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The following appeared in a magazine article on trends and lifestyles: “In general, people are not as concerned as they were a decade ago about regulating their intake of red meat and fatty cheeses. Walk into the Heart’s Delight, a store that started selling organic fruits and vegetables and whole-grain flours in the 1960’s, and you will also find a wide selection of cheeses made with high butterfat content. Next door, the owners of the Good Earth Café, an old vegetarian restaurant, are still making a modest living, but the owners of the new House of Beef across the street are millionaires.” Discuss how well reasoned . . . etc.
This argument contends that people are not as concerned as they were a decade ago about regulating theur intake of red meat and fatty cheeses based on two different obserations by the author. While the author's conclusion may be ultimately correct, the logic the author uses to arrive at his conclusion is certainly weak. As such, I cannot fully agree with this argument as it is presented.
Firstly, the fact that Heart's Delight offer a wide selection of high butterfat cheeses does not immediately imply that sales volume for these products is high. There could be multiple reasons why Heart's Delight offer such a wide selection of high butterfat cheeses even if their sales volume are not high. For example, it is certainly possible that the profit margin per unit of these products is so high that selling only a marginal volume of them will justify offering such a large selection at Heart's Delight even though the sales volume is not high. Furthermore, even if we were to assume that sales volume of these high butterfat cheese were high, the argument did not present any evidence that these high butterfat content cheese were consumed by a large proportion of the population. Specifically, the possibility that a small percentage of the population accounts for the vast majority of the consumption of these high butterfat cheeses. If this were the case, then the author's argument that people are not as concerned about the consumption of fatty cheese as they were a decade ago would be proved false.
Secondly, the fact that the owners of the House of Beef are millionaires while the owners of the Good Earth Cafe are making a modest living does not directly support the author's argument. The author had neglected to mention the product mix of the House of Beef. While the name of the restaurant implies that this establishment is well-known for its beef products, this by no means proves that patrons of this restaurant only purchase beef products, or even purchase beef products mostly. For instance, patrons of the House of Beef may favor non-red-meat products on its menu. Also, the author failed to mention the profit margin per item in both the Good Earth Cafe and the House of Beef. It is certainly possible that the main profit driver of the House of Beef is something other than its red-meat products. As an example, the House of Beef may have acquired an alcoholic beverage license, and generate most of its profits through sales of alcohol. In such an event, the mere fact that the House of Beef is more profitable than the Good Earth Cafe does not indicate the lack of concern for regulating intake of red meat.
Finally, no evidence was presented on if the population sampled in this study is representative of the population in general. If this were not the case, then the author's inference of the general population based on his observation of this skewed sample will be invalid.
Having said that, the author's argument is not entirely without merit. However, to strengthen his argument, it would be much more convincing if the author had included more evidence to prove the validity of his observations. For example, the author could explain why the population sampled in this study is indicative of the population in general. The author may also wish to explain how the profit margins of the Good Earth Cafe and the House of Beef directly relates to the amount of red-meat consumed by the population under study. If these additional pieces of information were presented, a better picture of the entire situation will be painted, and his conclusion may be logically deduced from his observations.
In sum, I cannot agree with the author's conclusion that people are not as concerned as they were a decade ago about regulating their intake of red meat and fatty cheese based on the argument as it is oresented right now. The author neglected to show that the fact that Heart's Delight offers a wide selection of fatty cheese means that a large proportion of the population consumes fatty cheeses. The author also did not show how the higher profit margin of the House of Beef when conpared to the Good Earth Cafe means that the population under study consumes more red meat than a decade ago. As such, I am unable to concur with the author's conclusion unless he further supports his arguments with the additional pieces of information I mentioned.
Great essay, Newbie - I can't see this essay getting you anything less than a 5.5. It was:
1) Well organized into a clear introduction and conclusion with well-developed and structured support paragraphs 2) Well thought-out with on-topic, insightful critiques of the argument 3) In-line with the entire question asked of you in these essays (point out assumptions and weaknesses, offer suggestions for strengthening, etc.)
If I could offer a slight suggestion or two for improvement, I'd say:
1) You may be able to "set the scene" a little bit better by rephrasing the prompt before you get to the beginning "this argument...". Maybe something like: "In a recent cuisine article, the author claims that..." It's a subtle difference but has a more heightened sense of audience that "the GMAT is making me write this", and may demonstrate a little bit more command of written English.
2) Your third support paragraph is a bit asymmetrical with the rest in terms of length...you may have gone even too much into detail on paragraphs 2 and 3 and left the 4th without enough time. I don't want to mess with your writing style at all, but if you worry about timing, know that 3-4 sentence per paragraph is more than enough to make your point and move on, so you could stand to tighten up a bit to save time for the end of the essay.
Overall, great work! I actually enjoyed reading this one! _________________
The write has made a claim that people are not concerned about their intake of read meat and fatty cheese. Firstly, this claim is not supported by any evidence. Secondly the evidence provided for his claim is either incomplete or misses many critical aspects.
The writer has made a claim that people are not concerned about their intake of read meat and fatty cheese as they were a decade ago. Firstly the writer needs to establish that what is he referring to when he talks about "people". Is he referring to the inhabitants of a certain city e.g. London, or some country etc.? Secondly to support this claim the writer first needs to show what was the consumption per person of read meat a decade ago and what is it now. Without making such a comparison the writer's claim is not establlished. Secondly he can do a survey of people and ask their opinion of what they think about the healthy food options (organic fruits, vegetable etc.) vs read meat and fatty cheese. This will also give him an idea about whether people are actually concerned as well, irrespective of their consumption. Because people can be genuinely concerned but might still be consuming read meat and fatty cheese because of factors like availability, price etc. If there are few shops that provide organic fruit and it is expensive as well as compared to red meat, although unlikely, will make people prefer read meat and fatty cheese over organic fruit and vegetables
Secondly the writer supports him claim by giving two examples. One is of Heart's Delight. A store that originally started selling organic fruits and vegetables but then also offered cheese. Firstly the writer cannot conclude any thing on people's preference based on one or few shops. He has to take a large sample to justify his claim. For example if he is talking about a city that has a 100,00 shops divided into 100 localities, he needs to take atleast one large shop per locality to have a representative sample size. Secondly He needs to consider what is the revenue of this shop that is coming from organic fruits and vegetables and what is coming from cheese. This will give an idea about people's preference who visit this particular shop. Secondly the writer needs to look at other variables that might have led to this shop offering cheese. For example, they might have found a low cost supplier of cheese. So without considering all these factors that writer cannot support his claim
The second example he gives if of two shops, Good Earth Cafe and House beef. He claims that Good Earth Cafe is making a modest living and House Beef has become millionaires which proves that people are not concerned about their intake of red meat and fatty cheese. Here again the writer is relying on faulty assumptions and missing important points which are necessary to establish this claim. Firstly this Cafe is located next door to another shop, Heart's Delight that is selling the similar products (organic fruits, vegetables etc.). It might be the case that people are buying from Heart's Delight and Heart's Delight is making a lot of money from it's organic food section: Much more then the Beef shop. Secondly there might be many shops in that locaility that are selling organic food and this Beef Shop might be the only one in the locality. So as stated above, the writer needs to take a larger sample size to establish high arguments. Thirdly their could be other reasons for poor sale of the Good Earth Cafe like poor food quality etc.
To make a robust and sound argument the writer needs to do two things. Firstly he needs to establish his argument. This will invovle defining what is he referring to as "people". Gathering data and interviewing people to establish people are not concerned and comparing this to data and opinion a decade ago. Secondly he needs to increase the sample size of the stores and look at other reasons why certain stores might not be performing well. Only then he can make this claim
The author of the article has tried to link people's interest in health, through the food they intake, with the wealth generated by owner of a Beef store as against the perished condition of owners of vegetarian restaurant. Also, the author has assumed that presence of high butterfact content cheese in an organic store is an indicator that people prefer high fat content cheese over healthy organic fruits and vegetables.
The author's argument is flawed at various levels and the biggest amongst them is to account wealth of owners of House of Beef to high sales that they are having to this store. Major flaw of this argument is the author's assumption that the owners became rich because of high sales and profitability of this store itself. There is a possibility that the owners' were already rich even before the store opened. Also, there is a possibility that this store is part of multi-city multi store chain and hence owners, even if they became rich because of this store, are rich because of the economies of scale they persue.
Another aspect that author of this article has ignored is the market competition and profitability of an individual store. The author has not discussed about competition that organic food and vegetarian restaurant face in their market. There is a possibility that both these stores are located in a market wherein there are many chains offering similar product and hence the competition is not allowing the owners to make excessive profit. Also, author has ignored the possibility that there is a very small market of high butterfat content cheese and Heart's Delight owner want to tap this market too along with the high organic food sales that he do.
Furthermore, the author has ignored the possibility that quality of meat at House of Beef is so superior that it has finished all the competitors in the market and hence the owner is able to make supernormal profit for the store.
Lastly, the author is basis his decision without taking into consideration the sales generated by individual stores. There is a possibility that the organic food store as well as the vegetarian restaurant are making strong sales but they are not able to manage their stores properly and hence they have low profitability. Also, high butterfat content cheese may be a high profitability item and hence Heart's Delight owner has decided to offer it as product to improve his profitability.
In conclusion, it can be argued that the author fails to provide any evidence to support his conclusion. The conclusion has various assumptions, which if interpreted otherwise can lead to very different reasons for the current state of things in the three stores discussed. It is therefore essential that author provide more inputs on his rationale before a conslusion can be arrived at.
"The author of the magazine article on trends and lifestyles failed to support their conclusion that people are, in general, not as concerned as they were a decade ago about regulating their intake of red meat and fatty cheeses. In developing their argument, the author cited two isolated examples, both of which require very questionable assumptions to be made in order for them to support the conclusion, and neither of which support a sweeping generalization across populations and time. As a result, both the line of reasoning and use of evidence are insufficient in this argument.
The author's first example about Heart's Delight, presumably a grocery store, offers very weak support of the author's conclusion that people are not as concerned as they were a decade about regulating their intake of red meat and fatty cheeses. It appears that the author's intention in using this example is for the reader to infer that Heart's Delight has only recently added its wide selection of cheeses with high butterfat content, that it added those cheeses in order to meet perceived consumer demand, that consumers are in fact purchasing a significant amount of those cheeses, that those purchases are substituting for what would have been purchases of organic fruits and vegetables and whole-grain flours, and that price does not play a role in those consumer preferences. These questionable assumptions are required in order for this example to support the conclusion. However, many of them are very questionable indeed. For instance, there is nothing in the article excerpt that indicates that these cheeses are a recent addition to the store. It's possible that Heart's Delight has been selling them since the 1960s. It is also possible that they sell very poorly, and in fact, it is possible that they sell more poorly today than a decade ago. It is also possible that they sell well today, but that consumers purchase them because the average price of the organic food times has increased. Clearly, this example is a poor one and does not support the author's conclusion.
The author's second example is similarly inadequate in that it requires several questionable assumptions in order to support the conclusion. Here, the author notes that the owners of the Good Earth Cafe, and old vegetarian restaurant, are still making a modest living, but the owners of the new House of Beef across the street are millionaires. Again, it is helpful to consider the author's intended inference with this example. The author appears to intend for the reader to infer that the owners of the Good Earth Cafe have seen falling consumer demand but still have sufficient demand to make a modest living, that the business expertise or lack thereof of the Good Earth Cafe owners has no impact on their recent fortunes, that the new House of Beef across the street is experiencing explosive consumer demand, and the fact that the owners of the House of Beef are millionaires is directly a result of the new location's success. These are just some of the many questionable assumptions that are required in order for this example to support the conclusion. Like the previous example about Heart's Delight, almost all of these questionable assumptions cannot be reasonably made. For instance, it is very possible that the new House of Beef is a money-losing proposition that is unable to sell its beef and that the new owners are simply millionaires from a prior success. Even in the event that all of these questionable assumptions are true, this example does not indicate in any strong way that there has been a shift in consumer tastes over the last decade. Clearly, then, this example does not support the author's conclusion.
In summary, this argument is very poorly reasoned. Its line of reasoning requires highly questionable assumptions and additional premises in order to successfully reach the conclusion. Perhaps the greatest weakness of this argument is its lack of appropriate example and evidence. For instance, a survey performed every year that tracks both people's stated concerns about regulating their intake of red meat and fatty cheeses as well as their purchases would greatly enhance the ability of the reader to evaluate this conclusion. By referencing both the concerns themselves as well as the actions taken by consumers, the author would be able to dismiss alternative explanations with authority. Ultimately, however, the conclusion presented here may be true, but the point is that it is impossible based on this argument to evaluate that conclusion."
Re: Please rate this Argument essay
08 May 2016, 13:58