With the temperatures pushing 90, Honest Tea is putting Chicagoans to the test.
The beverage company has set up a stand stocked with bottles of its iced tea products in the Financial District, near Jackson and LaSalle. Cold teas are one dollar each, but there's a catch: it's all on the honor system. The stand is completely unmanned, with only a clear box and a sign asking for a buck.
A hidden camera will track how many visitors actually pay, and see if Chicago lives up to its reputation for corruption.
The company has set up similar tests of virtue in three other cities so far. It began in New York and Boston, and last weekend put stands at several locations in Atlanta, Georgia.
NBC Chicago reports that the City of the Big Shoulders is conducting itself admirably so far:
In Chicago, the lunchtime crowds are taking to the idea. Most people pay for what they take and expect others to do likewise.
"They'll put a buck in there," said trader Mario DiBartolo. "They are honest people." ...
How is Chicago doing? With two days under his belt, [Honest Beverages rep Evan] Nimke said the numbers are promising.
"Chicago seems to be a pretty honest city," he said.
Aside from creating a clever marketing ploy, Honest Tea is banking on the success of similar programs around the world. Indonesia has set up unmanned "honesty cafes" to help fight a culture of corruption; a New York doughnut stand operates on a similar principle.
And so far, the beverage seller, partially owned by Coca-Cola, has seen some pretty good results. In New York and Atlanta, 89 percent of people paid for their teas; in Boston, 93.3 percent paid. Honest Tea's YouTube channel has video of the experiments in all three cities.
The money it makes from the stands will be donated to charity.
Tell us what you think about how Chicagoans will stack up: