

Sincerely, Donald J. Boudreaux

Professor of Economics

George Mason University


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  1. Kit Kittrell on August 14, 2010 12:22 pm

    The funeral industry sell toward the middle ie. the arrangement of their inventory and the pricing is meant to take into consideration that consumers will generally gravitate toward the mid-priced item. A friend of the Industry recently observed to me that her funeral director friend went the extra mile by going into a back room to retrieve a less pricey casket for a family of limited means. I explained to her the middle principle and observed that having that model on the floor would lower the curve. Most funeral homes buy from the Big Three; Batesville, York, or Aurora. In response to third-party retailers, those manufacturers have developed economy lines to compete with independent and foreign suppliers. The funeral director displays his A-line and keeps the cheap stuff in the back for emergencies.

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