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Fly swatters for $6.99? Are they crazy or what?
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All I wanted was a simple fly swatter.

But I couldn’t find one last September, no matter how hard I looked.

I found one clerk in a store who thought they’d be in electronics of all places. Then finally one young man took me to where he normally thought they’d be. He looked with me for perhaps five minutes and then we parted ways.

As I was getting ready to head toward the cash register, the clerk caught up with me. He had found a fly swatter and had it in hand. I thanked him. It was a designer fly swatter made by Ony.

I looked to see if there was a price visible. I was willing to spend maybe $1.99 or so for a good one.

He noticed I was looking and examined the tag as well. He couldn’t find a price but we happened to be standing next to a scanner so he scanned it.

What popped up was a real attention getter.

The price? $6.99.

You got it, $6.99.

Someone making minimum wage would have to work for almost an hour just to buy a fly swatter to kill flies.

The handle was nice but the surface used to kill flies wasn’t anything spectacular. It wasn’t, however, worth $6.99 to me although I’m sure it was probably at a tenth of the price the Pentagon would procure one for after putting out a bid request with 20 pages of precise specifications.

I said thanks, but no thanks, and headed to another store.

There I found old-fashioned, low-tech fly swatters made in Mexico for sale at 89 cents each.

I bought four.

A fly swatter is a must to survive in Manteca from May through October.

Like anything else, there is never a fly swatter around when you need one.

But fly swatters don’t disappear like socks. Instead, the culprits are usually kids. In my case, the grand kids a few years back thought they were great to use to swat each other.

It’s maddening. They could have a $12 basketball or a $12 doll but they’d gladly ditch either one of them for a fly swatter.

You can’t escape the fact you have to deal with flies anywhere you go in the San Joaquin Valley for much of the year.

Over the years, I’ve tried other ways to kill flies besides with fly swatters.

The most high-tech was the bug zapper. I bought one in the summer of 1995 for $29.95.

I used to sit on the patio and listen to bugs getting zapped. It was like music to my ears.

But for effectiveness, I still had to employ fly swatters while using the patio.

The next summer I tried a canister that came with a powder you mixed with liquid. It was highly effective and highly gross.

It was maybe the size of a 12-ounce jar. The smell attracted flies who would go in and drown. It usually took a week for the jar to fill halfway up with dead flies. It lost its appeal real quick.

I was always curious about those patio candles that are supposed to keep flies and other annoying stuff away so I tired one. They’re about four feet long and are mounted on a pole. How good are they? Let’s say I wasn’t worried about flies because the thing became a mini torch.

When push comes to shove, nothing beats a good, old-fashioned plastic fly swatter. And not even a $6.99 model could improve on the original.

I can kill a fly as easily with an 89 cent fly swatter as I can with a cool looking $6.99 fly swatter.