17 Oct2011

Smashing Plates… :)

by Marketman

I cannot even begin to describe how cathartic and satisfying it was to hurl a few plates, and even better, experience the impact and sound of a dinner plate hitting a cement wall and shattering into hundreds of pieces. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. I have always maintained that the best way to maintain one’s sanity when frustrated is to head into a padded room (or up against a huge pillow) and scream at the top of your lungs to just let out all the bad stuff. Let’s just say it helps to lower the blood pressure, and I have notoriously LOW blood pressure. So a few days ago, as I was going through the restaurant’s inventory and finding large anomalies in recording, I chanced upon two large crates of damaged plates and glasses. After four months of operation, we have understandably nicked, cracked, broken some 5-6 dozen plates, a normal occurrence in the business. I removed them from the stock room, sorted out the ones with just nicked rims and offered them to staff who might want to take them home and use them. They may not have been okay for a restaurant, but 90% found homes with the crew who were happy to take them.

I did, however, keep several of the most gravely damaged plates for myself as I wondered out loud what it would be like to smash them against a wall… :) There are places that actually CHARGE you to smash plates against a wall, sometimes you can even put a picture (evil!) of someone or something to serve as your target. I know there is one such place in the hills of Busay in Cebu, and others in Luzon. At any rate, I picked a spot where I had minimal risk of hurting anyone or anything, stood some 20 feet away from the wall, conjured up images of things that needed to to be exorcised and let loose with one of the most powerful pitches I could muster. On the first go, the dinner plate hit the wall almost completely flat, and it shattered BEAUTIFULLY and with such force and sound that I literally felt it and it felt GOOD. Weird in a way, but seriously good. I tried a few more, mostly to get these photos, but the first one was the best. Folks at the office thought I had literally lost my marbles, but before long, a few of them gave it go and they too thought it was extremely satisfying. So just in case you think you are on the edge of losing it, find a safe spot and smash one of those knicked plates you can’t get yourself to throw out, and experience this for yourself!

On a slightly related almost Halloween note, “Smashing Pumpkins” was a name of band from the 1980’s or so. It was named after the juvenile practice of teenagers roaming suburban neighborhoods in the U.S. on Halloween night to “smash carved pumpkins” for fun. The band later changed their name to “The Smashing Pumpkins” to connote the British meaning for “smashing” as being brilliant, handsome, etc. but really, the original inspiration must have been the mean-spirited teenage practice… Today, smashing pumpkins has a slightly high-tech connotation, with pumpkin farmers literally shooting pumpkins out of “cannons” to smash them… drawing crowds and customers to their pumpkin fields, see this New York Times article, here. But the concept is the same. There is some weird satisfaction from destroying, smashing, shattering something…

Photos by Mrs. MM.



  1. paula says:

    haha.. i remember the TAKSYAPO wall in Tarlac (Isdaan Restaurant)..

    Oct 17, 2011 | 8:12 am


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  3. hiddendragon says:

    Isn’t breaking the dishes a Greek custom, but in this case to show appreciation for a really fine meal?

    If so, then yes, maybe your resto deserves a lot of broken plates!

    The plate vendors in Divisoria and Quiapo are only too happy to encourage this trend MM is starting!

    Oct 17, 2011 | 8:24 am

  4. Jun B says:

    Nice capture on the opening shot MM! btw, love the Smashing Pumpkins as well. queue “Bullet with Butterfly Wings”……in spite of my rage, I am still just a rat in a cage….

    Oct 17, 2011 | 8:33 am

  5. millet says:

    great pic, caught at the perfect moment! the shards look like they’re glued to the wall! Wonder what happened to the fence…

    Oct 17, 2011 | 8:34 am

  6. ami says:

    MM, I hope the recording anomalies get sorted out.

    As for taking out my frustration, I’ve always wanted to try recreating this scene on a movie called ‘Office Space’. It’s a movie about unhappy IT programmers. There’s a scene there where they stole the company’s hated defective printer, took it to a grassy lot and took turns destroying the machine with baseballs bats, kicks and punches. Such a classic.

    Thanks for reminding me about The Smashing Pumpkings. I was a fan of their songs in the mid to late 90s and your post reminded me that I should look up their songs for my ipod.

    Oct 17, 2011 | 9:08 am

  7. Dragon says:

    I hope you were thinking of Citibank, etc. when you were smashing your plates – THAT would really be cathartic!

    Oct 17, 2011 | 10:23 am

  8. cumin says:

    While working overseas, a friend found herself unable to resort to the usual stress management techniques and found recourse in smashing plates inside her flat. But mindful that she had to clean up the mess herself, she first wrapped the plates in thick plastic bags.

    Oct 17, 2011 | 10:35 am

  9. Dreaming says:

    The Greeks do it all the time !!

    Oct 17, 2011 | 10:51 am

  10. Ros-Anna says:

    Cathartic! That first photo says it all – beautiful capture!

    Oct 17, 2011 | 11:18 am

  11. titabuds says:

    A scene from the Gloria Diaz-Vic Vargas movie, Andres de Saya, comes to mind, hehe. ;)

    Oct 17, 2011 | 11:28 am

  12. joey says:

    This is what Aristotle Onassis used to do :) There was a Greek restaurant in Malate (years ago) where you could also pay for a stack to break…but I think it was more a celebratory thing.

    This is so timely — because I think I need to break a few plates myself right now!

    Oct 17, 2011 | 1:57 pm

  13. marilen says:

    I had thought about this for a long while – whew, I can see why it would feel so GOOD!! Hurt no one, but release all the bile from the system.

    Oct 17, 2011 | 9:35 pm

  14. giancarlo (Quezon City) says:

    I find this relaxing too.

    Oct 17, 2011 | 10:36 pm

  15. JE says:

    I remember seeing video years ago of the Japanese doing this. They’d put you in a room with a brick wall, you’d tie a bandanna on your forehead, then they’d give you a buttload of plates and even some big fancy-looking vases for you to go and smash against the brick wall, all probably while letting out a fierce scream to purge your stress.

    Oct 17, 2011 | 11:54 pm

  16. Eloise Daniot says:

    Hi Sir! hahaha I like that idea! By the way, I’d like to take this chance to thank you for offering me a good glass of iba shake on the house, when my boyfriend and I made our first visit to your Mango Av. resto :) I was quite starstruck and stammered when you came to give me the happy glass of iba shake. You asked me if I am not from Cebu, but yes I am. We were so happy with our food that we came back again the week after that. This was in the first week of September. I just happened to chance on your blog a few days ago. Good luck and more power to you and your endeavors. :)

    Oct 18, 2011 | 12:05 am

  17. MP says:

    Still deciding which is more cathartic: smashing plates or bashing my enemy’s head with a fish pan…

    Oct 18, 2011 | 3:29 am

  18. MP says:

    Oppss hubby suggested that MM construct a wall in his outdoor venue where pictures of corrupt politicians are posted and customers can smash plates on their faces! Now that would be the ultimate joy….

    Oct 18, 2011 | 3:31 am

  19. Marketman says:

    MP, hahaha, yes a wall of shame. Fish pan still wins… but since it’s illegal to assault someone with a fishpan, I will stick to the legal options for now… :) Eloise, thanks for dropping by the restaurant, and glad you enjoyed the food… JE, yes a simultaneous yell/scream adds to the release… Joey, didn’t know I was in good company with Ari :) I think some Spaniards do it too after they cut up their roast pigs with a plate, they break the plate…

    Oct 18, 2011 | 5:40 am

  20. Betchay says:

    Great timing Mrs. MM! Did you use the burst mode of your camera? This smashing of plates is really a good stress reliever just like yelling…..you have to release the tension building inside you.BTW I can imagine what good fun relationship you two have even with a teenage daughter around….Mrs. MM patiently waiting with camera in hand to capture the best shot of MM’s like- a-kiddo stress reliever! ;)

    Oct 18, 2011 | 1:36 pm

  21. sister says:

    You could have a plate smashing wall with entry fee to be given to charity (maybe feeding program). Since restaurants usually figure 30% breakage in one year you could easily have enough chipped plates to use, and you might even get rejects donated by your potter cousin. Luckily plates from China are now so inexpensive that one can easily replace the damaged ones.
    Always discard chipped plates as they can harbor bacteria not to mention being unsightly. I am always amazed that many folks out there keep serving themselves and others on chipped plates. At the very least one may get injured by the sharp edges.

    Oct 18, 2011 | 6:55 pm

  22. Indian Bazaars says:

    Liked this as a photograph! Great idea! Enjoyed reading the comments from other readers as well. Seems like something we can ALL relate to! The “plates from China are now so inexpensive…” was my favourite!

    Oct 18, 2011 | 8:04 pm

  23. Connie C says:

    Don’t some cultures smash, break plates during a wedding celebratory ritual, sort of? Jews? Greeks?
    Footloose: Help!

    Oct 18, 2011 | 8:37 pm

  24. Lava Bien says:

    I used to kick empty cardboard boxes at the back of the old restaurant I used to work at. Let’s just I never lost my cool out on the floor with any customers, I kept my smile and got constantly good tips to pay for my college.
    Now I just kick bags and kicking pads for fun and fitness!

    Oct 19, 2011 | 2:07 am

  25. Kristine del Gallego says:

    i like the shot! z:)

    Oct 19, 2011 | 5:49 pm

  26. Mila says:

    That pumpkin anecdote reminded me of a surreal Halloween I spent in Thailand one year; this American colleague of mine decided to “impress” his Thai friends by first teaching them how to carve jack o’lanterns (out of mini pumpkins) then having them take pot shots at them with a bibi gun. He was getting a bit too enthusiastic about the shooting part until a sizeable pumpkin shard ricocheted and hit him in the eye.

    Oct 19, 2011 | 11:14 pm

  27. Diane says:

    The first time I heard of smashing plates for fun was, I think, from a sitcom in the 1980s or 90s. I think it was from “Perfect Strangers” where Balki takes cousin Larry to a restaurant where they have to break plates or something? Anyone remember that episode? :)

    Oct 20, 2011 | 1:13 am

  28. marissewalangkaparis says:

    Ha ha ha…I love how crazy you can be at times…this post is great. I should do this once …ha ha ha…

    Oct 23, 2011 | 12:01 pm

  29. Eileen says:

    I love my kitchen stuff and would hate to see them break. So for “anger management”, I use things that I am not very attached to such as computer mouses, portable keyboards, ashtrays, remote controls and my personal favorite, empty glass bottles. :)

    Oct 23, 2011 | 9:18 pm

  30. betty q. says:

    We recycle glass bottles over here, MM…so the other day, instead of just dropping it gently, I purposely threw the bottles inside the bin agressively. I figured this is the best place …I need not clean up my mess after!

    Oct 24, 2011 | 11:17 am


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