Column: Smash room more fun than fury

I’m not exactly the type to want to smash a plate against a wall.

When I’m angry, I prefer to employ one of the “have some alone time,” “go for a walk,” “take a few deep breaths” or “do a yoga practice” methods to calm down.

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Or, to be honest, when I’m angry, I’m most likely just hungry.

Yet somehow I was the one in our team tasked with trying out Richmond’s new “smash room” – a venture by Exit Canada that allows you to go into a room and smash bottles, plates, jars, printers and computers, if you so choose (and if you so pay).

“It’s really therapeutic,” said one employee.

“If you want, you can bring a picture of an ex-boyfriend and tape it to something that you smash,” said another.


Now, I’m all for catharsis, but is there a chance this could just condition us towards aggressive responses?

Isn’t it better to teach ourselves how to slow our heartrate down and approach situations calmly?

Shouldn’t we be working to minimize aggression in our society, not monetize it?

Clearly, I’m not a psychologist, but something tells me that encouraging the public that it’s best to cure your rage by smashing dinner plates against a wall could be problematic for our long-term wellbeing. 

On the flip side of the argument and if this really is all well and good for our psychology and society, I somehow doubt it will help your fury to drive to the smash room (driving in Richmond just might make your rage worse, after all), calmly consider your various smash options on a menu, pay (it isn’t cheap), listen to a five-minute safety preamble, put on a safety suit, a face mask, body armour and gloves, then smash items from a pre-determined bin against a very specific wall.

In other words, it’s all very regimented.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand safety and liability, and I don’t fault them for their process. But I’m not quite sure it has that rage-releasing effect they’re advertising.

Or maybe I’m just the wrong audience.

Personally, describing a smash room as “therapy” is a bit worrisome to me and I think there are likely better ways to manage anger.

But at the end of the day, therapeutic or not, throwing a plate against a wall, dropping a glass bottle from the top of a set of stairs, swinging at glass jars with a baseball bat and smashing a laptop with a crowbar so it sends keyboard pieces flying is just really fun.

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