The Rage Room, which first opened in Toronto in 2015, now has licensees in Budapest, Singapore, Australia and Britain. “We’ve helped a lot of angry couples,” said Stephen Shew, the owner. (His date-night package, $70 for two electronic devices and 20 items of crockery, from lawn gnomes to ceramic vases, is wildly popular on Valentine’s Day.)
For those who would rather act out at home, the online marketplace presents an armory’s worth of what are known as therapy tools. Foam anger bats, for example, start at about $10. At the high end, a pair of well-padded, cherry-red canvas, German-made, jumbo encounter bats cost about $210 and look like something the performance artist Leigh Bowery might have designed as a special kind of evening wear.
There is no such cosseting at the Wrecking Club. The bats and crowbars are solid metal. A starter session costs $30 for 30 minutes with two or three electronic devices and a bucket of dishes. A menu of add-ons — advertised on a white board like daily specials at a restaurant — includes boxes of dishes ($20 for one box; two for $35); laptops ($15); computer monitors ($20); cellphones ($5); and large-screen TVs ($25). The most requested items are laptops, monitors, printers and extra dishes. (Mr. Daly estimates he runs through about 60 to 70 electronic devices each week.)
Finding these materials is one of his biggest challenges. Companies going out of business are an irregular source. Sometimes people donate things, Mr. Daly said, adding that everything smashed at the Wrecking Club is properly recycled.
A year or so ago, Mr. Daly, 29, was bored with his finance job in Stamford, Conn. He quit before it was too late, he said, “to do something really cool.” A cheerful, fresh-faced guy wearing a backward black baseball cap, blue polo shirt and blue linen pants, Mr. Daly has happy memories of demolishing a swing set in his parents’ backyard, at their request, after he and his siblings had left home, and these sparked his imagination. “It was more fun than playing on the swing set,” he said. “The memory stayed with me and that’s what made me think about breaking things.”
The vibe and aesthetic of the Wrecking Club is part CBGB’s basement circa 1977, part Stasi interrogation room. Each room is clad in…