Have you ever felt it bubbling inside you? That seed of rage? You get cut off while driving. The postal service delivers your package, clearly marked fragile, looking as if someone punted it across the 50-yard line. I get it. Life is stressful and unfair, and people are rude, and sometimes, all you want to do is scream. But you can’t do that at the DMV. So you smile and nod and go home fuming, wondering when you can let it all out.
Fortunately for you, Springfield is now home to a little corner of release thanks to Brittany and Chris Yarnton. The two opened The Rage Room as a space where you can let out all your stored-away frustration. Chris had been scrolling through social media and saw the concept of a rage room—a space in which people with bats and hammers and golf clubs can beat the living s%!* out of bottles and plates and furniture. Sounds primitive? Think back to how angry you were when you drove past a construction zone and had to get new tires because of the nails that got embedded in them. Rage rooms probably sound a little less ridiculous now, don’t they?
Even though the initial concept of a rage room is rooted in stress release, ultimately the activity is geared more toward fun. You feel (and look!) like a badass when you smash a TV with a baseball bat, and it’s way more fun when your friends are there cheering you on.
The Yarntons looked for a location that would accommodate their business’s unique needs—specifically seclusion. This is key because when clients get smashing and the music is bumping, The Rage Room quickly becomes that obnoxious apartment of frat brothers partying on the floor above you. Chris and Brittany handled all of the renovations by themselves—between their full-time jobs of running a small engine repair shop and being a real estate agent, respectively.
When you step inside the bright lobby, you see the large plywood room that will house your upcoming shenanigans. There’s even a plexiglass window so you can know what you’re getting into. Tucked behind the room is a space stocked floor to ceiling with breakable items. Drinking glasses, mugs, plates, wine bottles, televisions, desks, chairs… You name it, the Yarntons have it. A lot of the inventory is gathered from estate sales, but they accept donations as well.
Packages at The Rage Room vary in price, time and how much you destroy. Some packages include large items, like furniture, and others include a modest few bottles and dishes. The time limits, the shortest being 10 minutes, seem short, but once you start swinging, you wear out quickly.
When you arrive, you sign a waiver and then suit up in an oompa loompa–looking safety suit, hard hat, gloves and goggles. Even if you tried to pump yourself up by blasting some trap rap in your car on the way there, your self-confidence will quickly deflate if you peep at yourself in the mirror while all suited up. So, don’t do that.
When Brandon Alms, our senior photographer, and I arrived for our mid-morning smash session, Brittany stocked the room with bottles, mugs, office supplies and doors while we got ready. She let us pick our music—we picked out some Cardi B—and gave us some safety rules before setting us loose.
This is where I have to be brutally honest. I was not in a raging mood that day. It was early in the morning, I had a wonderfully restful night of sleep, I ate a healthful breakfast, and I was feeling unusually good. That’s not exactly the mindset you want to be in before you go all Office Space on a printer. Luckily, I had Brandon with me, and he had just won a competitive weightlifting event days before, so I was relying on him to bring that much-needed adrenaline.
I first eyed up a line of bottles and swung a bat at it. Then I looked up and saw a massive shard of glass fly toward Brandon’s eyes—which are pretty much his whole career as a photographer and designer. After that, I became a timid little weenie and was afraid of the shrapnel the rest of the session. Brandon, however, did not hold back. He busted down the door I got the sledgehammer stuck in (again, weenie), and he was able to totally obliterate the computer monitor I had merely dented with my weak fettucine arms.
The tools of destruction included golf clubs, metal baseball bats, sledgehammers, a fake sword and even a rolling pin. We smashed and swung and kicked and threw things for what seemed like ages (I later found out it was about 18 minutes) until we managed to break everything we could. Then, we exhaled, left the room, left the mess and went home.
Ultimately, you do feel a sense of release after smashing the daylights out of everything you were instructed not to touch as a child. “As for stress relief, it does help, just from the people who come in here and what they say and how they feel afterward,” Brittany says. However, this really is more of a social thing. It’s fun to do something wild with your friends, and if you get to bust a beer bottle like you just won a bar fight without facing any criminal charges, well, that’s a win for everyone.