Experiment Finds Chicagoans Most Honest

July 30, 2011

Honest Abe would be proud.

An organic bottled tea company called Honest Tea, a unit of The Coca-Cola Co., set up a social experiment to measure honesty in a dozen major American cities on July 19, and when all was sipped and done, Chicago was named the most honest city.

The company placed unattended pop-up stores in each city with signs asking visitors to pay $1 per bottle they take. Hidden cameras monitored each city to see how many people actually paid.

Our experiment was set up in Grant Park where 99 percent of the Chicago residents who participated were honest.

It’s quite the improvement from last year, when only 78 percent of Chicagoans paid at an Honest Tea stand near Millennium Park.

This year, residents in all the cities were a combined 94 percent honest.

Here’s the breakdown:

1. Chicago — 99 percent

2. Boston — 97 percent

3. Seattle — 97 percent

4. Dallas — 97 percent

5. Atlanta — 96 percent

6. Philadelphia — 96 percent

7. Cincinnati — 95 percent

8. San Francisco — 93 percent

9. Miami — 92 percent

10. Washington, D.C. — 91 percent

11. Los Angeles — 88 percent

12. New York — 86 percent

“We wanted to challenge people to think about how honest Americans are as a whole, particularly when no one is watching,” said Seth Goldman, president and TeaEO of Honest Tea. “It was refreshing to see that most cities were in the 90 percent range.”

Another plus to the experiment is that Honest Tea is not only donating the almost $5,000 collected from the experiment to three non-profit organizations, the company is also matching the funds for a total donation of $10,000.

That’s honestly great.

The three organizations:

*Share Our Strength, which works to end childhood hunger in America.

*City Year, which helps at-risk students and schools.

*Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, which builds healthier places for healthier people.

“Since one purpose of our experiment is to help people appreciate the strength of our communities,” said Goldman, “we’re glad to be able to donate the money from the tests to three non-profit partners who help make our communities stronger.”

Honest Tea can be found in most grocery stores and many sandwich shops. To find one near you, visit honesttea.com.

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