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Honest Tea Experiment Shows Maryland Among Least Honest

By Aaron Kraut

Tuesday - 7/23/2013, 11:40am  ET

Honest Tea put people's honesty to the test earlier this month by placing unattended bottled teas in front of the Barnes & Noble. Signs asked people to pay $1 each for drinks they took.Maryland is one of the least honest states, at least when it came to Bethesda-based Honest Tea’s recent social experiment that made bottles of its tea available for the taking on Bethesda Row.

The company earlier this month left an unattended supply of drinks in front of the Barnes & Noble on Bethesda Row. A sign asked for $1 from those who picked up the drinks, part of a national marketing campaign to see how honest people are when no one is looking.

Maryland came in as the 10th least honest state. According to the results, 89 percent of people who took a drink at the spot paid up. Alabama and Hawaii came in as the most honest states with 100 percent of people who took a drink ponying up the dollar.

Seth Goldman, the Bethesda resident and co-founder of Honest Tea, said his bike was actually stolen during the D.C. experiment.

“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,” Goldman said. “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.”

D.C. was deemed the least honest with 80 percent of people paying for their drinks. The results include a number of other oddities, including one businessman in Boston who the company said took 13 drinks throughout the day without paying.

Some more stats:

Overall, women are more honest than men (95% vs. 91%)—the same percentages in both our 2012 and 2013 tests.

– Unlike last year where redheads were most honest, in 2013 blonds were the most honest (95%) and followed by brunettes (93%) and then redheads (92%).

– The longer your hair, the more honest you are. People with short hair were 91% honest, vs. people with medium and long hair (93% and 94% honest, respectively).

– People in groups (96% honest) tend to be more honest than people on their own (91% honest).