This October, UC Davis students displayed their honesty while quenching their thirst at Honest Tea’s “Honest Campus” sale.
Honest Campus is a sale in which Honest Tea bottles are set up at unmanned stands on campus. Payment ($1, collected in a clear box at the stand), is made under the honor system. Once the stands are up and the bottles are out, Honest Tea staff stand back and watch from afar as their thirsty customers’ honesty is put to the test.
“The idea is to see if people will pay the $1 for the tea (the honest approach) or just grab one without paying,” said Darin Schluep, Foodservice Director with the Associated Students Dining Services at UC Davis, in an email interview.
Honest Tea approached Davis in early October with the hopes of conducting this social experiment on campus. On Oct. 24, Davis students were put to the test. Honest Tea staff discreetly watched the stand from nearby, tracking the results of the sale.
As it turns out, UC Davis is extremely honest — at least by Honest Tea standards. An initial report told of a 107 percent return from the sale. Not only was every bottle paid for in full, but some people even paid more than $1.
“If that’s true then that would make us the Most Honest Campus in the country (out of all the campuses that have done this ‘experiment’)!” Schluep said.
The money acquired from the sale will be donated to the UC Davis charity of choice: The ASUCD Scholarship Fund.
Honest Campus is an extension of the “National Honesty Index,” a social experiment the company put into effect this summer. Across the country, unmanned stands were set up, and the virtue of Honest Tea drinkers around the nation was tested.
Over 50 stands were set up in 30 cities. Honest Tea then used their findings to rank the honesty of cities, genders, business districts, hobbies and more.
“Though our experiment might not pass muster with a social scientist, the results present fascinating and fun insights about the American population,” said Seth Goldman, President and “TeaEO” of Honest Tea in a press release.
According to Honest Tea’s National Honesty Index, Salt Lake City and Oakland were both 100 percent honest, while the least honest location was Atlantic Terminal, Brooklyn, NY (61 percent). Women ranked more honest than men; men with beards won over men in suits; bikers beat out comic book fans … and the comparisons continue.
“It was great to see that by and large, people across the country are honest,” said Peter Kaye, Honest Tea vice president of marketing, in a press release.
The full Honesty Index, including all comparisons and statistics, can be found at nationalhonestyindex.com.
LAUREN MASCARENHAS can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.