Smash rooms doing good business as Covid frustrations mount
As the Netherlands faces another holiday season with coronavirus restrictions, Covid-19 frustrations are mounting. And the businesses offering options for expressing that anger, hopelessness, and frustration notice. Entrepreneurs offering smash rooms or rage rooms, where customers can smash cutlery or swing an ax at a wall to their heart's content, are doing good business, NOS reports.
"Suffering from corona stress? Frustrations about the lockdown or the curfew? Release the beast in you and destroy everything in the room." That reads the website of one of the Netherlands' smash rooms. The phenomenon blew over from Japan and America in 2016 but recently gained popularity.
"We have nearly 100 different activities for people to choose from, but the Smash Room is definitely most popular," Sandor van den Brand, owner of Dagje uit Breda [Day out Breda], said to the broadcaster. "We have about 90 bookings every day."
Brian Savelkouls, the owner of Rage Room Fun, also saw his business thrive in the pandemic. "Almost everyone has their own reason for coming over," he said to NOS. "People come with stories of what they are no longer allowed to do because of the coronavirus measures and how they feel that everything is being taken away from them." According to him, customers arrive cursing and ranting, and he offers a safe place to let out those suppressed emotions.
Expressing emotions by yelling, crying, or breaking things can feel liberating. Still, it does not solve any problems in itself, warned Arie Dijkstra, professor of social psychology at the University of Groningen. Though there is an appeal in screaming at the sea or smashing plates against a wall with those close to you, he said to NOS. "We're all in this pandemic together, and if you feel bad, you want to get rid of that," Dijkstra said. "In a group, you are embedded, and you feel more powerful."