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Please rate this Argument essay [#permalink]
01 Nov 2010, 17:54
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.
Re: Please rate this Argument essay [#permalink]
16 Nov 2010, 17:35
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! _________________