Yes, I have an ING account. Two, in fact. A piece of unsolicited mail from ING landed in my mailbox right about the time I was gearing up to transfer money from an out of state account. ING's high interest rates sold me.
Great interest rates, great website…blah, blah, blah. ING is great! Unless your parents have done you the disservice of calling you by your middle name, and everyone identifies you by your middle name, and, therefore, all checks are written to you using your middle name.
When I opened an ING account, I called to make sure it would not be a problem using my middle name. Not a problem. ING was depositing checks written to my middle and last name for about a month…then it all stopped.
Four phone calls and a month later, I end up with a woman at the ING headquarters (hello, Wilmington)
Never having had this problem with any other bank, be it for a checking account or a loan, I was fuming and considered moving my money at once. Having just gone through a two month battle to get my money from an out of state bank, I was tired and defeated. I gave in. So, please, send all checks to me using my first name. Thanks. (And FU, ING!)
So...on to my first Wilmington lunch. Well, maybe not first, but I really think I have eaten lunch in Wilmington maybe only once before. You see, I am a devout brown bagger – except my lunch bag is a rectangular duck head with googly eyes and a protruding orange bill.
I’ve been dying for months to try out ING Café in
If you don’t know already, ING has internet cafes in Wilmington, Philly, NY, and a few other major cities in the US (Wilmington does not qualify as a major city, but their corporate headquarters are in Wilmington) where you can grab a coffee, a bite to eat, and hop on your own computer or one of the many computers inside the café for free.
Against my better judgment, I hit
The ING propaganda in the café is overwhelming – ING logos on coffee cups, ING merchandise (ING totes for Xmas!), cards on tables advertising their accounts, ING computer homepage, ING ATM, orange plates, orange straws, men wearing orange. Really, it all fades to the background after a while, and you can take advantage of what ING Café truly is good for – coffee and computers.
I’m not a coffee connoisseur. I drink coffee sparingly, and amusingly to great effect as a drug. ING Café serves Peet’s coffee, which apparently is the shit, as it has recently come to Philly and people are going gaga over it. I had a cup. It was coffee. Very strong coffee. Thirteen hours later I was still wired.
Soup of the day, sandwiches, and salads are the main food groups at ING, and change daily – at least in
I went with the only vegetarian sandwich of the day – mozzarella, tomato, and basil on ciabatta bread – which the counter person enthusiastically recommended. (There were some seriously hopped-up on coffee people there – behind the counter and waiting in line. An employee in line in front of me quickly whipped around to ask me if I had gotten some Girl Scout cookies? 'Cause they're handing them out in the lobby! Then whirled back around and proceeded to rhythmically beat the counter with some folded papers. Um...ok.)
Where to sit all by my lonesome amid a sea of corporates grouped at tables still discussing what ever it is they do up in those tall buildings? How about a small table over by the large window wall overlooking the lower level, pseudo-Japanese garden?
While I ate my bland mozzarella, tomato, and basil sandwich – similar to any you’d pick up at an airport or any other sandwich kiosk – a cute ING employee sits at the neighboring table. Oh, yeah!
We are probably the only two people in the entire cafeteria sitting alone - bar those sitting at one of the maybe twenty computers in the cafeteria area. He watches the news on a large-screen TV right above his head, and me. I watch the garden down below, the alien (to me) workers eat, and him. Awkward!
At this point, the lunch venture is not about food, but about my unfamiliar surroundings. I feel like a fly on the wall observing a new culture. I know that office workers are people too, but you have to understand that I've never had a job with a desk or a computer – or such perceived seriousness: informal meetings over lunch, texting, the constant twitching of checking the BlackBerry every thirty seconds.
It's all so serious. Yet, I wonder if it is really necessary. I don't do this at all. Are you office people really that serious, busy, and stressed? Judging from my boyfriend (who does the corporate dance, but, thankfully, doesn't twitch to the BlackBerry), I'm gonna sadly conclude, yes.
After I polish off the sandwich, I stick around to do some more observing of this foreign society and their culture.
The Wilmigton ING Café is huge. Not only is there a large cafeteria with dining tables and computer stations to the right of the lower level lobby (also with dining tables), there's an area to the left of the lobby that's divided into smaller rooms containing couches, cushy chairs, and low coffee table, and, of course, more computers.
Not forgetting the free Girl Scout cookies in the lobby, I grab a few Thin Mints...but a woman behind the table stops me (oh shit, I don't look like I work here) to thank me for all my volunteer work with the Girl Scouts, and offers me an ING-logoed mousepad. Oh, you're welcome, but, no thanks, I think I'll just take a few cookies.
Across the lobby, I find a nearly empty sitting area in the far front corner next to the computer stations. I sit across from a lone man engrossed in the newspaper and last night's leftovers. There's a TV over my head playing the news. Hey, look, the cute guy that sat next to me in the cafeteria is sitting down next to me – again. Awkward!
Why is he following me? Is he attracted to the only girl in the building that looks like a teenage runaway? Can't be? Well, I am wearing my most cleavage-revealing hoodie. (It's times like these that I wish I had cleavage.)
Cute guy's looking at the TV above my head. Or is he looking at me? I have nothing to do – no book to read, BlackBerry to text on, or phone call to make, and all the computers are taken by the ING employees and a group of city kids playing video games and music, and, damn it, I'm not leaving; I have observations to make. I can only stare in different directions. Awkward!
The two of us sit bouncing gazes left, right, up, down...and then...he falls asleep! No lie. I guess he didn't drink the Peet's. And I guess I'm not really that alluring. Sitting inside the parenthesis, looking across the lobby to the entrance of the café.
I quietly sneak out of there, and have a seat at an open computer amongst the kids playing video games and music (more my element) on the outside of the oval, room-like computer station. (Imagine two parenthesis ( ) as the room. Computers line the outside of the parenthesis, and a sitting room is in the interior of the parenthesis.)
You know what? I hate reading or working in public, and I can't use a computer in public, either. But it's nice to know that a computer with free internet connection is available at ING Café.
After an hour of dining and observing the strange society, I'm outta there. Au revouir, sexy corporate men. I've got my own sexy, well-dressed, working man. And he only falls asleep in my presence at appropriate times - bedtime.
ING Café, 802 Delaware Ave., Wilmington, DE, 19801
Mon.-Fri., 7 a.m.-6 p.m.