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Bethesda, Md.-based Honest Tea, an independent operating unit of The Coca-Cola Co., put consumers’ honesty to the test with experiments in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Overall, its National Honesty Index found that Americans were 92 percent honest, with Alabama and Hawaii tying for the most honest state.
From July 8-18, the company set up unmanned kiosks stocked with its beverages and offered them for $1 on the honor system in 61 different locations. Data was collected on how many people paid for the beverages and also on participants’ characteristics, including gender, hair color, hair length, facial hair, and whether or not they were wearing hats or sunglasses.
According to the data, Washington, D.C., was the least honest location in the experiment with 80 percent of participants paying for their beverages. The experiment also found that women were more honest than men (95 percent vs. 91 percent), which is consistent with Honest Tea’s 2012 and 2013 results.
Unlike last year where redheads were most honest, in 2013 blonds were the most honest (95 percent), followed by brunettes (93 percent) and then redheads (92 percent). Also, the longer the hair, the more honest consumers were. People with short hair were 91 percent honest versus people with medium and long hair, who were 93 percent and 94 percent honest, respectively.
People in groups (96 percent honest) also tended to be more honest than people on their own (91 percent honest).
“We’ve conducted our experiment in different cities over the past few years, but this is the first time we’ve conducted the experiment on a national scale,” said Seth Goldman, co-founder and TeaEO of Honest Tea, in a statement. “Even though my bicycle was stolen the same day as our D.C. experiment, it’s reassuring to know that 92 percent of Americans will do the right thing even when it seems no one is watching.”
The complete National Honesty Index findings are available at www.nationalhonestyindex.com. On the site, visitors also can use the data to compare the honesty of certain attributes, such as gender, hair color and hair length, with those of friends, spouses or colleagues and share the results on Facebook or Twitter.
Honest Tea will donate all of the funds collected to FoodCorps, a nationwide team of leaders that connects children to food and helps them grow up healthy.