The imperishable words “Hulk smash!” aren’t just for green super-heroes anymore.
According to the Wall Street Journal, entrepreneurs in New York City have launched competing “rage rooms.”
At The Rage Cage or The Wrecking Club, patrons who pay a fee, sign a waiver and don protective gear can unleash their pent-up anger, using baseball bats, sledge hammers, etc. to demolish defective electronic devices, 99-cent-store dishes and other expendable items.
In a tension-filled world where angry people hurl vases at their spouse or smash rural mailboxes, such rage rooms could be the innovation we need.
Innovation? The Journal did note that a prototypical rage room was operated in New York some 40 years ago. The owners probably tried to carry over too many practices from more conventional enterprises. (“Can’t understand why we’re going bankrupt. The ol’ extended warranty scam, er, BENEFIT… used to work like a charm.”)
Rage rooms are your chance to be the proverbial “bull in the china shop” – except that you have to wait in line, you have to wear clothes and you don’t get made into T-bone steaks afterwards. (“Conversion to steaks: bad for repeat business. I learned that at the seminar.”)
Such venues could become a nationwide trend, but investors must weigh the startup costs. So far, liability insurance is costly, and landlords demand high rent. Even the late Fred Rogers would have been leery of rage rooms moving into the area. (“Won’t you be my nei-hey, keep those ruffians away from King Friday XIII or this cardigan is going upside your head!”)
Customers include couples on dates, birthday partiers and families with children. Rage rooms also host bachelorette parties. My guess is that Masochist Mike will soon find he has the “stripper cop” business all to himself.
The prices cited by the Journal don’t sound all that bad for 15 minutes of unbridled mayhem, but don’t be surprised if the businessmen shift toward premium packages. They could scour the world for ever more exotic damaged objects to attract deep-pocketed customers. (“See if you can get the Sphinx, and that Venus de Milo chick.”)
Folks who go to a rage room on a lark don’t worry me. But is it wise to have the hotheads who really, really NEED a rage room driving through heavy traffic to get there?Maybe the rage rooms could send a self-driving shuttle to pick them up. (“No, I’m here to pick YOU up, not vice versa. Oh, my poor jangled microchips!”)
Will the novelty of rage rooms wear off? Maybe, but I’m sure owners will find creative ways to keep consumers angry. (“Introducing: a brand-new selection of Pumpkin Spice keyboards and Pumpkin Spice pink flamingoes.”)
Let’s hope we don’t see picketing by People for the Ethical Treatment of Ceramics. (“Going straight from boiling water to a ball peen hammer! What kind of life is that?”)
The trend toward legalized marijuana could put a crimp in the business model by making customers too mellow. (“Aw, poor little soup bowl. You’ve got a chip missing, dude. Here, let me get some glue and patch you up.”)
Try out a rage room if one comes to your neck of the woods. But make sure the protective clothing doesn’t include shirts that announce, “I’m with Stupid – and Stupid is tired of being called Stupid, and Stupid is holding this big nine iron and…”
Danny Tyree welcomes email responses at firstname.lastname@example.org and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades.” Opinions expressed in this column represent those of the author only and do not necessarily represent those of the newspaper.