I understand the view of some folks that there is too much loot in the game.

However, depending on your play style, that does not necessarily hold true. In my game, I'm currently working my way through Goblinland (patent pending). I've dealt with the crash site, initial tomb, "druidica" (patent registered in Goblinland, for what it is worth) and assorted town areas. Yet, while I'm running level 4 characters, I have maybe 3 or 4 magic items ( most of which are unusable due to the downsides), and have yet to buy a single magic item from vendors. As my "character" is not a thief, he has had no reason to steal anything from vendors and such. Really can't compare the loot level to folks running around robbing every item and every coin they can get their hands on. I would be far happier picking up fewer "priceless" items, and having the ones I pick up actually worth comparable "priceless" amounts than pick up a zillion priceless items each worth one gold. Toss in that rare but valuable painting or statue that sells for little to nothing at your average shop, but sells for a boatload of coin if saved for sale in that antique dealer in Baldurs Gate. Toss out rumors of a valuable piece of artwork, that wealthy noble in BG is seeking, that can be sold to him for a huge chunk of coin (and maybe toss in some nice thieves that will try and waylay me on the way to delivering it once I recover it.

There are plenty of ways to create innovative ways to obtain and sell unique, non-magic, items involving side quests, rumors, gossip and private collections. Package them in with other rationales for chasing after them, so thieves and non-thives might all have a reason to chase them down.

Split up that merchants inventory - some items should be on his person for pickpocketing, higher value items should be locked up, in a manner that those with the inclination can try and sneak past guards, disarm traps and pick the locks to get them - if they are able. Being caught will tick off the merchant and his guards, and have repercussions, but beggars, other lowlife, the average joe schmoe in a large town or city, shouldn't care one way or another, and the City down river should have no clue what you did. If you manage to get clear without being arrested/killed, the furor should die down within days. The idea that a week later, everyone in town (including guards that never saw you) will instantly recognize makes little sense in any large population area.

And yeah - merchants should carry those drool-worthy, end game type items at a price you can only dream of until you are at fairly high levels, or as a rare reward for some epic mission on their behalf (rescue your wife and kids from the evil blackmailer? Sure, that might be worth a low/mid level item from my shop, or a steep discount on that item).

Give me a thief to play, and I might be robbing merchants blind often. Give me a paladin, ranger or cleric and I'm not picking pockets and rifling shops (of course, "evil variants of the above might resort to coercion, blackmail, forgery, and other forms of skullduggery, but a cleric is more likely to threaten to drop a nasty curse on a merchant to get what they want than simply pick a pocket).

But spare me the changing inventories !! Nothing so bad as saving that gold for weeks to buy "magic item x" only to find it's gone from the shop!