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Dare to Be 100: Investment Opportunity -- Square Caskets

The Huffington Post logo The Huffington Post 16/03/2016 Walter M. Bortz II, M.D.
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Are you looking for a growth opportunity? How about the Goliath Casket Co. of East Lynn, Indiana. Founded in 1985 it is flourishing. It is riding high in its niche caused by the explosive increase in worldwide obesity, certainly in the U.S. Some projections even indicate that our entire population will be overweight in several more decades. The implications are huge.
And fat people die just like the rest of us, but usually sooner and with added cost. When a fat person dies it places increased demands on the support system. Funeral workers have bad backs. Cemetery plots must be widened. Apartments must have wider doors, and casket lids must be provided to accommodate the bigger girth. What an embarrassment it would be not to be able to close the lid of a casket at the last moment. Post mortem liposuction is mentioned as a possible solution to such a problem. Weird!
But before a fat person dies other issues arise. The seats in redesigned Yankee Stadium had to be widened as did airline accommodations. Fuel costs for carrying all this excess weight burden the economy. And talk about obesity expense. How much of the trillion-dollar health care costs of our country is secondary to our bulging waist lines ?
A recent article in a trade publication, U.S. Funerals Online, contains an article, "how the obesity epidemic in the U.S. is impacting the funeral industry." The article explores a wide range of implications involved in the death of a fat person. It emphasizes that a super-sized funeral is going to cost more, and costs may be very high. Comparison shopping is advised. The Goliath Casket Company is unique in that they manufacture a casket that is 4 foot wide by 8 foot long, but they are open to different design requirements. They actually are selling a fat casket every 10 days, and the demand seems to be growing.
Along with the task of burial is the practice of cremation. Crematoriums once again involve unique considerations. Just like the rest of the industry the facility must be physically appropriate for the obese, but there is a new issue, that of overheating. We all know that fat is very combustible, and a 400 pounder has more to combust. A fat body therefore will burn hotter, so hot in fact that the facility is in danger of combusting itself. Imagine the insurance company who receives a request to reimburse the expenses of an overheated oven. There is little precedent.
All these things considered however, the funeral industry projects the growing opportunity for investment. I'm lecturing at the esteemed Stanford University Graduate School of Business on Thursday, and I think I will offer them this big idea.

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