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

MPI10MediaPunch/IPX via AP Images

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 sheet cake online, with a customized inscription, from the Charleston Publix for a high school graduation party for her 18-year-0ld son, Jacob.

Jacob received his diploma with a 4.89 grade point average after completing a Christian homeschooling program. The young honors graduate 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.

The phrase, which is in Latin, translates to “with highest honors,” and signifies Jacob’s lofty academic achievement. Cara Koscinski even explained the meaning in the special instructions box on the Publix website when the website initially rejected the wording with a message that profane language wasn’t allowed. She included a hyperlink to a more detailed explanation.

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

The innocent phrase was apparently the victim of settings within the supermarket’s online cake-ordering system. The Publix algorithm flagged the original inscription as inappropriate, hence the hyphens. Jacob’s mom discussed the situation with an apologetic 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 omission.

“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; his friends found the situation very amusing, however.

Prior to her phone call to Publix, 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 in question, reading it as an obscenity 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, Tennessee, and Virginia.