Monday, August 13, 2012

National Honesty Experiment Comes Back this Week

On July 19, 2011, Honest Tea commissioned a nationwide experiment to uncover what people will do when faced with the choice of ‘to pay or not to pay’ when no one seems to be looking.  The National Honesty Experiment consisted of unmanned, pop-up kiosks stocked with beverages, and a jar asking for $1 on the honor system.  The stands were set up in twelve cities around the country and each monitored by hidden camera.

According to the, the company stated, “We had a lot of fun testing the honesty of Americans. So, how did we calculate each city’s honest-y percentage? Throughout the day we visually tracked how many people paid for bottles to provide real-time updates on the honesty of each city. At the end of the day our team calculated the final results by taking the amount of cash collected and divided by number of bottles merchandised, which amounted to the city’s final honesty percentage. Some people might have boosted their city’s reputation by paying more than $1 per bottle! Note: Some of this information was slightly inaccurate as a result of either larger bills being deposited, or in some cases, fake money or I.O.U’s!!”

Overall, the national honesty rate came in at 94% for all the cities represented. The most honest city was Chicago at 99% and the least honest was New York City with 86% - both still pretty high.

This week, the experiment is on again with over 50 locations around the country. Look for the pop up kiosks to be in your city sometime between now and August 18. Instead of cameras, this year, each stand will be monitored by plain-clothed Honest Tea representatives who will be collecting data on who pays and who doesn’t. The first ever National Honesty Index will be released on August 20 with all of the statistics gathered from over 30 cities and more than 50 stands throughout the U.S.

According to, the company posts this statement about their aspirations for corporate social responsibility: “A commitment to social responsibility is central to Honest Tea's identity and purpose. The company strives for authenticity, integrity and purity, in our products and in the way we do business. In addition to creating a healthy alternative beverage with a lot less sugar than most bottled drinks, Honest Tea seeks to create honest relationships with our employees, suppliers, customers and with the communities in which we do business.”
(Originally posted on

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