Sometimes I just need a warm and cozy corner to chill between hot dates. New York City in the winter is pretty short on warm and cozy corners unless I want to spend cold cash, which I’m short on lately.
I had a list of appointments and things that needed doing. I did thing #1 and had two hours to kill before thing #2. Since I moved to the “outer boroughs” running home between “things” is really out of the realm of the practical. I’d get home, say hello and goodbye to Mr. Crazy Pants in the one breath, and have to turn around and go right back. So, where’s a girl to go in the cold and blustery, when there’s time to kill and no money to burn?
When interest rates were..well, when they existed, I moved some money to ING online banking. I’ve been with Apple Bank for over 30 years. They were my local bank when I moved to the East Village in ’79 and I’m both lazy and loyal. But in a world where everyone else is using fingerprint scans instead of time cards and key cards, Apple still has chains, padlocks, secret handshakes and keys hidden under the mat. I put up with the ineptitude out of compassion, loyalty and, yes, laziness. Then they raised their ATM rates.
Are you kidding me? I’m already paying $3 from whatever ATM I use on top of which Apple wants another $2? So it costs me $5 to get my own money? I could go directly to an Apple Bank and not pay anything. Sure, I could if there was an Apple Bank around. There are three in Queens. There are 2.3 MILLION people in over 100 square miles of Queens and only three Apple Banks. None of which are remotely close to me.
I could take the train into the city to get my money – two hours traveling in and back, two subway fares. Or, or I could change banks. I’m lazy, but I’m also cheap. And apparently I’m cheaper than I am lazy.
And I remembered ING, the Orange Bank and all their friendly emails, easy online banking, cuddly marketing. There is an ING Direct Cafe between thing #1 and thing #2. It is very orange. The manager wears an orange sweatshirt. They sell orange pens, lip balm, track suits, backpacks, journals, coffee mugs…the list goes on and on.
It is a bit like walking into a bottle of Tang.
The manager was lovely, explaining everything to me, what I could do and how to do it. I’m not hawking one bank over another. That’s a personal decision. Personally, I’m going to be doing as much of my business as I can with ING and I’d be happy to tell you why, personally (email me @ email@example.com) but the best part of the whole experience was…
…it was freezing out. I was between thing #1 and thing #2 and found myself in an ING Direct Cafe where you can just head up the orange stairway to heaven and hang out on the couches or in the lovely spherical orange chairs and read. The bathroom beats Starbucks by an orange mile with video embedded in the mirror and new fangled hand dryers. And, after you purchase absolutely anything (and there is a lot to choose from including snacks) you can use their computers for free for 45 minutes.
I got a cup of tea. For a dollar. 50¢ if I bring my own cup. A large tea. Did I want two tea bags for my dollar? Really? Where else in NY can I spend a single dollar for a large beverage and 45 minutes of free internet. A single dollar spent in a warm and cozy cafe to find out that the “other” blog is too racy for public computers. ING, you totally made my day.