Ask most people if they want a cheap coffin — or any coffin, for that matter — all jokes aside, they will literally say: “That’s the last thing I need”.

Mosgiel businessman Kent Lobb has about 50 of them to sell, so he has been thinking outside the box lately, trying to find ways of making them a little more desirable.

Apparently, they make very good coffee tables, book shelves and couches and some people have even turned them into bathtubs, he said.

“It appears there is nothing too macabre for some people.”

Mr Lobb has about 50 high-quality solid paulownia hardwood coffins for sale at a discounted price of $849, and since he started advertising them online, he has received a lot of inquiries from across the country.

“It was funny when the first person said they were keen to buy one, but they just wanted to measure up their partner first before committing.

“After seeing a few hundred similar messages, it wasn’t funny any more,” he said.

Aside from those people, there had been quite a few who wanted to put them in their man caves and a few others who wanted a more Addams Family vibe to their family home, he said.

“They’re buying them with the intention of having a bit of furniture, and then at the other end, it will serve another purpose.

“I haven’t had any vampires come calling yet. Apparently, there’s a vampire association or something down in Invercargill, and everybody’s saying you should put it on their Facebook page because they’ll sell like hot cakes.”

In hindsight, he may have made a grave mistake when he started the business, Mr Lobb said.

“The idea came up when my wife’s grandfather passed away, and we got the bill at the end of the funeral and we said, ‘What on Earth?!’

“We only saw the coffin for about 20 minutes and then it got put straight into the crematorium.

“Our goal was to supply a more high-end casket at a much more reasonable price.

“So we started off a wee business, bringing coffins into the country, basically to offer families a better option.”

Given that birth, taxes and death were the only certainties in life, he thought he would have no trouble selling them.

He had quite a few customers who were organising their own funerals and wanted to buy their own casket, but it was not enough to keep the business going, he said.

“It was a business that never really took off, so it became time to get rid of them.”

He promised to dig a little deeper in his research before starting his next business.

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