Honesty is a difficult trait to quantify. Lying about the way someone looks isn’t equivalent to stealing from a local shop, which isn’t the same as cheating on a test, and so on. Nevertheless, Honest Tea made a valiant attempt: The company set up unmanned pop-up shops in 30 cities across the U.S., asking people to pay a dollar per bottle of Honest Tea. The company was, unbeknownst to the tea-grabbers, surveying everything that happened. This is what they found.
The most honest places, measured in people who paid for their drinks, are Oakland, Calif.; Salt Lake City; Boulder; Madison Avenue; San Francisco; Wall Street; Boston; and Seaside Heights. Oakland and Salt Lake City were the only locations with 100% of passersby paying for their drinks. The least honest places include Brooklyn, Los Angeles, the Bronx, and Miami.
Honest Tea also broke down their results by traits. People with beards are more honest (96% paying for drinks) than women (95%). Brunettes (92%) are more honest than blondes (91%)--but both groups are more honest than bald people (85%). People wearing sunglasses are more honest (92%) than people wearing plaid (84%)--though those two groups could easily overlap. At the project’s site, you can generate comparisons between any two groups you want.
Comparisons aside, what’s most striking here is how honest people are. Even Brooklyn, the least honest location in the country, had a payment rate of 61%. Would this still hold true if Honest Tea had been offering flat-screen TVs or other big ticket items? Probably not. But when it doesn’t involve too much of a burden, it seems that people are generally good.
Check out the full rankings here.