It’s in the tea leaves: Atlantans among America’s most honest

Atlanta, a city that has in recent years clearly lost its ability to successfully cheat, is among our proud nation’s most honest cities, according to a company that sells tea.

A wad of cash similar to this one was not stolen in Atlanta.

A wad of cash similar to this one was not stolen in Atlanta.

Honest Tea conducted a “social experiment” wherein it asked denizens of 12 large municipalities to voluntarily donate $1 for a bottle of tea or lemonade.

Unexpectedly, the “transparent but securely mounted” cash box in Atlanta was not ripped off the wall and immediately hustled to a strip club. The Atlanta experiment was conducted Tuesday in Centennial Park, which must be full of honest tourists.

Hidden camera video, viewable at, indicates people are mostly honest.

“We wanted to challenge people to think about how honest Americans are as a whole, particularly when no one is watching,” said Seth Goldman, president and TeaEO of Honest Tea. “It was refreshing to see that most cities were in the 90 percent range.”

Atlantans were 96 percent honest. Chicago, the home of law-abiding politicians, finished first.

Residents of Boston, who used to toss passels of tea into the sea, tied for second with Seattle, the land of overpriced coffee.

New York, perhaps due to Wall Street, finished last.

Washington, D.C., home of the U.S. government, finished near the bottom in Honest Tea’s honesty test.

Honest Tea, partly owned by Coca- Cola, is donating $10,000, half of which was collected in the aforementioned secure boxes, to three non-profit organizations.

America’s most honest cities:

1. Chicago: 99 percent

2. Boston (tie): 97

2. Seattle (tie): 97

2. Dallas (tie): 97

5. Atlanta (tie): 96

5. Philadelphia (tie): 96

7. Cincinnati: 95

8. San Francisco: 93

9. Miami: 92

10. Washington, D.C.: 91

11. Los Angeles: 88

12. New York: 86

24 comments Add your comment


July 20th, 2011
12:54 pm

Not surprisingly the challege for honesty was based on interactions in the private sector. Had the government or its behavior been challenged to do right I am certain the results would have been worse. By that same token, Chicago and DC definitely would have had far lower scores.


July 20th, 2011
1:31 pm

“which is full of honest tourists.”
“Atlantans were 96 percent honest”

this is the dumbest article ever written

Swaga 1

July 20th, 2011
2:03 pm

I don’t think this was a big scientific study people, lets calm down and relax this was just done in fun to see what city would be the most honest and pay for the tea this was not done to create some sort of big debate……relax.


July 20th, 2011
2:07 pm

How does having one of the largest academic cheating scandals across the entire school system make Atlanta one of the most honest cities in America?


July 20th, 2011
2:49 pm

Private voluntary contributions for charity were not stolen. Meanwhile rampant abuse goes on in the government school system (forced funding), government welfare programs, government backed mortgage programs, government food stamp programs, etc.

While I will be the first to acknowledge that past abuses certainly have happened with the United Way and other private charities, the reality is that the MARKET responded. Donations plummetted, charities closed, and issues were either addressed or the problems went away because the charity did. When was the last time you saw a government program go away or taxes discontinued because of rampant abuse of monies, etc.? $75,000 for a hammer and the Pentagon will be receiving its largest budget in history this year. Multi-million dollar toilets, multiple crashed Mars landers and NASA funding continues. Massive cheating scandal and APS and government schooling in general will continue without fundamental change or heaven forbid the suggestion that the private sector would do a better job (even though it would).

Maybe the key is voluntary. Maybe that has always been the key. Maybe we will figure that out eventually.


July 20th, 2011
2:50 pm

Jason, that was the perfect comment LOL – +1 internet points for you.


July 20th, 2011
2:53 pm

This is a lie! The majority of people that I have met that are from Atlanta are nothing less than liars!!! If Atlanta is among the most honest people then we are in a lot of trouble! :(


July 20th, 2011
2:59 pm

Ha, yeah right. They obviously didn’t check out our locals that think they can just invade your house in the middle and the night tie you up, pistol whip you and then take your stuff. Or the folks that break into 35+ cars in one night, then 50 cars the next. This is such BS with all the sorry no good people living around here.


July 20th, 2011
3:04 pm

if these were placed in the government sector the cash, the container and the counter it was placed on would have been stolen then the store where it was placed asked why they didn’t put out more containers then sued by sleazy attorneys who’d take the entire store and sell it and the land its on to a senator then jail the owners for failing to put a disclaimer on the container. the owners would then cost the taxpayers money thus having the self same senator and attorney’s sue for extra privilieges for the incarcerated owners and for monies for the support of their now abandoned families and their descendants. oh, and don’t forget the race card would be pulled multiple times during these actions to guarantee victory for the usurpers. and to add insult to injury the losers of humanity would rise up and protest chanting ‘where’s my jar of cash!’

ATL is Two-Faced

July 20th, 2011
3:06 pm

I’m with Samantha! Some of the biggest crooks I’ve ever met are from Atlanta. I’ve been living here almost 17 years and I’ve had my wife’s car stolen, my apartment’s mangement company forge my signature on a money order to pay a relatives rent, and I’ve witnessed companies and individuals consistently lie, cheat, and steal from unsuspecting others.
There are hardly any laws here to protect the consumer, and if it weren’t for Clark Howard (and others like him), we’d be kept in the dark.


July 20th, 2011
3:26 pm

Having lived in city of Atlanta for the past 18 years, everything in this article has to be a lie, including the words “and” and “the.”


July 20th, 2011
3:46 pm


You clearly don’t understand GM’s humor. May I direct you to the Obituaries?

Let’s see how honest this “test” is if it’s installed somewhere in SW Atlanta…..

Born CHI Love ATL

July 20th, 2011
3:47 pm

Never had a problem with theft or gross deception in my more than 20 years in Atlanta. However I have been robbed in Memphis, had numerous nefarious business dealings in Charlotte & SC, and find it hard to trust the greed that persists in the nawth. My expereience is that Atlanta is a freindly, giving, and trustworthy city with an impovershed element.

Born NYC - ATL Alright

July 20th, 2011
4:31 pm

Been here 31 yrs. Mother’s house was robbed once while growing up. I have said many, many times I am so glad I have never been robbed while out on my own living life. Well, last year, my 17 yr old neighbor robbed me and took the stuff to his house (next door). Altanta may be honest, but it houses a lot of stupid people!!!!!

john love

July 20th, 2011
5:55 pm

Please, you can not be serious?


July 20th, 2011
6:44 pm

It all depends on what part of town you are in as to how honest the folks are. And that people… is in any city.


July 20th, 2011
7:14 pm

You need to EXCLUDE all of our cheating teachers and administrators, and we might score even higher!


July 20th, 2011
7:17 pm

Good thing that Beverly Hall was in Hawaii, and her ‘fraudulent four’ were hiding from the press, or you would not have had a dime left — not even for the cheating teachers!


July 20th, 2011
7:38 pm

The headline made me laugh and laugh. Those honest folks in Centennial Park were lucky no one shot them and stold the entire crate of goodies.


July 20th, 2011
7:59 pm

It’s a good thing none of Atlanta’s politicians, “educators” or government employees weren’t around. That money would have been gone in an instant.


July 20th, 2011
8:05 pm

Everyone knows that New York people suck.


July 20th, 2011
10:22 pm

What a bunch of MAROONS!!!! if they believe that. Choke, gag, snicker, snicker & puke.


July 21st, 2011
11:38 am

I noticed that an earlier poster cited Clark Howard as someone they view as virtuous in an otherwise dishonest city.

I’ve followed Clark for years and that hasn’t been my perception of him at all. Clark’s angle is showing people how to game the system, and he’s made a nice living convincing debtors that they’re the “victims” of evil creditors. The worst deadbeats see Clark as their mentor and saviour.

[...] Well, in what we found to be a totally ingenuous ~ if not altogether classically scientific ~ experiment, it has been determined that the most honest city among the 12 largest in America is Chicago, followed by Boston, Seattle and Dallas (tie for third), Atlanta and Philadelphia (tie for fourth), and then Cincinnati, San Francisco, Miami, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and New York.  Yep, for more on this one, please go here.  [...]