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# Many consumers are concerned about the ecological effects of

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Q50  V47
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Q49  V42
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This question would be categorized simply as a Weakener, but you're right that it's a bit unusual: we're not asked to weaken some traditional conclusion such as a prediction or a proposal, but to undermine the "explanation."

In this sense, the real Conclusion of this Argument is the very beginning of the second sentence: "This concern probably explains...." That is, what we have to weaken is that the customer concern IS in fact the reason for the store's stocking decision.

To weaken this, we're going to show that customer concern IS NOT the reason -- that there is some other reason. (D) does this: It shows how another reason, saving money on storage space, and not customer concern, is present, and thus potentially the actual reason the store had in mind.

In fact, Alternate Causes are one of the most common right answer choices for Weaken, Flaw, and Paradox questions on CR, so it's a really good idea to get used to seeing them and selecting them with confidence.

What i believe is that the First line is the conclusion.
The author OBSERVES that
1)stores have been quick to stock new
cleaning products that have been produced in a con-
centrated form.
2)The concentrated form is packaged in
smaller containers that use less plastic and require
less transportation space.

The Autor then concludes that this must have been a result of consumer `s concern for the environment.

D weaken the conclusion by offering an alternate explanation for Author`s Observation
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The first sentence is definitely not a conclusion: It is stated as a fact and is used to support the author's main argument that it serves as an explanation. The word "probably" indicates that the second sentence is something the author is trying to prove, and not taken as a given fact, thus making it a Conclusion and not Evidence. However, I agree with mundasingh that the correct answer provides an alternate explanation, a very common right answer choice in the GMAT.
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Lets take this question with analogy. liquid soap vs solid soap.

Facts: Many consumers are concerned about the ecological effects of wasteful packaging. This concern probably explains why stores have been quick to stock new cleaning products that have been produced in a concentrated form.

Explanation : The concentrated form is packaged in smaller containers that use less plastic and require less transportation space.

Objective: Weaken the explanation, while fact is fact and conclusion remains the same.

Pre-think : So stores have big stock of solid soap cause packaged in smaller containers that use less plastic and require less transportation space. i say stores are doing it for some other reason. lets say more demand. they take less space. more profit margin. handy. etc.

Which of the following, if true, most seriously undermines the explanation offered above?

(A) Few consumers believe that containers of concentrated cleaning products are merely small packages of regular cleaning products. --- few? not impacting explanation.

(B) The containers in which concentrated cleaning products are packaged are no harder to recycle than those in which regular cleaning products are packaged. --- so recycle for both is equal. no diff at all. fact falls. bad choice.

(C) Those concentrated cleaning products that are intended to be used diluted have clear instructions for dilution printed on their labels. --- good thing but explanation stand tall.

(D) The smaller containers of concentrated cleaning products enable supermarkets and drugstores to increase their revenues from a given shelf space. --- on the line of pre thinking.

(E) Consumer pressure has led to the elimination of wasteful cardboard packaging that was used for compact discs. --- irrelevant
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KarishmaB wrote:
ajit257 wrote:
Many consumers are concerned about the ecological effects of wasteful packaging. This concern probably explains why stores have been quick to stock new cleaning products that have been produced in a concentrated form. The concentrated form is packaged in smaller containers that use less plastic and require less transportation space.

Which of the following, if true, most seriously undermines the explanation offered above?

(A) Few consumers believe that containers of concentrated cleaning products are merely small packages of regular cleaning products.

(B) The containers in which concentrated cleaning products are packaged are no harder to recycle than those in which regular cleaning products are packaged.

(C) Those concentrated cleaning products that are intended to be used diluted have clear instructions for dilution printed on their labels.

(D) The smaller containers of concentrated cleaning products enable supermarkets and drugstores to increase their revenues from a given shelf space.

(E) Consumer pressure has led to the elimination of wasteful cardboard packaging that was used for compact discs.

Situation: Stores are stocking new cleaning products that have been produced in a concentrated form. The concentrated form is packaged in smaller containers that use less plastic and require less transportation space.
Explanation: Many consumers are concerned about the ecological effects of wasteful packaging.

The argument tries to explain the current situation in which the stores are stocking concentrated products by reasoning that consumers are concerned about effects of wasteful packaging.

Question: Which of the following, if true, most seriously undermines the explanation offered above?

We need to find an option that undermines this explanation. Something that tells us that the stores may be stocking concentrated products for some other reason, not because consumers are concerned about effects of wasteful packaging.

(A) Few consumers believe that containers of concentrated cleaning products are merely small packages of regular cleaning products.

It is good for our explanation that few (which basically means none or very very less) consumers believe that containers of concentrated cleaning products are merely small packages of regular cleaning products. If many consumers thought that containers of concentrated cleaning products are merely small packages of regular cleaning products, they would want these small packages. It would be ecologically wasteful. Because they believe that these packages are concentrated and not just regular product, they know that the actual content in each small package is far more. One can dilute it and get a lot more of the regular product from this small package. Hence, instead of packaging regular product in big containers, packing concentrated product in small containers is more ecologically friendly.
Hence, this option does not undermine our explanation.

(B) The containers in which concentrated cleaning products are packaged are no harder to recycle than those in which regular cleaning products are packaged.

Again, it is good for our explanation that these concentrated product packages can be recycled easily too. Consumers would want it then.

(C) Those concentrated cleaning products that are intended to be used diluted have clear instructions for dilution printed on their labels.

Irrelevant.

(D) The smaller containers of concentrated cleaning products enable supermarkets and drugstores to increase their revenues from a given shelf space.

This is an alternative explanation for why stores are stocking concentrated product. Not because consumers are worried about ecological impact but because they can increase revenue from their available shelf space by stocking smaller containers.
Hence it undermines the explanation provided by the argument.

(E) Consumer pressure has led to the elimination of wasteful cardboard packaging that was used for compact discs.

Irrelevant. If anything, it would make it more likely that consumer pressure against wasteful packaging has an impact.

PanpaliaAnshul

Hi KarishmaB
I agree option D provides alternate explanation. It does not, however, explains that even considering ecological impact, the stores could make profit. Why are we assuming that making profit and being ecologically effective are mutually exclusive events ?
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Namangupta1997 wrote:
KarishmaB wrote:
ajit257 wrote:
Many consumers are concerned about the ecological effects of wasteful packaging. This concern probably explains why stores have been quick to stock new cleaning products that have been produced in a concentrated form. The concentrated form is packaged in smaller containers that use less plastic and require less transportation space.

Which of the following, if true, most seriously undermines the explanation offered above?

(A) Few consumers believe that containers of concentrated cleaning products are merely small packages of regular cleaning products.

(B) The containers in which concentrated cleaning products are packaged are no harder to recycle than those in which regular cleaning products are packaged.

(C) Those concentrated cleaning products that are intended to be used diluted have clear instructions for dilution printed on their labels.

(D) The smaller containers of concentrated cleaning products enable supermarkets and drugstores to increase their revenues from a given shelf space.

(E) Consumer pressure has led to the elimination of wasteful cardboard packaging that was used for compact discs.

Situation: Stores are stocking new cleaning products that have been produced in a concentrated form. The concentrated form is packaged in smaller containers that use less plastic and require less transportation space.
Explanation: Many consumers are concerned about the ecological effects of wasteful packaging.

The argument tries to explain the current situation in which the stores are stocking concentrated products by reasoning that consumers are concerned about effects of wasteful packaging.

Question: Which of the following, if true, most seriously undermines the explanation offered above?

We need to find an option that undermines this explanation. Something that tells us that the stores may be stocking concentrated products for some other reason, not because consumers are concerned about effects of wasteful packaging.

(A) Few consumers believe that containers of concentrated cleaning products are merely small packages of regular cleaning products.

It is good for our explanation that few (which basically means none or very very less) consumers believe that containers of concentrated cleaning products are merely small packages of regular cleaning products. If many consumers thought that containers of concentrated cleaning products are merely small packages of regular cleaning products, they would want these small packages. It would be ecologically wasteful. Because they believe that these packages are concentrated and not just regular product, they know that the actual content in each small package is far more. One can dilute it and get a lot more of the regular product from this small package. Hence, instead of packaging regular product in big containers, packing concentrated product in small containers is more ecologically friendly.
Hence, this option does not undermine our explanation.

(B) The containers in which concentrated cleaning products are packaged are no harder to recycle than those in which regular cleaning products are packaged.

Again, it is good for our explanation that these concentrated product packages can be recycled easily too. Consumers would want it then.

(C) Those concentrated cleaning products that are intended to be used diluted have clear instructions for dilution printed on their labels.

Irrelevant.

(D) The smaller containers of concentrated cleaning products enable supermarkets and drugstores to increase their revenues from a given shelf space.

This is an alternative explanation for why stores are stocking concentrated product. Not because consumers are worried about ecological impact but because they can increase revenue from their available shelf space by stocking smaller containers.
Hence it undermines the explanation provided by the argument.

(E) Consumer pressure has led to the elimination of wasteful cardboard packaging that was used for compact discs.

Irrelevant. If anything, it would make it more likely that consumer pressure against wasteful packaging has an impact.

PanpaliaAnshul

Hi KarishmaB
I agree option D provides alternate explanation. It does not, however, explains that even considering ecological impact, the stores could make profit. Why are we assuming that making profit and being ecologically effective are mutually exclusive events ?

We are not claiming that they are mutually exclusive.

We are questioning this: Consumer sentiment explains why stores have been quick to stock new cleaning products that have been produced in a concentrated form.

Consider a dialogue between two people:

A: The store is stocking concentrated product now.
B: It is because consumers like environmentally friendly products.
A: No, the store can use its shelf space more profitably that is why.

This argument of A's undermines the explanation given by B. It doesn't prove that B's explanation is incorrect. It just undermines it. That is what we are looking for.
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Hi experts, I couldn't understand why option A is incorrect. Can you please help? Karishma has explained it well but I am not able to able to understand her explanation.
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ankitapugalia wrote:
Hi experts, I couldn't understand why option A is incorrect. Can you please help? Karishma has explained it well but I am not able to able to understand her explanation.

Let's start by breaking down the passage:

• Conclusion: Consumer concern over wasteful packing explains why stores "have been quick to stock cleaning products that have been produced in concentrated form."
• Evidence 1: Many consumers are concerned about the ecological effects of wasteful packaging.
• Evidence 2: The concentrated form requires less plastic and transportation space.

The correct answer should undermine this conclusion (i.e. it should undermine the idea that consumer concern explains why stores are stocking cleaning products produced in concentrated form).

Let's now consider (A):

Quote:
Which of the following, if true, most seriously undermines the explanation offered above?

(A) Few consumers believe that containers of concentrated cleaning products are merely small packages of regular cleaning products.

If few customers believe that the containers with concentrated cleaning products have regular cleaning products in them, what does that tell us?

Well, if many customers had that belief, that would mean that many customers were really confused. More specifically, many consumers would think that the concentrated containers didn't actually contain concentrated products, but just regular products. So (A) reassures us this is not the case.

But does that undermine the explanation?

Not really. It reassures us that only a few customers are confused about what's inside the concentrated containers. But if anything, that provides a slight strengthener of the conclusion. Because if consumers were confused about the concentrated containers, you probably wouldn't expect stores to start stocking these containers to address consumer concern. After all, if the consumers were confused about the new containers, the availability of such containers probably wouldn't alleviate their concerns. So the fact that only a few consumers have this confusion helps to dismiss that objection.

Overall, since (A) doesn't undermine the idea that the concentrated containers are stocked because of consumer concern, it's incorrect.

I hope that helps!
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Note : As per argument the explanation is Many consumers are concerned about the ecological effects of wasteful packaging so stores have been quick to stock new cleaning products that have been produced in a concentrated form.

But as per option D, stores did not change the packaging because they were concerned about the env. rather it was because they wanted to increase revenue by packing more products in the same shelf space. -> (supported by last point in argument, The concentrated form is packaged in smaller containers that use less plastic and require less transportation space.)
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Undersanding the argument -
Many consumers are concerned about the ecological effects of wasteful packaging. - Fact
This concern probably explains why stores have been quick to stock new cleaning products that have been produced in a concentrated form. - Conclusion
The concentrated form is packaged in smaller containers that use less plastic and require less transportation space. - premise

Option elimination - We need to find an alternate reason to weaken the reasoning.

(A) Few consumers believe that containers of concentrated cleaning products are merely small packages of regular cleaning products. - What few consumers believe if out of scope.

(B) The containers in which concentrated cleaning products are packaged are no harder to recycle than those in which regular cleaning products are packaged. - but still, it is less plastic. the argument stays. Distortion.

(C) Those concentrated cleaning products that are intended to be used diluted have clear instructions for dilution printed on their labels. We don't care from this argument's perspective. Out of scope.

(D) The smaller containers of concentrated cleaning products enable supermarkets and drugstores to increase their revenues from a given shelf space. - perfect. This is the alternate reason.

(E) Consumer pressure has led to the elimination of wasteful cardboard packaging that was used for compact discs. Out of scope.