I empathize with both of you! When I see awesome pens or notebooks I feel like this primal part of my lizard brain is starting to take control and perhaps override my common sense and politeness.
I am not alone in this, although compared to the people I see at my work conferences every year, I think I do a much better job controlling myself! I at least stand there and talk to the vendors about their products first, and then ask
if I can have one
of these and one
of those if they don't offer, and I say thank you. Basic kindergarten manners.
I remember once I was talking to a vendor and this other person came along and swept all the goodies on the vendor's little table into their bag, and walked off--candy, pens, highlighters, post-it notes. It was so fast there wasn't even time to say anything. Obviously they had a lot of experience at this! The vendor and I just stared at them, then at each other. Okay, so the vendor had more boxes of stuff under the table, but honestly! You'd think people needed to supply their whole office, or feed their entire household, from just the free stuff they scavenged at conferences.
In other news, I went to Barnes & Noble last night. I knew it would be dangerous going in. I was prepared to face the Piccadilly notebooks with the prints on them, as I already own several, but I forgot about their Moleskine-esque notebooks. So... four of them came home with me. I got an "essential" notebook in large, which was roughly 8.5"x11" (probably a bit smaller) with a flexible cover; an "essential" medium notebook, which had a hardcover and was maybe 5"x7"; a faux-leather notebook about the same size (only a dollar more for the fake leather!); and a three-pack of softcover notebooks, maybe 4"x6" in red, tan, and black. The first three notebooks I got were the light teal color. They only had that and black--if they'd had more colors I probably would've bought them, too.
B&N has so many notebooks! They also sell actual Moleskine, quite a variety of them; plus they had a Paris and London-themed display of items that included some Cavallini notebooks. And they had little four-packs of notebooks by Jonathan Adler--just small enough that I could force myself to put them back down. And they were kind of paisley too, I really dislike paisley. Plus all their really nice notebooks for $15 and up, which my store artfully arranges by color family.