The Hustle

CIA BBQ sauce and DEA baby bottles: The business of government merch

Those Post Office crop-tops are far from a one-off.

August 24, 2020

The most-hyped fashion house of 2020 might be the US Postal Service gift shop.

In a show of solidarity for the beleaguered government agency, people are snapping up USPS-themed crop-tops, tote bags, and dog costumes. So many have nabbed their own Earth Day tee that orders are backlogged into September.

The USPS isn’t the only federal agency in the merch game

Dozens of agencies sell their own “branded” wares:

But splurging on a DEA baby bib is not going to fund a drug bust 

Profits from most government merch stores are funneled into agencies’ employee associations.

At the CIA, the Employee Activity Association — a group that funds perks like gym memberships and concert tickets — gets that sweet, sweet barbecue sauce money.

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