Dear Honest Tea: Is This Honest Enough for You?

Coca-Cola brought dozens of bottles of its sweetened tea brand, Honest Tea, to downtown San Francisco yesterday, left them sitting out in Justin Herman Plaza, and expected us to pay $1 for them.

Amazingly, 93 percent of us did! San Franciscans are just that charitable, even to outsiders.

And how were we rewarded? Coke issued a press release calling Chicago the most honest city in America.

Let's see: Chicago is a city where the governor tried to sell a Senate seat. Even Chicago magazine wrote an article in its December issue titled “Why Is Illinois So Corrupt?

Meanwhile, San Francisco came in only eighth at paying for our CokeHonest Tea. It turns out the people in Philadelphia and Cincinnati value their dollars less — or perhaps their corporate-owned, sweetened iced tea more.

Perhaps 100 percent of us would have paid for our tea if it were Tejava, the best bottled iced tea brand on the market. Tejava is completely unsweetened, and while we don't know what exactly the company means when it says it's “microbrewed,” it tastes like tea, not blackberry syrup or passion fruit bubblegum or whatever other flavors Coke is pouring into Honest Tea bottles these days.

We would walk past hundreds of bottles of free Honest Tea to pay $1 for a bottle of Tejava. Is that honest enough for you?

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