Honesty experiment: To pay or not to pay?

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by Carey Peña

Video report by Stella Inger

Posted on August 15, 2012 at 6:02 PM

Updated Thursday, Aug 16 at 7:13 AM

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Imagine it’s a triple-digit day (not hard to imagine in Arizona), you are walking down the street and see a kiosk full of ice cold drinks and a jar asking you to pay $1.  But there is no one around watching the money.  Would you pay?

The organic tea company, Honest Tea is conducting a social experiment to find out just how many people nationwide would confront this situation honestly.  And how many would grab and go.

The company set up unmanned kiosks in 30 cities. Hidden cameras were rolling.

This week they here in the Valley on Fifth Avenue in Tempe to test Arizonans (those who like tea, that is). 

Turns out, from the data released from last year's experiment, Americans have something to be proud of. 

Most people did not drink and run (good for you, America).

Chicago was the most honest city with 99 percent of people paying $1. New York was the least honest -- only 86 percent forked over the cash. 

Last year's results:
Chicago: 99%
Boston: 97%
Seattle: 97%
Dallas: 97%
Atlanta: 96%
Philadelphia: 96%
Cincinnati: 95%
San Francisco: 93%
Miami: 92%
Washington, DC: 91%
Los Angeles: 88%
New York: 86%

An Honest Tea representative told 3TV that when they did their little experiment in Las Vegas last year, one guy took dishonesty to a whole new level.

“He stood right next to the kiosk and was acting like a representative from Honest Tea, so what he would do is he would collect the money, put it in his pocket and then keep it,” says company spokesperson Ryan Vandergriend.

Honest Tea says it is donating all of the money collected, more than $5,000 so far, to Share Our Strength, City Year and Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. The company is matching the total. 

So how’d we do here in Arizona (I, for one, have faith)?  The truth test results for Tempe are not yet in.  Full results are expected Aug. 20.

Who wants to bet a bottle of tea on the results? 

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