In this edition of Eat the Rich Weekly, the President and CEO of MillerKnoll, a company hawking the uninspired and overpriced furniture that likely litters your own place of employment, told staffers inquiring about a bonus via Zoom to “leave pity city.”
Andi Owen, the woman at the helm of MillerKnoll who took home just shy of $5 million (including a $1.2 million bonus) in 2022, hopped on a video call last week to inform employees that from where she’s sitting in Very Bad Person Valley, they have some gall for asking for an acknowledgement of their labor.
“Questions came through about, ‘How can we stay motivated if we’re not going to get a bonus...What can we do? What can we do?’” Owen began in the viral clip of what appears to be an internal meeting. “Some of them were nice, and some of them were not so nice.” Gee, lady who looks like she took a little too much inspiration from the litany of Gwyneth Paltrow litigation chic think-pieces, I wonder why some questions would be unkind...
“I’m going to address this head on,” she continued. “The most important thing we can do right now is focus on the things that we can control. None of us could’ve predicted covid, none of us could’ve predicted supply chain, none of us could’ve predicted bank failures. But what we can do, is stay in front of our customers, provide the best customer service we can, get our orders out our door, treat each other well, be kind, be respectful, focus on the future, because it will be bright.”
If you’re thinking that this simply sounds like some garden variety white woman toxic positivity, you’re right! But as it often does, the veil soon slipped.
“Don’t ask about, ‘What are we going to do if we don’t get a bonus?’ Get the damn $26 million dollars,” Owen demanded, her voice hitting the same octave my mother’s did when I told her forgot to file my taxes until last week. “Spend your time and your effort thinking about the $26 million dollars we need and not thinking about what you’re going to do if you don’t get a bonus. Alright? Can I get some commitment for that?”
Of course, Owen did not receive an audible reply from her underlings, but I have to assume one slip of the mute button would’ve revealed some expletives. I have no trouble imagining the employee group text was pretty lit, too.
“I had an old boss who said, ‘You can visit pity city, but you can’t live there,’” Owen concluded. “So, people, leave pity city! Let’s get it done.” Spoken like a true pink power suit capitalist SheEO—namely one that bought up a lot of shares in her own company’s stock and told the New York Times she often longs for the good old days when she lived in Berkeley where she could “walk down the street and everyone thought the same way.”
If anyone from MillerKnoll is reading this: Buy property in Pity City. I can assure you, you can afford it.