Those messages on the bottle caps of Sobe, Snapple, and Vitamin Water sure are fun, aren’t they? Not if you’re Blake Loates, a Canadian woman who curiously unscrewed her cap only to be greeted with “YOU RETARD.”
Well, that’s just a crappy thing to say.
The Edmonton-based shutterbug said that she discovered the cap while she was at dinner with her husband Tuesday night. “We were both pretty shocked,” she said. “The R-word is just something we don’t say in my family.”
For good reason, too. Loates’ younger sister Fiona is living with cerebal palsy and autism, so the odious “R-word” is especially stingy to members of her family. They were all pretty upset when she told them about the cap.
“My dad is quite upset and is on a rampage,” she said.
In fact, he spent all night typing up an epic letter to Coca-Cola, the makers of Vitamin Water. He ends it by declaring he’ll never drink Coke again (you can read it below).
So what happened on Coke’s end? Despite what you may think, this wasn’t the work of some disgruntled or mischievous employee. Coke actually did this on purpose as part of a promotion in Canada which mixes a random English word with a random French one (“retard” in French means late, as in, “I was so retard to that meeting”).
Naturally, Coke has offered an apology.
“We did not mean to offend at all,” said the director of brand communications for Coca-Cola in Canada. “We are certainly very apologetic for this oversight.”
The labels were reviewed before they went to shelves, but whoever checked the cap didn’t think about the English context of the word “retard,” the spokesperson said.
David Thomson, vice-president of still beverages for Coca-Cola, said that he’s drafting a personal apology letter to the Loates family and that all remaining “YOU RETARD” caps have been destroyed.
“At no point in time did we intend on offending anyone by any stretch and we have cancelled and moved on and have dealt with this as soon as possible.”
Still, Doug Loates thinks its bizarre that no one picked up on the insensitive cap. After all, not everyone in Canada speaks French.
“I am astonished that a major corporation could allow someone to tarnish their brand,” he said. “Not everyone in Canada speaks French – like my daughter, Blake.”
Check out his epic letter to Coca-Cola below: