Economics and the mid-life crisis have much in common: Both dwell on foregone opportunities

C'est la vie; c'est la guerre; c'est la pomme de terre . . . . . . . . . . . . . email: jpalmer at uwo dot ca

. . . . . . . . . . .Richard Posner should be awarded the next Nobel Prize in Economics . . . . . . . . . . . .

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Supersize THIS!
Goliath Caskets for the Obese

Perhaps out of concern for my recent weight gain, Jack sent me a pointer to this article about Goliath Caskets; check out the site for pictures.

[A] seven-foot (2.1 meter) casket was built for a 900-pound (64 stone) man who died in Alaska.

... The expansion of American waistlines has forced US companies to make a number of adjustments. Airlines have increased their passenger weight estimates. Clothing stores are offering larger sizes. Furniture manufacturers are making wider chairs.

But nowhere are the consequences of the obesity epidemic more painfully obvious than in a converted hog barn on a country road in rural Indiana.

[Keith] Davis' father founded the company 20 years ago because he wanted to offer the families of the obese a more dignified coffin than the slipshod special orders he saw being made by the casket company he worked for.

He altered the coffin's design so it would not look like a train car and reinforced its structure so it would not bend or buckle under the extra weight. He built lids that could be propped open for full or half viewings and had foam inserts that made them easier to close. And he expanded the width from the standard 24 inches.

"Thirty-three inches were our biggest back in '90. We thought that was pretty big," Davis said.

"Then we started getting calls for bigger and bigger caskets so I went up to 48 inches. Now I'm making them 52 inches."

Jack says that cremation would help provide a solution, except that the openings to the cremation ovens are too small.

At any rate, I am pleased to see that Davis, the owner of Goliath Caskets, has a firm grip on the concept of opportunity costs:

"There's no reason for anyone in this country not to have a good diet. There's no reason to go out and eat a whole bag of ding dongs," he said. "If everyone went on a diet I could find something else to do."
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