On Saturday, May 19th, 18-year-old Jacob Koscinski and his entire extended family were celebrating his recent graduation. Jacob had achieved a 4.79 grade-point average and therefore graduated with the Latin honor summa cum laude, which means “with the highest distinction.” But when the cake was revealed, Jacob and his family stood in disbelief. Apparently, the Publix grocery store online ordering service only knows what the word “cum” means in one specific context (that isn’t the Latin phrase) because Publix censored the word thinking it meant something very different.
Jacob’s mother, Cara Koscinski, used the Publix website to design and customize her son’s graduation cake. In the “cake message option” box, which allows customers to add an inscription to their cake, Cara wrote, “Congrats Jacob! Summa Cum Laude class of 2018.”
But the site recognized the word “cum” as something profane and replaced it with three hyphens in the message. Surprised, Cara used the “special instructions” box below the order to explain that the word in question was part of a well-known Latin phrase, and even linked to an outside source for translation.
Unfortunately, there must have been a miscommunication between the website and the local Publix cake decorator.
Cara called the local Publix and spoke to the assistant manager. According to The Washington Post, the manager offered to remake the cake, but Cara declined. She instead accepted a $70 refund.
Although she couldn’t believe she was the first one to request “summa cum laude” on a cake, Cara hopes no one else runs into this problem with Publix in the future.
Take note, Publix: Latin is not dead.