Publix Supermarket Edits Latin Honors Phrase ‘Summa Cum Laude’ From Graduation Cake

The automated ‘cake boss’ evidently changed the wording.

Some people might conclude that this story takes the cake. A Publix in South Carolina decided to censor the word “cum” from a graduation cake because the supermarket misinterpreted the meaning of the Latin phrase.

Cara Koscinski says she ordered a build-your-own cake online, with a customized inscription, from the Charleston Publix as part of a graduation party for her 18-year-0ld son Jacob, who received his degree with a 4.89 grade point average after completing his Christian homeschooling program. Jacob is headed to a pre-med program at Wingate University on a full academic scholarship.

“Carefully, she typed in the message she wanted on the cake: “Congrats Jacob! Summa Cum Laude class of 2018,’ the Washington Post reported about the wording that signifies the lofty academic achievement. She even explained the meaning in the special instructions box on the website.

When everyone at the party gathered around and they opened up the cake box, they found that some editing had occurred, and the inscription instead read “Summa — Laude.”

The innocent phrase in its unedited form means “with the highest distinction.” Apparently the Publix algorithm flagged the original inscription as inappropriate, hence the hyphens.

Jacob’s mom discussed the situation with the store manager the next day but declined the offer of a replacement cake. The store did refund the $70 that she paid for it and threw in a gift card, however.

Cara noted that her son was “absolutely humiliated” as a result of the situation.

“It was unbelievable. I ordered the special graduation edition cake. I can’t believe I’m the first one to ever write ‘Summa Cum Laude’ on a cake,” she added. Cara nonetheless described the chocolate and vanilla cake as delicious, although her son didn’t eat much of it.

She summarized what happened in the Facebook post below.

Even though it is graduation season, apparently the Publix profanity filter is still blocking the word (that, of course, means “with”) in question and replacing it with hyphens.

The Publix regional grocery chain operates about 1,000 locations primarily in Florida, but also has stores in Georgia, Alabama, North and South Carolina, Tenneessee, and Virginia.

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