The final curtain

If you are into outlandish topics with an occasional penchant towards the macabre, then look no further than The Economist. Here is an analysis of the US market in - coffins and funeral services! The conclusion? Despite of the recent availability of discount coffins and the steep ticket of some $6K for a full price item, "Costco (a supplier of discount ware, CD) may find that its customers do not want the final goodbye to be a good buy".

Naturally, this calls for a comparison of how things final are handled over here. Again, there is a marked difference: In the nearby city of Basle, everybody has the right to a free, albeit simple, coffin, and it would appear that this right is exercised rather frequently. It gets worse: Recently the right to the free coffin was proposed to be abolished so as to reduce the state deficit. I am not really sure whether there has been a referendum on the matter, but the proposal failed. Even better: subsequently to that decision, the administrative unit responsible (the municipal nursery) tried to replace the standard upholstery with cheaper litter and thereby almost created an resuinsurrection! You see, Swiss politics occasionally really is a matter of life and death!

To conclude on a more serious note, though: this just looks like another instance of the notorious Swiss parsimoniousness, however reasonable it may be (I am Swiss, after all).

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