There’s nothing quite like unbridled destruction to chase the blues away. That’s the philosophy behind Sarah’s Smash Shack, a business in San Diego which provides customers with breakables, such as dishware and glass frames, along with a safe environment to obliterate them. Owner Sarah Lavely first conceived the Smash Shack during her divorce, when she frequently felt compelled to smash things. As quoted in a recent CNN Money article, Lavely says:
"I broke a lot of stuff on my driveway...I wished there was someplace I could go and just [break things], just go nuts. I was sure other people felt like that at times, and I thought I should open a shop where you could do that."
Who knew that being psychotic could lead to pioneering a new service industry? Usually, it just leads to a career in politics.
People have more than marital woes to be angry about these days, and as gas prices rise and markets tumble, the shop has been seeing a steady increase in business. As a service, the Smash Shack seems superfluous—some might say ‘wasteful’, ‘decadent’ and ‘childish’—but maintaining one’s sanity is priceless. Some people are too timid to go to a firing range to blow off steam, but not too timid to lob a few saucers against a stainless steel wall. And besides, if groceries become much more expensive, people won’t need plates, so why not smash them?
Of course, you needn’t bring your own flatware; Lavely has selected only the finest cheap ceramics to deliver the most crack for your buck:
“Ceramic white dinner plates are Lavely's biggest seller, because they require a strong toss and break violently against the wall. Patrons order from a menu that includes items like The House Special (15 plates in 15 minutes for $45), the Six Shooter (six rapid-fire wine glasses for $12) or the Juggernaut (two large jugs for $12.) Value seekers can opt for the Mystery Box: 10 assorted smashables for $25. If you'd like to smash a person, Lavely allows the next best thing - a photo inserted into a very breakable glass frame.”
If they add a Precious Moments Hummel Pummel to their menu, I’m totally there.
Customers can even write messages on the plates before tossing them. This, however, is a tad unsettling because the shards are donated to local schools and art programs, and I dare say that some of those messages will not be appropriate for young eyes. Let’s hope that no more than three letters can fit on most of the remnants.
The Smash Shack is a novel idea, one that may in fact fill a much needed niche, and there is more innovation to be had. After all, maybe some people just want a safe environment to trash their own things (an ex’s record collection, for example, or a mother-in-law’s favorite teapot). Perhaps the management can offer to project the faces of one’s ex or a political figure on the wall. One might even be able to charge one’s HMO for the cost, categorizing it as a form of therapy.
There’s certainly room to expand, and though Lavely isn’t exactly shattering her business goals just yet, the catharsis industry may be a new territory suited for fed-up investors looking to break their own molds. I can’t wait for someone to open an Effigies R’ Us, where you can design your own burnt offerings in the shape of a nemesis and even choose the aromatic wood to be used, be it a Hickory Clinton, a Burning Bush, or even a Balsamic Bin Laden. You just know they’d do gangbusters during barbecue season. In short, when it comes to a new business in your town, rage could be all the rage.