Synopsis: The protagonist (me, coincidentally) of this story has to make a demand draft to pay his college fees, and send it to the college. I present a comparison of his adventures in the two major institutions required to complete a task of this magnitude: the bank, and the post office.
To keep the competition fair, I selected a nationalized company for both services.
Bank: UCO Bank, Memnagar, Ahmedabad
Post: Post Office, Navrangpura, Ahmedabad
Our hero (again, me) evaluated both these heavyweights in a variety of categories:
Distance from home:
The bank is at five minutes’ walking distance from my house. The post office, on the other hand, is ten minutes in an autorickshaw. Though autorickshaw is an added expense, I avoid walking amongst the puddles and get more time to gather the courage required to face government employees (referred to as gollums hereafter). The post office draws first blood here.
Post Office 1 Bank 0
The bank required me to know who I wanted to make the demand draft for, what amount it was for, and a bunch of similar uninteresting details.
Post office asked for just the desired destination of the speed post.
Post Office 2 Bank 0
The bank asked me to fill in a form for the DD. For the post office, I had to fill in the address on an envelope. Spoils shared.
Post Office 3 Bank 1
At the bank, there were three gollums: the cashier, the assistant manager, and a someone. I took the form to the cashier who looked at me over the top of his glasses and instructed me to go to the assistant manager, who in turn directed me to the someone; the someone looked at my form and directed me back to the assistant gollum, who finally realized he would HAVE to attend to my request. He examined the form with utter disdain, trying to find some mistake. Foiled. He then did something on his computer, made a complex design on my form and sent me to the someone. The someone stamped the form and sent me back to the previous man. I ping-ponged twice more before the thing was finally ready to be made. “We’ll let it simmer for fifteen minutes, then you can take it,” announced the someone triumphantly.
The post office couldn’t be more different. I had just one gollum to tackle who handled everything.
Post Office 4 Bank 1
At the bank, the gollums were constantly doing some work, whether it be entering transaction details, approving transactions or attending to customers; even if they made me wait for some time, I could make out they were doing something important.
At the post office, the speed post gollum was a dud (no, not a dude, a dud). He kept counting all the money in his drawer after every transaction (WHY?), expecting it to magically increase, and thus frustrating everyone in the queue (including our fearless protagonist).
Post Office 4 Bank 2
The bank charged me Rs 240 for just making the draft.
The post office took Rs 25 for sending it to a God-forsaken place 500 kilometres away.