Sep. 20, 2013 at 3:22 PM ET
We're scratching our heads over this one.... So a Canadian woman named Blake Loates opens a Vitamin Water, glances at the bottle cap, and does a double-take. Because the cap says, in bold black type: "You Retard."
She then collects herself and tells her family. Her father, Doug Loates, contacts the company—owned by Coca-Cola—to complain. There ensues an explanation that should either win a PR gold-star award, or get someone fired.
The communications department of Coca-Cola Canada says that the ill-fated bottle cap was the result of a contest where consumers in Canada were asked to come up with random English and French words—which were supposed to be combined to form funny phrases. Since "retard" means "late" in French, this was all, er, an innocent mistake.
“Some words that were on the list, such as the one we were contacted about, have a completely innocuous meaning in French and are used regularly within French conversations,” said brand communications director Shannon Denny. “But when you look at that word from an English standpoint, it takes on a much different, offensive meaning. And that was an oversight on our part during that review process.”
Turns out the "retard" mishap wasn't the only one. Denny notes that one bottle cap said "douche." Oops! Because, you know, that means "shower" in French. The promotion has since been canceled.
Meanwhile, it's lucky (if that's the right word) that Blake Loates was the person in her family who happened to open the ill-fated "retard" bottle. Her 11-year-old sister happens to be developmentally disabled.
Classy move, Vitamin Water.
Salma Abdelnour is the food editor at iVillage. You can follow her on Twitter.
A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.