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Practice AWA Argument Analysis! Review/comments appreciated!

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Practice AWA Argument Analysis! Review/comments appreciated! [#permalink] New post 28 Aug 2012, 17:37
This is my second attempt at the argument task, I found this prompt easier to respond to than my first try. Is anyone willing to tell me what they think? Thanks so much!

Prompt:
The following appeared in a memorandum from the assistant manager of Pageturner Books:
“Over the past two years, Pageturner’s profits have decreased by 5 percent, even though we have added a popular café as well as a music section selling CDs and tapes. At the same time, we have experienced an increase in the theft of merchandise. We should therefore follow the example of Thoreau Books, which increased its profits after putting copies of its most frequently stolen books on a high shelf behind the payment counter. By doing likewise with copies of the titles that our staff reported stolen last year, we too can increase profitability.”

In the above article, the assistant manager of Pageturner Books recommends a placing reportedly stolen book titles behind the cash counter to prevent further profit loss. He makes this recommendation based on the success of this strategy at another bookstore, Thoreau Books. The argument above fails to make a sound conclusion as to why Pageturner Books should implement a similar anti-theft strategy as Thoreau Books.

The assistant manager at Pageturner has concluded that theft is the reason for the 5 percent decrease in profits over the past two years. He assumes that the café and music section that were added during this time period are profitable. Although he describes the café as popular, popularity does not necessarily mean profitability. Music is also very expensive and could be costing the store money as well. Without any sort of analysis given on the cost of these other two areas of the store, it is hard to say that theft is the only thing contributing to Pageturner’s decreased profits. Therefore, putting stolen titles behind the counter may not solve the problem.

The idea that theft of the books may not be the only thing contributing to profit decreases is furthered by the fact that the assistant manager cites “increased in the theft of merchandise” not just specifically books. The cd’s and tapes in the music section may not only be expensive to have on the shelves, but could actually be the things being stolen at higher rates. Again, putting just the frequently stolen books behind the counter will not fix the decreased profit problem. It would help if the store had a more detailed system for logging and analyzing theft data.

Finally, although both Pageturner and Thoreau are bookstores, it is not mentioned what type of books they specialize in. If one store is in a bad area of town, discouraging theft could have greater impacts on the theft rate and profitability, but this is not given in the article. . How bad was the theft problem at Thoreau compared to Pageturner’s theft problem. T the above article does not mention any other strategies Thoreau Books may have implemented to increase their profitability. It is not known whether Thoreau Books also spent money on other store improvements, which could contribute to their increased profitability or even whether they have the same sort of expenses as Pageturner Books. Without knowing how the stores compare, it is hard to say the anti-theft strategy will have the same success at both stores.

In conclusion, the assistant manager’s conclusion of how to increase profitability at Pageturner Books is unfounded. He has not taken into account other ways the store could be losing money other than theft; he has not studied the actual data of what merchandise is being stolen the most; and he has not drawn a clear connection between the two book stores that would make it reasonable to compare them.
Practice AWA Argument Analysis! Review/comments appreciated!   [#permalink] 28 Aug 2012, 17:37
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Practice AWA Argument Analysis! Review/comments appreciated!

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