LOS ANGELES | The morgue is about the last place you would think of to go shopping, so it's perhaps unsurprising that sales at Los Angeles County's coroner gift store are next to dead.
Tucked as unobtrusively as possible in a closed-door room off the coroner's lobby, the store is jam-packed with mortality-mocking merchandise: Water bottles marked "bodily fluids," boxer shorts dubbed "undertakers," toe tags, crime-scene tape and beach towels bearing the county coroner's trademarked symbol of a body outline.
Trouble is, few people know about the tongue-in-cheek store and its related website, Skeletons in a Closet (www.lacoroner.com/). The shop's biggest customers? No shock here -- homicide detectives.
"Most people know it through word of mouth," said Craig Harvey, the department's chief of operations. "But we are mentioned in guidebooks and we get tourists."