I guess I might be an anomally. Not a beginning lifter,but certainly no expert.
With regard to squatting down and picking something up,I generally never squat down for a dime,pen,whatever. I will get down on one knee.
Perhaps its a flexibility issue,or muscular weakness,core,quads,hams,who knows. Even as narrow as shoulder width,I either squat on my toes,or I don't hit parralel and end up leaning forward or falling on my butt. Wide stance low bar is best for me at this time,even though its opposite of what most raw guys do.
With that said,I am making it a point to work on narrow stance squats as an assistance.