At your breaking point? Try breaking stuff.
Anger rooms are all the rage for hard-pressed people to pulverize their problems. Satisfied customers savor the catharsis that comes from wrecking things without consequences.
“Sometimes it just plain feels good to be bad!” says Kena Soza, who has hit the Anger Room in Arlington, Texas twice already.
The service stocked a room with old furniture, framed pictures on the walls and an old computer monitor and TV set. Soza paid $45 to take a whack at everything for 15 minutes with a baseball bat — and even used the arm off a mannequin as a back-up bludgeon.
“I left that room in shambles. I had a blast,” says the petite working mom, proudly. “I have a lot of stressors. I fill my schedule more than I should. So it feels good to work it out, even in this unconventional way. I felt powerful.”
Nicole George, a 34-year-old web radio host from Dallas, can’t wait to try out the Anger Room for the first time later this month as “a way to channel anger without hurting anyone.”
She also gets overwhelmed with work and family at times. “I am looking forward to relieving some stress and attempting to wreck everything! Why not, right?” she laughs.
It seems like everyone has an appetite for destruction. Kanye West reportedly has his own rage room where the hotheaded rapper smashes piles of plates, pictures and Kenny G, Nickelback and Maroon 5 CDs. Jake Gyllenhaal plays a New York investment banker in “Demolition” now in theaters who destroys his house as he works through the sudden death of his wife. And who didn’t feel a vicarious thrill watching Beyonce smash cars, fire hydrants and shop windows in her “Hold Up” video on “Lemonade?”
Anger Room creator Donna Alexander dreamed up the demolition derby as a teen on Chicago’s South Side, where people vandalized property all the time.
“I saw a lot of different violent crimes being committed, and a lot of people were going to jail,” she recalls. “We have a primal instinct to throw things and break stuff, so I was like, ‘What if there was a place that could facilitate that kind of lashing out, that kind of release, without getting anyone in trouble?’”
She began running her rage room out of her Texas garage in 2008 as she tried convincing realtors and investors to accept her volatile idea. Many feared she would attract criminals or the mentally unstable.
Turns out, we all go a little mad sometimes. The Anger Room was hosting plenty of folks that had been dumped, divorced and laid off – but it also became popular for curiosity seekers, for bachelor and bachelorette parties, and even as a corporate team building exercise.
She landed her current warehouse in 2011, and it’s been a smashing success. She’s booked a least a month in advance despite serving around 500 people a month, and her pop-up rage rooms that toured Los Angeles and New York earlier this year sold out weeks in advance. She hopes to expand to other cities in the next year.
But she’s already got competition in her home state, as Tantrums LLC has come out swinging in Houston. Frazzled guests can pay $50 to destroy a room for 15 minutes, or $85 and some advance notice can book a theme room. Maybe you’d like to recreate the infamous copy machine-bashing scene from “Office Space?”
And The Smash Shack in North Carolina, which expected to cater to military service members from nearby MCB Camp Lejeune, was surprised to see more than 70% of its customers are women. “We would much rather people take out their anger here in a safe manner rather than in unhealthy ways and unsafe places,” reads its site
It seems like Americans are angrier than ever. Research shows that one in five of us have an anger management problem. And just take a look at our presidential election, where presumptive Republican candidate Donald Trump is running on a platform that stokes fear and provokes anger in his followers against Muslims and immigrants. Violent protests break out frequently at Trump rallies. Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders has an angry base enraged by the nation’s unfair distribution of wealth. News headlines bleed daily with shootings and other violent crimes.
The time is right for rage rooms to explode.
The United States isn’t the only country under extreme stress, of course, so it’s no surprise that anger rooms have cropped up across the globe. There’s Battle Sports Inc. in Toronto, which lets home wreckers drop just $20 for 30 minutes in a room stocked from a “Rage Menu” of mirrors and chairs — or you can bring your own stuff to smash. Then they supply bats and crowbars for you to go to town with while rocking out to adrenaline-pumping music over Bluetooth speakers. There’s even a $70 “Date Night Package.”
“Not everyone in the world may need to break stuff, but a lot of us do,” says Alexander.
via Daily News