Oct 192011
Authors: Erin Udell

What do you do when nobody’s looking?

This is the question a new beverage brand set out to answer recently by setting up an unmanned tea and lemonade stand run entirely on the honor system and faith in CSU students.

“It’s a social experiment,” said Megan Lamb, a marketing manager for Honest Beverage, the brand featured at the Lory Student Center Flea Market stand Wednesday afternoon. “People have the option of buying a bottle for one dollar or just taking one.”

The drinks available, Honest Tea and Honest Ade, are new to campus. And, as Coca Cola products, Lamb said the event will help promote both the Honest Tea brand and Coca Cola, which entered into a partnership deal with CSU this summer.

The drink stand, also called “The Honest Store,” has been tried on several different college campuses and cities nationwide.

“We’ve seen pretty good results,” Lamb said. “The lowest (honesty rate) was at 70 percent and the highest was around 97.”

Throughout the day, CSU students, faculty and campus visitors had the option to pay for their drinks by dropping a dollar into a display box.

And the clear collection box filled with one-dollar bills was a signifier that Rams stack up well compared to other campuses.

“It really looks pretty honest out there,” said Jessi Stokes, brand ambassador for Honest Beverage, adding that she and Lamb sneaked peeks throughout the day. “People will think long and hard before they just swipe it.”

As one of the honest students who purchased a drink, senior social work major Kayleanne Murdock said she was initially unsure of the whole idea.

“At first I was like, ‘what are they thinking?’’’ Murdock said. “But then I started really liking it.”

At the end of the four-hour long experiment, Lamb and Stokes counted the amount of money compared to the number of drinks taken. The percentage of honest participants ended up at 85.5 percent.

“I think a lot of people are surprised when they get the numbers back,” Lamb said. “Some people don’t think people are as honest as they actually are.”

“I think it’s really neat to show CSU and Colorado citizens that people are inherently honest,” Lamb added.

Despite being the only college campus tested in Colorado, Lamb said CSU isn’t the only stop the Honest Store will make in the state, with an experiment taking place in Denver on Oct. 30.

News Editor Erin Udell can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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