Weekend Roundtable: Treat Yo Self

In theory, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the countless other retail sales you’ve been bombarded with recently are supposed to be the time to buy holiday gifts for friends and family. Be honest, though. You actually bought stuff for yourself, didn’t you? This week’s Roundtable is a bit of a confessional. What presents have you already given yourself this year?

Shannon Nutt

Just a few things for myself this past Black Friday. From Best Buy: Season 1 of ‘Ash vs. Evil Dead’ for $9.99. From Amazon: ‘Captain America: Civil War – 3D’ for $19.99, ‘The Hateful Eight’ for $6, and ‘Glengarry Glen Ross’ for $4.67.

Mike Attebery

I’ve always suspected that all Black Friday/Cyber Monday purchases are for the buyer. I know everything I’ve ever bought on those days was for me! This year I picked up an Amazon Echo Dot to hook up to my stereo. I have these things all over our home now – one in the office, one in the kitchen, one upstairs, and a Tap for trips away. I’m looking forward to playing music through a good sound system now as well. I just wish I had a better way to control music from my iTunes library.

Luke Hickman

I’ve never been out on Thanksgiving night to battle the crowds for doorbusters, but I certainly like to head out to my local Target, Walmart and Best Buy stores on Friday mornings at 7 AM to pick up after the others. By that time, the crowds are gone and the shelves are restocked, allowing me to grab stocking-stuffers galore without the chaos.

I must confess that each year, between picking out dirt cheap pajamas and silly knickknacks, I’ll rummage through the marked-down Blu-ray shelves for unclaimed gems. This year, I found a couple discs that I’ve wanted to add to my collection.

Last year, I found the first season of ‘True Detective’ for $10 at Best Buy. Having not seen Season Two, I was happy to find it at Best Buy with a $10 price tag, so I snagged that one for myself. (I know that the majority of fans were disappointed with it, but I have to see it through for myself.) I also picked up ‘Burnt’ ($5 at Target), ‘It Follows’ ($4 at Best Buy) and the contemporary adult Christmas classic ‘The Night Before’ ($6 at Walmart).

When those Blu-rays show up under the tree, I’ll play dumb when I’m asked where they came from.

M. Enois Duarte

As I do every year, I avoid the Black Friday crowds. There’s never really anything I want for sale on that day, which I noticed most stores have extended for the whole weekend. This last Friday morning, however, I found myself giving a friend a ride to work at 8 AM, and she works at Target. To my surprise, the crowds from outside were smaller and less crazy than expected, and my friend explained that the store was doing a 24-hour sale in anticipation to appease Black Friday insanity.

Anyhow, I decided to go inside and at least wander around a bit just for kicks. Of course, I instinctively gravitated towards the electronics section, where I found the last PS4 ‘Uncharted’ bundle. I’ve been putting off upgrading to the new console system since it first came out, but when I saw the price marked down to $230, I felt the sudden urge to purchase it. At the same time, the store allowed the use of 15% coupons during the sale, so I jumped at the opportunity to buy the machine for $150 off retail. This is my Christmas gift to myself with the added bonus of playing the new ‘Uncharted’ game, which I’ve wanted for a while as well.

Brian Hoss

When Nintendo announced ahead of time that it would offer a new New 3DS on Black Friday, one in white and one in black with a subtle Mushroom Kingdom relief on the face plates and a price of $99.99, my personal Black Friday target became clear. I’ve had 3DS systems in the past, and I have a ‘Majora’s Mask’ New 3DS XL in the box , but I’ve really wanted a New 3DS that was similar to my 10-year-old black Nintendo DS Lite.

On Thanksgiving evening, I went to Target, but I struck out big. I then went to Walmart, and I kid you not, I was able to get the last one of these (for that evening at least), which thankfully was black.

Nintendo New 3DS

Chris Boylan (Big Picture Big Sound)

Last week, our Sony Blu-ray player decided it liked the disc inside it too much to give it back. Eventually, I got the disc out (hint: hold the eject button while unplugging and plugging back in the player), but the player itself was toast. It wouldn’t respond to anything on the remote nor on the unit itself. So, on Black Friday I ordered a replacement player for $49.99 (also a Sony, so I wouldn’t have to reprogram my Harmony remote). I ordered this thing on Friday evening, and on Saturday morning there was a ring at the doorbell. The new player had arrived about 16 hours after I ordered it with free one-day shipping (damn, I love Amazon), and it went into the system without a hiccup.

I also asked my digital personal assistant Jarvis… I mean “Alexa”… to order me some mixed nuts on Black Friday. They arrived with the Blu-ray player. They’re maybe the best mixed nuts I’ve ever had. We are indeed living in the future.

Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)

I feel as if I haven’t really gotten myself that much from the holiday sales, but then I look at my stacks of unwatched movies and shipping notifications only to realize how terribly wrong I am.

From Barnes and Noble’s Criterion sale, I picked up ‘Only Angels Have Wings’, ‘The Big Chill’, ‘In a Lonely Place’, the ‘Lady Snowblood’ collection, and ‘Day for Night’. Between Amazon and walmart.com, I ordered season sets of ‘Hannibal’, ‘iZombie’, ‘Arrow’, ‘The Flash’, ‘Supergirl’, and ‘Legends of Tomorrow’. Further proving that my tastes are all over the place, I bought a ‘Lilo and Stitch’ double feature, ‘The Conjuring 2’, ‘Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping’, all three ‘Purge’ movies, the mutant killer snowman flick ‘Jack Frost’, Filipino zombie/kung-fu epic ‘Raw Force’, The ‘Running Man’-esque ‘Deathrow Gameshow’, ‘Batman: Bad Blood’, ‘Lights Out’, and the Bogey/Bacall double shot of ‘Dark Passage’ and ‘To Have and Have Not’.

The only videogame I snagged this time around was ‘Mortal Kombat XL’ for the PS4. Finally, I can pit Leatherface from ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ against one of the acid-spitting xenomorphs from ‘Alien’. I’d have gotten more, but my birthday falls just before Black Friday, so I wound up with nearly everything I wanted anyway, and I’m sure I’ll get the rest for Christmas.

Josh Zyber

I honestly did not intend to spend much money on myself this year, but somehow I kept finding deals I couldn’t resist. Like Mike, I bought an Amazon Echo Dot. I bundled mine with a Harmony Hub so that I can control (to a limited extent, it turns out) all my home theater equipment through Alexa voice control. I’m still playing around to work out the kinks with that, but it’s pretty neat.

I had amazing self control during the Barnes & Noble Criterion Collection sale and only walked out of the store with two Blu-rays: ‘Short Cuts’ and ‘Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams’. However, I got sucked in by the back-to-back sales on titles from Twilight Time (‘The Russia House’, ‘Zelig’, ‘Cutter’s Way’, ‘The Mechanic’, ‘The Other’) and the Warner Archive (‘The Big Sleep’, ‘Suspicion’, ‘Out of the Past’, ‘The Hunger’).

I think I’m done buying stuff for myself now. At least, I hope so.

Even though the focus of this blog is on movies and home theater gear, today’s Roundtable is not necessarily limited to those items. Feel free to tell us about any swag you bought for yourself recently when you should have been shopping for others.


  1. Chris B

    I caved and pre-ordered Arrow’s upcoming “Scarlet Box” Hellraiser trilogy that comes out in North America in a few weeks. I would have waited but I’m too afraid of the posibilty of it selling out like it did in the UK.

    Between that, the SAE sale and the B&N sale AND squirreling away cash to buy a region-free player early next year, I am tapped OUT. Hopefully I receive a bit of money as Christmas gifts to help me recover.

  2. Csm101

    I made out pretty good this Black Friday. It started earlier in the month when I hit my 40th birthday and ordered a new Yamaha 3060 which gave me double reward points that weekend on top of an extra 10% off which I got back in best buy gift cards. Black Friday or Thursday has been less and less crowded every year. Last year I waited in line outside for about 15 minutes, this year I walked right in after arriving around 5:10 pm Thursday evening. I picked up Alegiant, Batman: Bad Blood, The Big Short, Black Mass, Central Intelligence, Daddy’s Home, Dirty Dancing😁, Hardcore Henry, Ice Age, Keanu, Lights Out, Midnight Special, The Nice Guys, the Night Before, Now you See Me 2, OITNB Season 3, Popstar (target 10bucks), Pride Prejudice and Zombies, Room, Southpaw, Spotlight, Vacation, Victor Frankenstein, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (btw great movie with an amazing DTS:X track) the Witch, X-Men Rogue cut and Zoolander 2. UHD-Independece Day, Man of Steel, The Martian extended, Pacific Rim, the Shallows. On top of that I picked up a few movies for my nephews and brother. The week of I picked up Purge 3 and Neighbors 2. Most of those were like 5.99. I did pick up Short Cuts from B&N. Honestly it was a breeze this year. We went to Target after and I only got Popstar there but np my daughter got some Lego deals and we were done by 6:45. Later that night I went to visit my nephews and took them to Target and they got the same deal E-Noize got on the Playstation. There were tons of them at the store.

  3. cardpetree

    Bought a vacuum from Kohl’s and that’s it. Still trying to pay off the TV I bought from Amazon during last year’s Black Friday Sale.

  4. Ryan

    I grabbed an echo dot and tp link has 100 smart plug. Alexa turn on/off bedroom, loving it.

    I also grabbed forza horizon 3 and overwatch.

  5. EM

    Look…I was on Amazon on Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday to pick up gifts for others, okay?? I really bought some, too!! So, don’t judge me. But I also managed to grab myself some goodies, including:

    WKRP in Cincinnati, the complete series on DVD. This is the Shout! Factory edition with most of the original music relicensed and restored. As God as my witness, another Thanksgiving without the “Turkeys Away” episode convinced me I had to have this set! At least I’ll have “Jennifer’s Home for Christmas” at Christmas…
    Phantom Boy Blu/DVD. This is a recent French animated flick combining kid fantasy with cops-and-robbers mystery. After a recent Blu-ray Highlights writeup, I saw the movie and was sufficiently enamored to add it to my library.
    • a Halloween “video wallpaper” disc. Hey, it was on sale, and I’ll project it on the ceiling above my TV while watching horror movies throughout the year, okay?

    As if these items weren’t enough self-indulgence, yesterday I learned of La-La Land’s 50th-anniversary Star Trek 4-CD set, subtitled “Musical Rarities From Across the Star Trek Universe”. For Surak’s sake, it’s even got music from the animated series! I had to…

  6. Since I’m going to be unemployed after the holidays, most of our purchases were for the kids and grand kids. Got some great deals on movies and such. Went to Best Buy on Friday night, and there was no crowd and the prices were great. I’m thinking the black Friday chaos days might be past us.

  7. john barbarry

    Amazon Echo…….that should help Americas obesity epidemic. Alexa: turn on Dolby Atmos, play Transformers – The Movie, and bring me a hoagie!

  8. I decided to get my 15-year-old son a proper stereo for Christmas this year. I ordered a Yamaha R-S202BL stereo receiver with Bluetooth at Amazon for $130 and a set of Polk Monitor Series 45B bookshelf speakers at Newegg for the same price as the receiver. It’s a complete blind buy on my part but it should be a decent starter system for only $260.

  9. William Henley

    Nothing big electronic-wise. Picked up all three of The Santa Clause movies, the reissue of It’s A Wonderful Life, and Santa Claus: The Movie.

    While not specifically a Black-Friday sale, Delta airlines was running cheap airfare to Europe. So I am going in May – DFW to Zurich – $411 round trip. I am taking my mom with me – she has never been. She’s so excited. I think the bigger question is, can I put up with my mom for 3 and a half weeks?

  10. We came close to buying a curved 4K Samsung 65″ tv on Black Friday, but I couldn’t pull the trigger. Smart thinking since I ended up getting laid off a few days later. The 50″ Panasonic we have is probably near the end of its run, but it still looks good.

  11. charles contreras

    I found the 3 Iron Man movies on blu at Best Buy the other day for $25, I couldn’t pass it up. Last year I wrote here that I lost everything about 2 years ago, but was determined to start over after finding a new apartment and getting my life back in order. To date, I have some good movies and a 32 inch tv, and I’m looking forward to setting up my surround system after I receive my tax refund. I will say this, I’ve been really lucky to have what I have these days, and I still don’t take anything for granted. I conclude this message by wishing both the staff and fellow collectors who visit this site a very Merry Christmas & a happy and safe New Year.

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