Ottawa

Feeling angry? Try smashing things in a rage cage

Most stores enforce the policy, “You break it, you buy it.” In Lawrence Rogers’s rage cage, you buy it to break it.

New business in Perth is encouraging some 'out-rage-ous' behaviour

Debra Clark says she likes to let loose in the rage cage after a busy day working in a restaurant. (Ash Abraham/CBC)

Most stores enforce the policy, "You break it, you buy it." In Lawrence Rogers's shop, you buy it to break it. 

Rogers recently converted his family's auto body shop on the outskirts of Perth, Ont., into a rage cage. 

"My son saw [the idea] online. It looked like a lot of fun, so we built one. It's the only one in eastern Ontario so far that I know of," said Rogers.

Lawrence Rogers, owner of what he bills eastern Ontario's first rage cage, wishes he had access to a rage cage when his car recently broke down. “You want to break your car, but it's already broken. But here, you can smash anything you want," he joked. (Ash Abraham/CBC)

The concept is part of a larger trend across North America, and goes by names such as smash room, rage room or rage cage. 

Watch customers smash things up at The Axe Shop 3:04

Customers at The Axe Shop Axe Throwing and Rage Cage take out their stress on an assortment of glassware, electronics and appliances in a safe environment. They select "weapons" like bats, sledgehammers or golf clubs to decimate items. 

Jesse Wright suits up before entering the rage cage. Visitors must wear overalls, neck protection and a face mask to protect themselves from flying glass and particles. (Ash Abraham/CBC)

A friend of Rogers supplies the rage cage with flea market objects that would otherwise be headed to the dump. Vacuums, lamps and even stereo equipment can all be smashed. Packages range from $10 to $100. Rogers also offers his patrons "tea time," where they can tee up and smash cups with a golf club. 

Jesse Wright smashes a row of dishes in the rage cage. (Ash Abraham/CBC )

Jesse Wright uses the rage cage to blow off steam at the end of the day.

"I work in a brewery, and it takes a lot of hard work to make good beer. Instead of taking it out in the workplace, I can take it out here," said Wright. 

After a few minutes in the rage cage, Wright said he feels calmer and ready to go back to work.

Visitors can go full "Office Space" and smash electronics like printers and keyboards to relieve stress. (Ash Abraham/CBC )

Debra Clark finds time spent in the rage cage helps to manage her mental health.

"I am bipolar. I'm up and I'm down. But when I am in the middle, I have a hard time. And things like this — sports and activities that allow you to really do something — are what I really need sometimes," said Clark. 

Does raging bring peace?

Although some may shed pent-up emotions in the cage, experts warn that rage rooms are not an effective form of anger management. 

Latchman Narain is a psychotherapist who specializes in anger management.

"It temporarily relieves physical and psychological pain, which may provide psychological relief. But it could also prolong one's angry feelings and make it worse," he said.

But for Rogers, if someone leaves his rage cage a little less stressed, he feels he's done his job.

"It's good fun. And, I've never seen anybody leave without a smile," he said. 

Most stores enforce the policy, "You break it, you buy it," but in Lawrence Roger's rage cage, you buy it to break it. 4:31

About the Author

Ash Abraham

CBC Ottawa Reporter

Ash Abraham welcomes story ideas and tips at ash.abraham@cbc.ca