If you want to buy a cake for a student who’s graduating “with the highest distinction,” do not go to popular Southeastern grocery store chain Publix, because, as one mom in Charleston, South Carolina, recently found out, the chain will refuse to write the middle word in “summa cum laude” on the pastry.
Cara Koscinski decided to order a cake for her son’s graduation party using the Publix website, which lets customers type out their desired inscriptions. Since Koscinski’s son, Jacob, graduated with a 4.89 grade-point average, his mom wanted the cake to read, “Congrats Jacob! Summa Cum Laude class of 2018.”
She attempted to type that phrase into the cake ordering app, but it kept filtering out the word “cum” while sending the message “profane/special characters not allowed.” In the “special instructions” portion of the ordering form, Koscinski added a message about the scholarly distinction as well as a link to a webpage explaining the Latin definition of summa cum laude, and placed the order.
On graduation day, Koscinski’s husband and sister picked up the cake and the family unboxed the treat at home only to find that the inscription read: “Congrats Jacob! Summa --- Laude class of 2018.” Koscinski took to Facebook to share her grievance over the bungled message — and the fact that she had to explain the mistake to her mom — while also noting that her son was “humiliated” by this experience:
Ok. I didn’t want to post but I cannot resist. I ordered Jacob’s graduation cake from Publix. A $70 cake!! He earned a...Posted by Cara Koscinski on Sunday, May 20, 2018
Yesterday, Koscinski called up Publix to file a complaint in the hopes of preventing future families from running into this same problem. An assistant manager apologized and offered to make a new cake with the correct message, but Koscinski declined, saying “No, you only graduate once.”
The chain at least offered her a $70 refund plus a gift card, and now young Jacob will have a hilarious anecdote to tell to his dormmates when he heads off to college in the fall.
• Proud mom orders ‘Summa Cum Laude’ cake online. Publix censors it: Summa … Laude. [WP]
• Cara Koscinski [Facebook]