New Bedford Funeral Director on Used Casket: ‘By Law, We Have to Accept’ It
A Facebook Marketplace post is advertising a "gently used casket" for sale in Brockton for $200.
According to the listing, it was “only in the ground for 18 months, decided to go a different route. Minor wear and tear. Will trade for bike parts. Price is non-negotiable.”
Whether it's a joke or for a legit item up for sale, it raised up some questions. To get the answers, we reached out to Patrick T. Saunders, Funeral Director at Saunders-Dwyer Funeral Home in New Bedford, who was "coffin" up some very interesting bits of information.
"I did see that post somewhere, and thought this has to be fake, because who would want to put their loved one in a dinged-up casket that someone else has been in previously?" Saunders said.
Still, if someone bought a used casket and wanted to use it to save a few bucks on someone's final expenses, would the funeral home accept a bring-your-own-casket deal?
"By law, we have to accept a casket that someone brings to us," Saunders said. "We have a good amount of caskets in our showroom, but sometimes, maybe once a year, someone will buy their own casket online, but it's not very common."
The casket for sale on Facebook has a bit of a mysterious backstory, but it appears it may have been a case of mistaken final wishes.
“For those asking, all of the contents were gutted and burned by the cemetery applicable with (the) law for resale,” the post stated. “Not that it’s anyone’s business, but it took a while to locate the closest living relative who informed us the deceased’s wishes were to be cremated and scattered into the ocean.”
Some funeral homes actually offer casket rentals, which especially come in handy for cremations.
"A lot of places do a rental casket which is a hard wood casket, where an insert slides in and out, that can be used over and over again, say up to 30 times, until it gets scratched up, and then it's cremated," Saunders said. "For people being cremated, but being shown first, we use cremation caskets with a nice-looking wood veneer so it appears great, but is made to be cremated afterwards."
If it's permissible to bring in your own casket, does that also apply to bringing in something sentimental and meaningful for your loved one's ashes?
"Yes, of course, but I'm always telling people that you don't want to be home, on your kitchen table, trying to take your grandmother out and put her into something else," he said. "Whatever people bring us, we always do it, provided there's a lid. We've seen everything from a cookie jar to a wine bottle!"