Last month, David and I visited A's Snow White Drive-In in Lebanon, Tennessee on the way back from a camping trip. The review of the restaurant's vittles was less than enthusiastic. Aside from the myriad ice cream flavors and the disheveled-looking help behind the counter though, one thing caught my eye.

Outside the entrances, both front and back, were Ziploc bags filled with water and pennies, hanging from the rafters. We wondered if they were makeshift drip-catchers, crazy redneck humidifiers, or some sort of sadistic game designed to taunt poor children with both money and wasted drinking water.

We didn't bother to ask anyone inside. I think somehow we knew that the answer would be something ridiculous, embarrassing, or awkward for either our hosts, or ourselves, or more than likely, all parties involved.
So, I took a picture of the apparatus and posted it on Flickr with the title "What is the Point of This?" and I finally got a response, from someone I know, no less.

Apparently, the water-filled plastic baggie is supposed to repel house flies.
To which David queried, " Do pennies IN water IN a ziploc bag create anti-fly magic?"

And you know, I have looked all over the internet, and the answer is: Yes. Putting pennies in bags of water makes anti-fly magic. At least that's what people believe.

Some say it's the reflection that does it. Others postulate that it's some sort of chemical reaction to which flies have an aversion. But no one's really sure.
Hell, no one's even really sure whether or not it works. As with most research done on the internet, the only thing I seem to have confirmed is that people are mostly stupid.

Regardless of whether or not Ziploc baggies can be used as homemade fly repellents, one thing about them remains certain: they will still turn your tasty sandwich into a soggy, humid pile of mess.
Oh, and the placement of the pennies in the bag of water seems to have a legitimate explanation anyway, as I found in this comment on a "Thrifty Home Remedies" blog:

"... adding a penny in the bag acts as a bacteriacide to preserve the water longer. When Columbus came across the ocean he added a couple of silver coins to each barrel of drinking water to kill the bacteria, same principle..."

And here I was, thinking ole Chris was plastered on Beer & Wine the whole time.