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Standing Up For Yourself In A Helpful Way

I bought a used car in Adelaide and within less two weeks, one tire had a slow leak. I was also told that I needed four new tires. I decided to go back to the dealer and ask for the money.

Days 345-346

After dropping Brittany off at the Adelaide airport, I drove to the camping store to return my air mattress. Upon returning it, I realized why it blew up like a giant oval. It was self-inflating, so air is supposed to go inside when you open the nozzle (I didn’t need to blow air into it). Either way, it didn’t provide much, if any, comfort, so I returned it. 

I walked next door to a car shop where I bought washer fluid and new wipers. Next, I drove to a tire shop (spelled tyre in Australia) to figure out what was wrong with one of my tires. I had to put air in it twice, and it appeared that it had a slow leak. 

The man quickly took my car inside while I waited in the lobby. He came out to tell me that all of my tires were bald. He said that my alignment had been off for a while, so the insides of the tires were worn unevenly. The man took me to the back of the shop where all of my tires were lying on the ground. He explained that I should replace all four tires. There was a special going on – buy three tires, get one for free. The total price for four new tires and an alignment was $500. 

I didn’t want to have car problems in the middle of nowhere, so I decided to buy the new tires. However, I told the man that I would buy all four tires and the alignment if he’d put my wiper blades on for me. He agreed and later said they were pretty challenging to get on correctly. 

The man recommended that I file a complaint with the state consumer affairs department because he said there was no way that the tires were at the legal requirement for tread when I purchased the car two weeks prior. I took pictures of the tires as he told me to do. After waiting an hour, my new tires were on the car and ready to go. 

Once the work on the car was finished, I checked-in to my next Airbnb. It was a studio built above a garage. I unloaded my car, ordered pizza for dinner, and worked on my blog. 

The next morning, I drove to the used car dealership where I purchased my 2003 Subaru Outback. I talked with Tony, one of the owners, who had sold me the car. He remembered me, and I explained that I had to buy new tires because one had a slow leak, and they were all too bald. Once I told Tony that it cost me $500 and I’d like for him to pay for it, he said he would give me $200. He was angry and said, “If we replaced the tires, we would have only spent $200 on used tires. You paid too much.” 

I also asked about the washer fluid because when I pulled the handle forward, nothing came out. Tony walked with me to the car, and it turns out there is a button to press (the steering wheel was blocking it from my line of sight). I felt stupid that I didn’t see that a button existed. I sheepishly asked if he’d pay for half of the tires – $250. 

As we walked back into the small office, Tony’s face was bright red, and he snapped at me. He argued, and I felt uncomfortable. His partner spoke up, “Just give her $250.” I have been working on how I handle my emotions when things like this happen. In the past, I would either shy away in hopes that the conflict would go away, or the anger would boil inside of me, causing me to snap and give an attitude in return. I paused, calmed myself down, and said, “You don’t need to get angry. I’m not trying to cheat you.” 

Calling Tony out on his rude, angry behavior helped the situation. He apologized and explained that he was having a bad day. They hadn’t sold a car in a couple of weeks, and two issues with two of their vehicles recently sprung up. Tony explained that he was frustrated by other situations and didn’t mean to take it out on me. 

While Tony wrote the check for $250, he explained that he had told people about me when I first bought it. We used to live near each other in southern California and had bonded over that. At that time, he told people that it was fate that I came into his car shop to buy a car that day. I was wondering if he was now cursing fate. Tony handed me the check and asked me to write a good review on Google. Overall, I had a good experience, so I agreed. 

I felt a little guilty taking the check from Tony since he had been having difficulties the last two weeks, but another thing I’m working on is not feeling so guilty all of the time. I was out $500, and I had questioned him on the tires and the alignment when I bought the car. He assured me it was all fine. I shouldn’t feel guilty. I took the check and said my goodbyes. 

I told my Australian friend, Matt, what happened and how I went back to the used dealership. He was surprised, laughed, and said, “We don’t really do that here.” I asked what he meant because the man at the tire shop recommended that I go through the consumer affairs group because the tires weren’t legal at that low of a tread. I thought it was a more agreeable solution to go directly to the dealership to resolve it without government intervention. 

Matt explained that most Australians would have just let it go and wouldn’t have gone back into the dealership and asked for compensation. I laughed, “Well, I’m American. And we hold people responsible for their mistakes.” 

Once I had my check, I drove to North Adelaide to see a chiropractor because my right hip was numb. The chiropractor was young and thin. He was thorough and said that my side abdomen muscles were extremely tight, causing my hip to get out of place. He massaged around it for a bit but said it would take a while to release the pressure. 

After my appointment, I cashed my check and stopped next door at a massage place. I signed up for an hour and a half oil massage with reflexology. It was excruciating because my muscles were so tight, and it gave me some bruises. 

I was feeling like jello, so I went back to my Airbnb and finished my leftover pizza. I poured a glass of wine and Facetimed my cousin in Atlanta. It was morning for her, so she had coffee instead of wine. I told her about my day and the adventure into the “red center” of Australia. Facetime has been a lifesaver for me as a solo traveler. It makes me feel like we’re together. It’s essential to have friends who listen and provide helpful advice. 

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Throughout her wild 3-week journey backpacking 220+ miles in the California Sierra Mountains, Christy encountered freezing temperatures, pelting hail storms, and losing her way, but found trail family, incredible views, and experiences that would change her life forever. Hiking up and over ten different mountain passes gave Christy a lot of time to think about why her nine-year marriage was falling apart, gave her the chance to truly embody her individualism, time to make new friends, and the strength she would need on and off the trail. Her life could never again be the same.
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