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Bankers' Morals Tested by Honest Tea Ploy (VIDEO)

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If you happen across an unsupervised rack of bottled tea next to a jar of dollar bills and a “$1 per bottle” sign today, you'd better not betray that honor system. Thirsty? Plunk down. You're on camera, the Internet is watching, and your city's honor is at stake.

The whole thing is a social experiment/viral-marketing campaign  set up in 11 cities by Honest Tea, the organic tea brand that was swallowed up by Coca-Cola in March. The idea is to rank the cities' honesty by counting how many tea-sippers pay their way. Also, to let Web surfers sit in judgment of those who don't.

For the voyeurs and Wall Street-haters among our readership, below is a live stream of the New York City stand, a couple blocks north of the City Hall subway station and just outside the US Court of International Trade. For what it's worth, Manhattanites so far rank dead last in honesty, with 86% of drinkers paying up. (Chicago, city of big shoulders and Midwestern morals, is the most scrupulous at 99%.)

If your city isn't among the lucky 11, you can scrutinize other Americans' ethics and tell Honest Tea whether you'd leave a buck or not at the website for the promotion. Honest or not, you get a link to its Facebook page and a coupon for a dollar off a bottle. The Internet at large is running a 90% honesty level right now, which would rank third-to-last if it were a city, and which still seems suspiciously high to us.

Honest Tea tried an earlier version of the promotion last year in downtown Manhattan, then pasted together a video purporting to test Wall Street's honesty level when no one's looking.

Wall Street scored a not-so-great 89% honest, with the video showing several thirsty banker-looking dudes blithely flouting the rules and even reaching into the jar (!) to steal other people's bills. (Seriously, people? It's a measly dollar -- doesn't a stick of gum cost a dollar in Manhattan?)

Watch the thievery below:

POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.