Verbal

GALL'S BUYER'S GUIDE
"The World's Largest Supplier Of Public Safety Equipment"

We have a winner! Never mind the deceptive subtitle: THIS IS A *COP* CATALOG! The undercurrent of paranoia and violence inside is respectably coated with layers of upstanding civic pride. I've never been a big cop fan, but I've always secretly desired their equipment; and here it all is, in full glorious color.

Every imaginable kind of cop car accoutrement is here: umpteen million flasher systems, customizable whole vehicle decal kits, rifle racks, drink holders—you name it. Inserts feature Reader's Digest quality slice-of-life stories: cops encountering funny drunk drivers, animal control officers cornering boa constrictors, and a cop who forgot to park with the emergency brake and watched his brand-new patrol car roll off a dock. WHOOPSIE! The real kicker is a rescue story about a female motorist completely impaled by a tree limb.

The most alluring items are what I would call "Forbidden Tools," stuff the cops are privileged to use but pedestrians can't get their hands on: sirens, cellular scanners & high-tech CBs, audio surveillance devices, handcuffs, industrial-sized mace sprayers, body armor, riot shields, clubs & batons, scary knives, gun goodies (the "Speedloader"!), customized badges, etcetera, ad nauseum. SWAT, EMS, and cop fashion items abound, as well as official totes, cop shoes, caps and ties. Some of the clothing is actually innocuous enough to be wearable, especially the highly functional SWAT gear.

The best part is that there doesn't seem to be any restrictions on who can order from the catalog: at least, they don't detail any. When I called the Gall's Hotline (1-800-477-6677) the friendly operator told me that in New York State, I could order anything that didn't visibly say "POLICE" on it. A glowing feeling of power began to spread through my consumer sense organs.

Here's a breakdown of some of the more intriguing selections, with juicy excerpts from ad copy and links to scans of the catalog pages:

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