New Yorkers Break Conventions by Breaking Dishes, Old Electronics

By Miguel Moreno
Miguel Moreno
Miguel Moreno
Reporter
Miguel Moreno is a reporter based in New York City who works for the Epoch Media Group. His main area of focus is breaking news and politics.
October 28, 2018 Updated: November 15, 2018

NEW YORK—New Yorkers are picking up aluminum bats not to play ball, but to take a swing at mom’s forgotten dishes and obsolete technology—all while beating the stress out of themselves.

In August 2018, Jeffrey Yip opened The Rage Cage in Manhattan where couples, friends, and lone berserkers can unleash their aggression on electronics and more for the sake of destressing or having fun.

The Rage Cage is not the first business to open “rage rooms,” (also known as destruction rooms) in the United States. Since 2008 various rage rooms have opened across the nation, and this is the second in New York City.

The growing number of rage rooms has not only caught the attention of hot-heads, but also psychologists who have raised concerns over the nature of the practice and the long-term effects of venting anger in a violent way to relieve stress.

Spray-painted rules in The Rage Cage.
Wall of Rules in The Rage Cage (Tiffany Meier/The Epoch Times)

The Build Up

Rage rooms made their way to the United States after Katsuya Hara opened a plate-smashing business with the purpose of relieving workers’ stress in Tokyo, Japan called “The Venting Place” in 2008.

Ten years later, the idea struck Yip as he was brainstorming business concepts with former co-workers. “What if there was a place where you could just go and pay money to break electronics and smash plates?”

Since its opening, the rage room has attracted a diverse group of customers with varying intentions for destroying outdated video game consoles with a crowbar.

“Some people come here to have fun. You know, take pictures. Go on a first date,” said Yip. “I say most of our customers are couples. It’s very rare that someone really comes, you know, for anger reasons.”

Some rage rooms, though, say they aim to provide a therapeutic experience to elevate the customer’s mood. Rage rooms such as Las Vegas’s Sin City Smash say on their website that destruction therapy can lead to a “more productive and positive lifestyle.”

Elizabeth destroys a laptop.
Elizabeth Yip at The Rage Cage (Tiffany Meier/The Epoch Times)

Best for Fun, Not for Therapy  

In a 2016 article about the pitfalls of rage rooms from the University of Michigan, clinical associate professor and psychologist, Rick Warren, Ph.D., broke away from the notion of “getting it out” to relieve stress.

Warren referenced a 2002 study titled: “Does Venting Anger Feed or Extinguish the Flame? Catharsis, Rumination, Distraction, Anger and Aggressive Responding” where it was found that imagining someone’s face on an object and beating it is the worst possible advice to give someone dealing with anger issues, as it only makes them angrier and more aggressive.

New York psychologist J. Ryan Fuller, Ph.D., agrees. He says he doesn’t know of any rage room studies specifically, but he was able to speak about existing studies on anger.

“There is scientific evidence that shows that by doing things like hitting an object, you may actually increase the likelihood of aggression in the future.”

For this reason, Fuller recommends that there be an ongoing assessment of some sort.

“In general, with anything … if you want to understand the impact you’re having you would just continue to assess. Is it working? Do people feel better afterward?”

According to Yip, The Rage Cage is not a place for people who have mental health issues, nor is it a form of long-term therapy. More so, The Rage Cage is for those having a tough day or week who are looking for temporary relief and a smashing good time.

Protective coveralls worn by Miguel Moreno (Tiffany Meier/The Epoch Times)
The Rage Cage protective coveralls. (Tiffany Meier/The Epoch Times)

Fuller says it makes sense that people find this activity fun since people like breaking norms. He also said that an argument could be made for people who go there to have fun, as long as they don’t have a serious issue. Moreover, rage rooms should never be the exclusive outlet for people dealing with anger problems.

He suggests instead, “they can learn how to cope and manage their emotions whether it’s stress or sadness or embarrassment or anger using all these techniques like relaxation, like cognitive coping skills, [and] better communication skills.”

Miguel Moreno
Miguel Moreno is a reporter based in New York City who works for the Epoch Media Group. His main area of focus is breaking news and politics.