I wouldn’t describe myself as an impulse shopper. I’m not usually tempted by the newest and shiniest bangles and bobbles on the shelves of your average grocery store. I, being a full-blooded American male, am of course drawn to the techno-haven siren calls of such places as Circuit City and Best Buy. And although I do stare simian-like at all the metallic doo-dads and gadgetry therein, I almost never leave these stores with bag-in-hand.

Perhaps this speaks to my thrifty nature? Perhaps it speaks to my desire to not want to explain to my wife exactly why we needed to invest a portion of our household budget in a 20 gigabyte MP3 player with a GPS tracking system? Perhaps these stores just aren’t good at getting me to buy things.

One type of store is. My local pharmacy.

We have a sizable Walgreen’s Pharmacy nearby that sits on about 33 city hectares. Besides the products you would expect to find, your fancy elixirs and personal hygiene products, Walgreen’s offers a variety of impulse-buy products scattered throughout the store. I’m not sure how, but the person who sets up their end-cap displays has a direct-feed into my disposable income/entertainment pleasure center. From novelty cigarette lighters that resemble the Battleship Arizona, to big neon palm trees with fiber optic foliage, nothing could look more trashy, or enticing to my ‘MUST HAVE IT NOW’ cravings.

Their aisles are chock-full of As-Seen-On-TV merchandise (a glaring weakness in my otherwise impenetrable and cynical advertising defenses), peanut butter filled candies, and novelty hats. Oh, the novelty hats. From Santa, to Rastafarian, to Seussian monstrosities, what cornball alive can resist trying on the well-crafted novelty chapeau?

The checkout aisle alone is a battlefield between your billfold and the 8 year-old within: little metal devices to help you with every type of ailment from rough toenails to broken eyeglasses, spinning lollipops with summer movie tie-ins, exotic batteries, burnable media, and Mexican candy bars! Do any of these items ever live up to their hype? Sadly, they lose their magic faster than Dorothy becomes sepia-toned after leaving Oz.

I think Best Buy could learn a thing or two from Walgreen’s. Put that Zire Palm Handheld on spinning stick with an action button near the checkout aisle and I might just walk home with it for a change.