An Immovable Object


Thursday, 29 June 2017

Cairns, Australia

“This is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object.” – The Joker

I truly believe that I could apply for a job volunteering to clean portable toilets on the third day of a festival, and Australia still wouldn’t give me the gig – so, time was up. We’ve known for a month that we would be leaving. There was just one thing preventing us from an immediately runaway – our immovable object.

The Camry has served us well – we’ve travelled through five different states in this grandfather car. In fact, even if we ended up giving it away for free, I would still regard it as a fantastic purchase. It was only $850. That’s £502 – which is around the price of a beer in London. Think of that, we have travelled across an entire country for the price of a beer.

Unfortunately, the government gave us a bit of a battering as we tried out best to shift it. They are absolute scoundrels. If you’re a good friend, you’ll more than likely hear all about how much they rip people off in the coming months over a pint. If we’re not that close, just take my word for it, they are shockingly bad.

So, back onto how they wanted us to pay to sell our car – each state has their own policy. Our car is from Tasmania, but we planned to sell it in Queensland.

To be able to transfer a car in Queensland, the vehicle needs to pass a ‘road worthy check’. This requires taking it to a garage, their time alone costs around $80, and then they tell you which repairs are needed to deem the car safe for the road. I’ve never heard of a person’s car not needing mending in some shape or form, either.

The power is well and truly with the mechanics, because they know you can’t sell the car without their say so – they’re the bouncer that takes joy in ruining a seventeen year old’s night.

“Ok, to get a road worthy – you will need a new gear stick, new lights, a new engine, twelve new tyres, and we’ll need to paint it yellow.”
“What? Why does it need to be yellow?”
“Just does, pal.”

Our car has the face that only a mother could love – a phrase that I guess makes me a mother?

It has no air conditioner, the lights don’t work properly, and it is scratched all over the place. However, it is frigging road worthy – our only causality as of yet is killing a crazed bird. It’s a good bloody runner. But, facts are facts, there is no way that we would be leaving a garage without a bill of close to the price we would be selling it for.

Plus, the car would need to be re-registered with a Queensland plate which is a further $500. Honestly, by selling it in Queensland we would probably be looking at having to pay out more than we would receive. Imagine basically having to pay $200 to sell a car.

I called Tasmania, and they explained that we could make the exchange online with no extra cost – that sounded much better. All that was left to do now was convince a Queensland resident to take a car with a Tasmania plate, no road worth certificate, no air conditioner, damaged lights, and bruises everywhere.

I turned into Delboy.

“The lights are a bit dim, aren’t they?”
“No, no, my son. That’s the best part. The lights are so advanced that they adapt to the darkness of the sky, you see. It’s not yet too dark, so they’re holding back. That is creme de la menthe, my friend. Modern technology at its finest.”

I talked my way into a deal – $1000, papers signed, online transfer agreed – all that we would need now was to wait for Tasmania’s response.

The next day we both received an email – they had approved my right to sell the car, but rejected his right to buy it. They explained that you can sell it from anywhere, but you must come to an office in Tasmania to buy it. England is closer to Libya than Cairns is to Tasmania – he had no plan to go there in person.

The email concluded that the car has been marked as ‘sold’. Therefore, we needed a buyer to register it within seven days or face disciplinary action. Well, bloody marvellous.

We would now need to convince someone to buy it in Queensland, register it, and take it for a road worthy check – all within seven days.

I didn’t need Delboy anymore, I needed God.

Obviously target number one was the guy who had already agreed to the deal. But, he didn’t want anything to do with it, due to the extra costs required in Queensland. I was knocking down the price every other message.

“I don’t want it anymore.”
“I can just get a car already registered in Queensland for cheaper.”
“I will block you.”

Nobody would take a car without a road worthy and I didn’t want to get a road worthy. The situation was not ideal. We took it to a scrap yard and they offered us $50. We never went to a scrap yard again.

I tried the guy one more time, “Was $1000. Now only $995. What a bargain. I must be mad. Mange tout.” Still, no reply. I could not believe how stubborn this guy was being even with such a value-for-money deal like that on the table.

Three days passed, and we had no buyer. Four bloody days to shift a car. I had no choice other than to knock the price down again – there was no other option. Back up it went on all the car sites, and for a discount price as low as $900. I couldn’t bring myself to look at the screen as I clicked ‘confirm price’.

A full day passed and no offers came in. I checked the phone number on my advertisement five times – I couldn’t wrap my head around it, how were people ignoring such a bargain? Three days left and things were not looking good.

source // bitsandpieces

source // bitsandpieces

I gave the original buyer another go that night, “$899.” Once again, he didn’t respond. I edited the internet price the next morning, “$800.” And lo and behold, I receive a call.

“Hey, I would like to offer $400 for the car, but I would want to see it first.”
“Ok, you can come and see it. When can you arrive?”
“I’ll be there in five minutes. I live two doors down.”

Ok, no time to so much as give the car a wipe then. Bloody hell. What a predicament. I can’t exactly palm off a dodgy car to a man that shares the same next door neighbour as me, but I really, really need to shift the thing.

He walked around the car with his hands behind his back, before arrogantly declaring it to be ‘terrible’ and not worth more than $300. How can he talk that way about Camry? Right in ear range, too. It may be old, but it still has feelings. While my options were limited, I just couldn’t sell it to that guy.

I rejected his rude offer and away he went.

I had one final crack at the original buyer. Messaging him to tell him that somebody had offered $480. They hadn’t, but I needed to try and reel him in somehow. We were in a tight spot.

Two days left.

My phone starts going at 7am. What the heck is going on? It’s the original buyer. Maybe he’s finally willing to take my wonderful “$899” offer.

“I’ll give you $500 and 50% off a Great Barrier Reef tour package for it.”

He came to collect the car two hours later. I never contacted him again because I didn’t want to hear about the price of the road worthy.

What an absolute ballache. But, we finished off with better than nothing – which I guess is something.

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