Angrily smashing computers, plates, whatever encouraged in new Rage Room

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CHICAGO — Modern life is full of frustrating interactions with inanimate objects. Phones with no service. Unwashed dishes. Jammed printers. It’s hard to fight the urge to smash them all to bits.

Now Chicagoans can cut their destructive urges loose at a new Rage Room in River North: grab a bat, take a swing, and smash away.

“It’s cheaper than a therapist sometimes, as we like to say, so it’s good to get it all out,” Escapades owner Joe Lupa jokes. “Once you smash some stuff it’s like a weight is lifted off your shoulders.”

“Rage Rooms” began in Japan around 2008, where customers visiting The Venting Room and others would pay to get the chance to smash plates and assumedly vent their anger. The idea quickly caught on and spread around the world.  

Escapades’ Rage Room pened just four months ago. Lupa said the idea came from overhearing customers discuss destroying the furniture in an Atlanta escape room where he was working at the time. And of course, by the iconic scene in “Office Space” where workers smash their printer nemesis to bits.

Here’s how it works: customers can rent the room for as little as $15 and choose from a closet of smashable stuff, including plates, printers and computer monitors. People who want to BYO can bring along whatever they want to smash as well; something a few recently-single individuals have embraced, Lupa said.

"if it fits through the door we will pretty much let it in, as long as it’s not pressurized or anything too dangerous,” Lupa said.

Then after donning protective gear, selecting their smashing theme song and choosing their weapon of choice (sledgehammer, bat or crowbar?), customers can swing away. Destruction is tiring, but the Rage Room can be a group activity as well. Just tag in a friend and they can get their chance to smash until time runs out.

But is it actually “therapeutic?” Lupa says he’s been pretty “Zen” since opening.

“There’s a therapeutic aspect to bringing emotions out in a physical way,” he said.

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