Washington is 10th most honest U.S. city, ties with Las Vegas


Washington D.C. ranked 10th in a national honesty experiment conducted by Honest Tea. (Courtesy of Honest Tea)

The rankings come from the Bethesda-based company Honest Tea, which for the third year set up unmanned beverage stands nationwide, asking people to leave a dollar for each bottle they took.

Undercover observers used a digital tracking application to monitor which passersby took a drink without paying.

In the District, four stands were set up between Aug. 12 and 19 at the Dupont Farmers Market, Nationals Park, K Street NW and Capitol Hill.

According to Honest Tea, 95 percent of Washingtonians paid for their drinks that day. Las Vegas also scored 95 percent on the so-called National Honesty Index.


View Photo Gallery: A new day in Washington often means another absurd, painfully accurate and always entertaining superlative for us pops up in the news. Ugliest? Check. Happiest single ladies? Check. Highly caffeinated? You know it. Read on for more examples of what the rest of the country thinks we are and what we think of ourselves.

Nationwide, 93 percent of Americans left $1 per drink. Oakland, Calif., and Salt Lake City, Utah, tied for first place with 100 percent compliancy, while only 79 percent of Los Angelenos ponied up.

When the experiment was first conducted in 2010, the District received a honesty rating of 93 percent, enough to score second-place among the “participating” cities.

Now, as the pool of cities has grown, an improved honesty rating of 95 percent is just enough to keep the nation’s capital in the top 10.

“Though our experiment might not pass muster with a social scientist, the results present fascinating and fun insights about the American population,” Honest Tea president Seth Goldman said.

In that spirit of “fun,” Honest Tea also found that:

— Men on Capitol Hill were 94 percent honest.

— Women on Capitol Hill were 93 percent honest.

— People who were dressed in suits were 95 percent honest.

— Bald men in D.C. were 75 percent honest.

— Guys with beards in D.C. were 94 percent honest.

— In Capitol Hill, a mailman opted not to pay.

— At Dupont Farmer’s Market, someone paid with a $1 wooden coin.

— People on K St. were less honest (91 percent) than people on Capitol Hill (93 percent)

— The suburbs of D.C. were 94 percent honest.

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