The Real Question: Cubs or Sox Fans?

August 25, 2012

Honestly, I’m disappointed.

Last year, Chicago Real Estate Forum wrote about a social experiment in which Honest Tea set up unmanned booths of their product in a dozen major cities to see how many residents would pay the $1 per bottle as a sign instructed.

And, last year, Chicago was found to be the most honest city of all, with 99 percent of the takers leaving a buck behind.

Not this year.

From August 8–19, the company set up more than 50 unmanned pop-up kiosks in over 30 U.S. cities, each stocked with Honest Tea and Honest Ade. Signage offered the bottles for $1, with payment going into a clear box based on the honor system.

The set-ups were tracked and honest and dishonest people ranked according to city, gender, baseball team preference and more.

“We’ve expanded our social experiment to measure the honesty of observable characteristics, including location,” Seth Goldman, President and TeaEO of Honest Tea. “Though our experiment might not pass muster with a social scientist, the results present fascinating and fun insights about the American population.”

Two cities — Oakland, California, and Salt Lake City, Utah — registered a score of 100 percent on the honesty scale.

Chicago’s residents fell to 12th with 94 percent. And it gets worse.

The South Side of Chicago ranked as the fifth least honest location at only 82 percent truthful, and of the six groups of baseball enthusiasts studied, Chicago baseball fans scored 83 percent and tied for last. With New York!

“While the National Honesty Index measured consumers’ honesty in almost three times as many cities as last year, it was great to see that by and large, people across the country are honest,” said Peter Kaye, Honest Tea VP of Marketing.

“With the exception of the man who tried to steal our duct tape, it’s inspiring to see these results are consistent with our efforts to be refreshingly honest in making our beverages with real, organic ingredients.”

Honest Tea will match the money collected and donate it to City Year, a nonprofit that builds communities by turning around high-need schools and at-risk students.

“Since one purpose of our experiment is to highlight the level of trust in communities across our nation,” said Goldman, “we’re glad to donate the money collected from this year’s experiment to City Year, which helps make our communities stronger.”

Honestly, Chicagoans, from 1st to 12th? Honest Abe would not be proud.

Categories: Awards, City of Chicago

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