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Why You Break Stuff in my Escape Room and Why It’s Not Personal

The heartbreaking behind the scenes experience of owning an escape room is rarely seen on the customer end. Hundreds of people come through my doors on a weekly basis and I get a call almost daily regarding something that is broken,  or that I need to replace.  When a previous group breaks something, sometimes the following group suffers.  As my costs go higher and higher it’s easy to get bitter.  But it’s not personal, it’s actually somewhat of a compliment (but don’t go around breaking stuff to give an escape room owner a compliment).
Top 5 reasons why it’s not personal when customers break your Escape Room
1.) They’re not in your head, they don’t know what is or is not supposed to open. So when they force that light switch off the wall just to find nothing but wires behind it, it’s because they can’t tell if that’s a puzzle piece or a standard lightswitch.
2.) They’re so excited and want to win that common sense goes out the window.  Remember when I told them 10 times there are no clues in the ceiling? Yet they’re pulling down my ceiling tiles and ripping them in half in the process.  That’s because when I explained the rules, I gave them 15 rules really quickly, in a short amount of time.  The excitement of the room makes people easily forget all of those long boring rules.
3.) All escape rooms are different! Some let you do certain things, and some don’t! What a player may experience in one room they may apply to your room, even though you’ve asked them not to.  It’s easy to forget these things when you have a clock counting down and the adrenaline pumping.
4.) It’s often our own fault! That plastic amazon cryptex I ordered off the internet was not built to be handled for hours a day by tons of people.  So when I have to buy my 4th one, it’s time to start reinforcing my puzzles. Can’t blame others for my own mistakes.
5.) Not everyone breaks things.  When something legitimately breaks (not just getting worn out or needing replacement parts) on a weekly basis, you start to think everyone is breaking something.  But when you realize you have 100’s of components in your room, and hundreds more players go through your room each week, when you get one things that broke, it’s only one person out of hundreds that did it.  So the percentage of people breaking things is not really that high.
So, to the woman that wrote on my walls (that took me two whole days to fix by the way), or to the guy that broke my Cryptex in half, I forgive you and thank you for being a customer.  I love my customers and the shared enthusiasm we have for escape rooms.  Sometimes things break, and I know it’s really not personal, your love for escape rooms and my business keeps me going and mistakes happen.  We hope to see you again soon, hopefully not to break anything, but if you do, we understand!

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