The first formal modern anger room was Donna Alexander's 2008 experiment on Chicago's south side, where customers paid $5 to smash things she'd found set out on neighborhood curbs on garbage days — now Alexander runs a 1,000 square foot business called "Anger Room" in Dallas, and she's got competition.
Anger rooms respond to the tenor of the moment, adding effigies of Trump and Clinton, or swapping in custom set-dressed props to recreate an office, depending on the customers' needs and willingness to pay. They're also popular for date nights and corporate team-building away-days. Some rooms play their own music, others allow participants to supply the soundtrack.
The NYT quotes a shrink who's skeptical of the approach, saying that stress relief is best accomplished with mindfulness exercises, not rage sessions that can release dangerous stress hormones and surface painful emotions.
Customers are provided with protective equipment that includes a helmet, goggles, boots and gloves. And they can pick out a music soundtrack — including classical, R&B, grunge and heavy metal — and an array of objects to swing.
"Some of our typical options are baseball bats, golf clubs, two-by-fours," Ms. Alexander says. "We get things like metal pipes, mannequin arms and legs, skillets, legs from tables. Sledgehammers, crowbars and things like that." Off-limits are sharp objects and those that use ammunition.
The Anger Room accepts donations for its rooms from residents and businesses in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Its four employees also go out on bulk trash pickup days looking for crushable items. The employees build the rooms, filling them with the breakables, and do the postwreckage cleanup.
Anger Rooms: A Smashing New Way to Relieve Stress
[Claire Martin/New York Times]