Social experiment tests honesty of West Virginians - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Social experiment tests honesty of West Virginians

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UPDATE:

West Virginia ranked 47th in the social experiment hosted by Honest Tea.

The company released its data on Tuesday after studying people in all 50 states. The experiment found that nearly 92 percent of Americans are honest.

 


 

ORIGINAL:

At first glance, it's a kiosk with trendy drinks.

Look closer, and it's a social experiment that reveals what kind of person you really are.

The company Honest Tea set up a stand in downtown Charleston on Wednesday to test whether people abide by the honor system.

"It is a campaign to see how honest America is," said Lizzie Weiland, with Honest Tea. "We set up unmanned kiosks filled with cold tea. And the question is whether people steal or donate."

Workers hid from plain sight to record who paid for the drinks. They detailed sex, age, and even what the person wore.

Over the course of an hour, 13NEWS observed how people in Charleston acted in the experiment.

Most people paid $1 for the drink; some even paid more.

During that time, only one man stole the drink without paying.

"It's surprisingly honest," Weiland said. "It's kind of refreshing to see people lend a dollar."

Several people said they loved the idea of the experiment and explained why they abided by the honor code.

"I like the honor system and when I find something that's under the honor system, I honor it," said Roger Dummitt, of Huntington.

Terry Maroney said he doubted the good in people. The New York native said he paid his dollar because the deal was too good to be true.

"it just wouldn't be honest," Maroney said. "I didn't think there would be any consequences, anyone could walk up and take the stuff."

Ben Merchant felt differently after donating $2.

"I believe that even though it's a marketing ploy, this is going to make Charleston a better place."

Honest Tea will release the results of the study on July 23. The experiment is currently taking place in 63 cities across the country.