We enter a huge plus-shaped room in the Plus Center, four corridors of seats radiating from a middle cube. Hundreds of people file in, guided by staff wearing green t-shirts with Good Grows Good printed on the back in alternating primary colors. While we settle on emerald plush velvet vibrating seats with massage options, a voice croons the MoreCorp slogan, as if from the heavens, sounding super satisfied. Good grows good, mmmm…mmm…baby, it sure does.
This must be the Plus Room –- oft discussed, never seen on screen. I didn’t expect it to be this …green. It’s very verdant, all the shades, a resonant quilt that works on many levels, evoking nostalgia for nature and reminding those assembled in the great hall of the headquarters of the most important corporation in the world of our purpose, our prime directive: Plus this.
Grow the economy. Get the greenies. Like the room’s styling, this directive is meant to serve many purposes and speak to many people. Everyone wins. Still, I can’t help thinking of Daisy’s warning — not everyone can win. She wasn't kidding. Last I heard, a TLDR teammate stabbed her and she was fleeing south to X-Mex.
But now is not the time to reflect, as laughing child faces of all the eliminated races appear on slowly lowering screens, singing in English. The screens rise quickly, revealing a man onstage applauding the crowd. We meet his glee and raise it with happy hoots.
“That’s right, guys! Give yourselves a big cheer! MoreCorp knows how hard it is to get here. Hi, I'm Pepsi Johnson. And you're part of our community! Right on!” The crowd hollers and he laughs while turning expertly for the room.
Simultaneously, a square stage rises from the floor and another applauding man ascends with it. His stage stops when he’s standing higher than Pepsi, who introduces him with a happy shout. “Steak Williams everyone, the finest cut on the MoreCorp porker!”
"Thanks Pepsi." Steak waves. He speaks softly at first, working his way up to a shout. “For each of you, there's a million who wanna be in your place. More. But they’re not here. You are. Is it cuz you’re lucky? Yes. But also, you work hard and we do too, so let’s do this and let’s get it done!”
The crowd is completely crazy, standing and stomping. Steak puts a finger to his lips to hush us. “Welcome to MoreCorp, where we see potential in everyone, even lowlifes. But we’ll tell you more about that when we talk Good Guys. First,” he says with a sneaky smile, as if it just occurred to him, “let’s all stand up and hug our neighbors. How about that?”
Steak does not hug Pepsi on the stage just below, merely observes others hug. Wolf and I grin wryly during the exercise. I’m in the aisle seat, so spared another encounter, but Wolf is caught in the gruff embrace of a Thor so enormous he is dwarfed for the first time in his life. Steak signals us to sit down.
He is serious now. “Ok y’all. We need to talk.” The audience murmurs its assent and the speaker whispers intimately. “We need to have a face-2-face, what do you say?”
Screens descend from the ceiling again, showing a montage accompanied by rousing pop music. It's MoreCorp’s greatest hits, collaboration and creative play, starting with the founders in the fabled garage and bringing us to today. Workers whiteboard and brainstorm and trust fall into each others’ arms as the narrator explains it takes a great corporation to make a village that works for the world.
The montage shifts, showing Good Guys of all kinds working at home and abroad to grow good for the greater good. Finally, the satisfied crooning that greeted us on arrival resumes as a yellowed image of the young founders from once upon a time reminds all that even Super Men start small.
The vid ends, screens rise, and Steak is visible again. “You’re blessed to be here but details have to get squared away.” The allusion in the room of squares prompts audience amusement. “Once small stuff’s sorted we'll focus on the big picture, working and playing for our company and our world, which is one now, thanks to MoreCorp!"
"They said it couldn’t be done guys,” He shrugs as if amazed at the naysayers. “But we did do it and we'll keep doing it with or without you. PeopleOps is a priority. Operations strives to provide the widest array of labor solutions and you are the people it chose. We rely on everyone. But we don’t need any one of you. That’s the key to our suxess with smart creatives and even cleaning staff…"
"Not that cleaners are dumb, guys. That’s not what I meant." Steak shrugs at his foolishness, eliciting audience feels. Sympathetic giggles sound. He continues. “My point is simple. We heart you and we know good can't be grown alone. For MoreCorp executives to reach their fullest potential even cleaning staff has to give the very best. So let’s do that. Because it pays to be great.”
Again a smaller stage rises, this time beside Steak. He turns to the crowd and shouts, “What you’ve been waiting for!”
I pinch Wolf, whispering, “A job?”
“That’s right y’all — bots!” Steak opens the big pink box beside him. The sides all automatically collapse outward, revealing three pastel creatures moving in mechanical circles. Wolf looks at me and grins, as if delighted by how wrong I am.
Meanwhile, Steak gives us the scoop. “So, these little ladies are tek-pets in sweet sorbet shades for super soothing. Our independent research says these pets are good for your health. Also, we're a doge company — y'all know that, right?”
He explains the experiment. “So, MoreCorp is making the sorbet series available to you to dogefood. That's what we call the product testing process and you get to participate in this iteration. It's a special treat before we mass-produce them."
Steak takes a swig of his drink, then grabs a fuzzy lavender doge turning beside him, struggling to stop its insistent legs. He laughs as he grasps the moving mechanical limbs, holding them still as they whir and he speaks.
"Don’t worry, guys. You won’t be eating or feeding the pets! The bot offers all the love of a doge with no inconveni — no poop, chewing, gnawing or scratching, just satisfaction. And it’s simple. Here's how it works. If you’re having a hard day, check out a pet from the tek-rest, where there's also mice and other devices, and enjoy! Just send a detailed critique when you're done." Steak puts the pet back down. "That’s dogefood! You chew it. We do it!”
This brings everyone to their feet. We're psyched about sorbet tek-pets and Steak Williams and dogefood! We are primed for the point. Steak provides, “Really what we’re doing here is growing good. It’s our recipe. It’s always worked for us and we’re not gonna change it. Your job is to promote our brand and make us shine. Be more awesome at everything and everything will be more awesome (as if that’s even possible)!”
“What the fux,” Wolf growls. I agree with an eye roll, which is also a warning to keep quiet. Steak is not finished. This porker will never stop talking!
“Good grows good. Think about it. We do. It’s what made us number one, competition, fighting for our company and communities! It’s recognizing our blessings and humbly helping the luckless. That’s more-more, the special something that makes MoreCorp people special. Whether it’s donating old tek devices or precious time, every bit counts, and we deduct it all from our taxes." Steak sighs deeply, to emphasize his sincerity and hopefulness. "So grow good, and we’ll be by your side because that’s how we got here and that’s what we do!”
He pirouettes now, announcing, “Finally, I’m gonna hand it back to to a great Good Guy, this guy who’s been waiting patiently while we interface. Everyone, a hand for Pepsi Johnson!”
A spotlight shines on the first speaker. Pepsi talks slow, in a low tone, looks older, like he’s matured since the meeting started, perhaps grown wiser listening to Steak's meaty morsels. Somberly, he instructs, “You can always be more humble and do more. That’s what we believe."
Pepsi raises his voice. "Do more. More what, you ask. More of what brought you here -- giving, good and growth. Just cuz that’s our ask, like, from ourselves. And the thing is, you’ll see. The more you give, the more you get.” He pauses for effect. “So, once you have SecOps clearance, scan our internal interwebs for info on the Giving Wiki. Donate and we’ll give too! The MoreCorp brand grows as our community benefits."
"It’s not magic, guys. It’s logic.” Pepsi taps his skull to indicate sensible thinking, or perhaps he’s reading the speech on a brain screen and it’s crapping out. Regardless, he ends with a rousing call to action that sets the audience aflame again. His last words are barely heard though he shouts. “So what do you say?! LET'S GROW GOOD TODAY!!!!”