Anger Rooms: A Smashing New Way to Relieve Stress - The New York Times:
"When she was a teenager on the South Side of Chicago in the late 1990s, Donna Alexander fantasized about setting up a space where stressed-out people could relieve their tension in a safe, nonviolent way — by smashing mannequins, televisions, furniture and other objects. She was confident in her idea, but she wasn’t sure how to turn it into a business.
Finally, in the fall of 2008, and by then living in Dallas, Ms. Alexander began an experiment.
She invited current and past co-workers to her garage to pulverize items she had collected from the curbs in her neighborhood.
“I would play music on my laptop and just let them have at it,” she says. She charged $5.
Soon, word of the stress-relief sessions spread throughout Dallas.
“I started getting strangers at my door asking if my house was the place to break stuff,” Ms. Alexander said.
“When that happened, I knew I had a business.”
Over the next few years while she looked for a suitable location for the company, Ms. Alexander accrued a four-month waiting list.
In December 2011, she quit her job as a marketing manager for a steakhouse to officially start the Anger Room in a 1,000-square-foot space in downtown Dallas.
The Anger Room charges $25 for five minutes of crushing printers, alarm clocks, glass cups, vases and the like.
Prices rise to about $500 for custom room setups.
The most expensive setup so far has been a faux retail store, replete with racks of clothing.
Several other anger rooms have popped up around the world, including in Houston, Toronto, Niagara Falls and Australia.
The American presidential election increased business at some anger rooms. Stressed-out voters traveled all the way to Toronto from New York before and after the election, says Steve Shew, co-founder of the Rage Room there.
Customers wrote the name of the candidate they were frustrated with on a plate and smashed it.
At the Anger Room in Dallas, mannequins of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were taking beatings before the election.
Customers demolished two Clinton mannequins, requiring replacements.
But Trump attracted even more ire.
“We’ve gone through at least three of the male mannequins that we have to dress up as Donald Trump,” Ms. Alexander says."