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Honolulu residents rank high in tea honesty test

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    People lined up to buy bottles of Honest Tea yesterday at a pop-up stand downtown aimed at testing Honolulu residents’ honesty -- passers-by could either pay $1 per drink or pick one up for free. Over two days, 93 percent of tea drinkers chose to pay.

Honolulu residents are just as honest as folks in Washington, D.C.

Should that line make you want to take a swing at your columnist, it was based on the results of a two-day social experiment/publicity stunt by Maryland-based beverage maker Honest Tea.

Ninety-three percent of the people in Honolulu who picked up a bottle of Honest Tea at an unmanned pop-up store yesterday and Wednesday actually honored the honor system and paid the posted $1 price.

Folks in the nation’s capital racked up the same percentage, which makes each of our cities less honest than Boston, where 93.3 percent of the folks dropped a buck for a beverage.

The so-called Honest Stores were unmanned but were carefully monitored to check hometown honesty in several markets.

San Francisco scored a 91 percent honesty rating, while Atlanta and New York City tied at 89 percent, Chicago earned itself a 78 percent honesty rating and Los Angeles’ score was 75 percent. We already knew it was an insincere town, but now we also know that at least a quarter of residents are also dishonest.

In six hours over two days in Waikiki and downtown, Honolulu residents and presumably some visitors dropped $470.81 into the collection box. The earnings will be donated by Honest Tea to the Hawaii Community Foundation.


It is crunch time — time to get Honolulu a bunch of top rankings in Travel + Leisure magazine’s America’s Favorite Cities balloting.

Honolulu is among 35 cities people can rate in the online polling, under way now through Tuesday. Voters indicate whether they are residents or visitors, and votes are tabulated accordingly.

Site visitors can vote multiple times and — as we have seen with such surveys in the past — CVBs, or convention and visitor bureaus, the advertising and public relations agencies that employ them and general boosters of the cities themselves are not too shy to pump the vote using social media sites.

Honolulu got two No. 1 rankings from visitors last year, favorite romantic escape and favorite relaxing retreat. In 2008 Honolulu was America’s Favorite City for overall travel, romantic escapes, relaxing retreats, active or adventure vacations and for weather.

Last year kamaaina also scored Honolulu No. 1 in two categories: diversity of people and weather. However, in 2008, while visitors gave us five No. 1 rankings, we gave ourselves none. Nada. A big fat zero.

Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Advertiser. Reach her by e-mail at




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