Hmmm…my gut feeling is that it surely seems inappropriate, and I myself would not do it if no occasion were involved. On the other hand, I did ask my new b/f to get me a hardback edition of “The Historian” recently when we were out and I saw it in a bookstore, but specified that it would make a decent birthday or Christmas gift for me…it was more a suggestion for a gift I would like on an occasion than a “buy it for me NOW if you love me” kind of thing.
But do tell more…what was requested, and when, and how was the request framed? That could make all the difference. We were on a road trip weekend about 2 months ago, our first weekend away together, and at that time HE offered to buy me another book he noticed I had taken a liking to as we shopped around, but I politely declined. I told him I would certainly find the book at the local library and read it before deciding if I wanted to own it, but I thanked him for the thought and the attention paid to me. Kind of the reverse situation. I guess in your situation, I might have said, “I thought you might be admiring (whatever it is)! How about if I consider it for (our next special occasion)?” With a fond smile, of course, and perhaps a brief hug. Who could miss the point of that?
This wouldn’t be a dealbreaker in the relationship for me, however, unless the person became petulant or demanding and repeated that behavior often. From experience, I can say that failing to point out an item you may want, to someone you may be interested in, if you have expectations of the relationship becoming long-term, can result in many unsatisfactory gift-receivings in the future.