WASHINGTON - George Washington famously said he could not tell a lie, but people in the city that bears his name don't seem to feel so conflicted.
One in five in the US capital failed to drop a suggested $1 (S$1.3) in an honor box when they helped themselves to tea at unmanned kiosks set up by Honest Tea, a beverage company.
In a statement, Honest Tea said it set up 61 such kiosks around the country, including at least one in every state plus the District of Columbia,over 11 days in July.
The most honest folks were in Alabama and Hawaii, where everyone paid without exception, followed by Indiana and Maine with a 99 percent honesty score.
Least honest, besides Washington at 80 percent, was West Virginia at 85 percent, followed by Texas and Kentucky at 87 percent.
Washington state come through for its Founding Father namesake, however,scoring 96 percent - well above the national average of 92 percent.
"Even though my bicycle was stolen the same day as our DC experiment, it's reassuring to know that 92 percent of Americans will do the right thing even when it seems no one is watching," said Seth Goldman, co-founder and "TeaEO" of Honest Tea, based in the Washington suburb of Bethesda, Maryland.
Honest Tea posted full results at www.nationalhonestyindex.com and donated the funds it collected in its survey to Food Corps, a charity that promotes better food for children.