Remember the honor system? Most likely you haven’t encountered it since elementary school, when you were told not to peep at your neighbor’s spelling test or asked to only take one Halloween candy bar from the bowl Mrs. Jones left out on her porch. Did you obey that honor system? I can safely say I never cheated on a spelling test, but I may have snagged an extra mini Snickers bar once or twice.
How would adults feign on the honor system? Beverage company Honest Tea set out to find out. Earlier this month, the company stationed 50 unmanned kiosks in over 30 cities across the country, with signs instructing passerby to simply put $1 in the box in exchange for every bottle of tea they take. With no one on site to count the money, patrons were held on the honor system when paying for their tea. Using digital trackers manned by undercover observers, Honest Tea collected the data to determine the most honest cities, compiling it as the National Honesty Index.
Turns out, Boston is actually one of the most honest cities in the nation, with 96 percent of Honest Tea drinkers actually paying for their bottles from the kiosk. The kiosks were set up at Fenway Park on August 8th from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and at the Prudential Center Plaza on August 17th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Some fun facts about Boston’s honesty from the study:
- Women in Boston paid 96% of the time, while Boston men were 93% honest.
- Brunettes in Boston were 96% honest. Blondes were 91% honest.
- Boston redheads were 100% honest.
- Bald men were 88% honest.
- Boston baseball fans were more honest than fans in the Bronx. Go Sox!
Despite Boston’s unfriendliness, it’s good to know that we live in a city of people that won’t steal a bottle of tea just because they can. And it goes far beyond tea, too: Earlier this summer, Mullen interns dropped 20 wallets across the city and recorded how many were returned to the team. Just over half the wallets were returned.
So, you’ll likely have better luck if your Honest Tea goes missing than if your wallet does.