I thought there would be some sort of mental hurdle, but no -- once I picked up a glass plate, there was no hesitation to hurl against the wall.
It shattered, obviously. That’s the whole point.
Twenty minutes, a baseball bat, a sledgehammer, a box of glassware, and a newly-busted computer monitor and printer later, the rage room was a disaster. I left midway through “Damaged Goods” by Gang of Four, the last song on my playlist, feeling calm but invigorated, if a bit sweaty under the jumpsuit and hard hat.
Patty and Lonnie Britt opened Patty's Pummel Palace, 3217 Avenue of the Cities, Moline, in February. They’ve been welcoming “bad attitudes” to destroy glass and electronics or punch a dummy with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton masks ever since.
Megyn Kelly was actually the inspiration, Patty said.
Patty saw a segment for “Megyn Kelly Today” where Kelly raged in New York, and was stunned by what the experience appeared to do for the TV personality.
“I thought [Kelly] was so uptight, but afterward she was actually likeable and someone I could drink with,” Patty said.
It took a few months after that, but she was finally able to convince her husband, Lonnie Britt, to open Patty’s Pummel Palace as a retirement project. Patty will retire from being an X-ray technician in two months.
“I know I’d be bored [if I stopped working],” she said. “But I’m getting too old to push these patients around. I want to do something fun.”
Most of their customers are women -- Lonnie Britt estimated about 70% are women between the ages of 25 and 35.
“We evidently have a lot of rage,” Patty said.
Even so, she said she hasn’t really gone into one of the rooms for her own reign of destruction since they opened -- she should, though, she added. Lonnie admitted he just breaks whatever is left while he cleans up after a customer.
There are packages for 20-minute sessions, depending on your frustration levels: from a $20 “Hissy Fit” to a $40 “Furious Rage.” There are also packages for date night “couples therapy” or a tag team -- electronics and extra glass and dishware are available to add to any package a la carte.
About 10 minutes into my session, Lonnie popped in to ask if I wanted to add a printer.
“People love doing printers because of ‘Office Space,’ ” he said, putting one down on the pile of broken glass that had accumulated from the plates, masks and grandmotherly trinkets I had already trashed.
If you have a broken heart from shattered relationship, there’s also the option to bring your own box of stuff to destroy.
Unless you’re bringing your own box, everything is donated. The Britts’ know the owner of Doc’s Inn in Silvis, Illinois, who saves liquor bottles for them. A non-profit resale sends over boxes of glassware because it “just doesn’t sell.” Electronics are donated by people who don’t want to go through the hassle of recycling devices. After they’re busted open, they’re taken to Scott County to be recycled.
For the first time, the Britts’ are starting to think about what to do if their customers outpace their donations.
After a slow start, Lonnie Britt said a television appearance gave the business a significant “bump.”
“We’ve made a big dent in the stock the last few weeks,” he said.
As Patty Britt inches closer to retirement, she’s looking forward to moving off her third-shift schedule and “being a normal person.”
“It’s completely different from the hospital,” she said. “People want to be here.”