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Any good college student, free thinker, or otherwise hoopy frood should shun the order imposed by a so-called "shopping list," in favor of buying strictly on impulse. On the up side, it makes shopping way more fun (especially in groups!), you end up trying all kinds of food your friends haven't, and you can adjust your spending to exactly how much money's in your wallet. The only down side is that you might -- as I often do -- come home with random stuff that you don't need at all, but bought anyway because it had wicked packaging and seemed like a good idea at the time.

It's easy to impress with well thought out packaging, containers you can tell were designed by someone with a degree in art rather than one in management. All kinds of design elements look striking on the shelves: modern sans serif fonts, translucent frosting, subtle fades and gradients, prismatic paper, die-cut labels in interesting shapes, etc. Put together any two of the above, any you're guaranteed a product that looks orders of magnitude more attractive than any other on the shelf.

A few things I own just because of the cool packaging:

Agree Shampoo - A clear bottle with a prismatic label on the back that you see by looking through the shampoo.
Hanna 1998 Sauvignon Blanc - Label die-cut to look like lots of little squares or stair-steps.
Snapple Elements - Curvy, attractive bottle filled with brightly colored soft drink goodness, including Diet Air which is the perfect shade of light sky blue.
An Issue of Wired Magazine - A striking life-sized picture of HAL 9000's interface plate is all that's on the cover.
Rainbow Rice Crispies - Rather icky foodstuff, but who could pass up a reflective cereal box?

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