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The following appeared in the opinion column of a financial magazine:
“On average, middle-aged consumers devote 39 percent of their retail expenditure to department store products and services, while for younger consumers the average is only 25 percent. Since the number of middle-aged people will increase dramatically within the next decade, department stores can expect retail sales to increase significantly during that period. Furthermore, to take advantage of the trend, these stores should begin to replace some of those products intended to attract the younger consumer with products intended to attract the middle-aged consumer.”
The paragraph states that the department stores should replace the products of younger consumers with that of the middle aged consumers. This action is based on three facts-- one, it will give trend advantage to the stores, two, on average, middle aged consumers devote 39 percent on retail expenditure to these stores while younger consumer does only 25 percent and three, the middle aged people will increase in number in the next decade. These facts alone cannot be taken as logical reasons for the store to carry its action.
The opinion omits certain important considerations worth analyzing. First, the opinion misses the target audience of the trend. Whether it is mentioned supporting middle aged or younger people is not known. Also, the middle aged people increase does not mean the other age groups are considered stagnant. We also certainly expect an increase in number of younger people. Moreover, the paragraph does not give any information about the people of other age groups.
First, the target group for the trend advantage is not clearly defined. The trend may be intended for middle aged or young ones or to some other group of people. For example, a certain type of T-shirts could be a trend intended for young people. So it is clear that trend is group specific, not applicable to all.
Second, as the opinion states there will be an increase in the number of middle aged people over the next decade, it forgets an unstated assumption that there will be a simultaneous increase in the number of younger people. In fact, this number can even out-number the number of middle-aged people and thereby their contribution may exceed 25 percent.
Finally, no information is stated with respect to the other age group people other than younger or middle aged. Chance are there that they might have more contribution to the success of the store. This point thereby could undermine the conclusion that the stated action would be successful.
The paragraph draws a conclusion that the store should carry out the product replacement merely without analyzing the above stated considerations. Rather, if the store management commitee analyzes clearly about the trend definition, the corresponding increase in the young people number over the next decade and the information on other groups, it would be more convincing and acceptable to arrive at appropriate decisions.
Your structure is okay, but you have two "first" points and your "second" point is actually your third. To your credit, the writing is stylistically correct. However, the reasoning is deeply flawed, which unfortunately means your essay is not persuasive.
You made an understandable, but critical, error in your essay: you misunderstood the word "trend." You referred repeatedly to the "trend" as if it were a fad or a popular occurrence. However, the "trend" in the stem is a demographic trend--a tendency or bias. Your introduction and third paragraph completely miss the mark as a result.
Make sure, when you read prompts, that you slow down! Kaplan recommends 8 full minutes, out of your available 30, to plan an essay. This careful thinking will reduce the odds of making major errors, in improve your score for sure.
Best of luck, and keep on prepping! _________________