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# The postal service is badly mismanaged. Forty years ago,

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28 Apr 2005, 21:31
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The postal service is badly mismanaged. Forty years ago, first-class letter delivery cost only three cents. Since then, the price has increased nearly tenfold, with an actual decrease in the speed and reliability of service.
Each of the following statements, if true, would tend to weaken the argument above EXCEPT:
(A) The volume of mail handled by the postal service has increased dramatically over the last forty years.
(B) Unprecedented increases in the cost of fuel for trucks and planes have put severe upward pressures on postal delivery costs.
(C) Private delivery services usually charge more than does the postal service for comparable delivery charges.
(D) The average delivery time for a first-class letter four decades ago was actually slightly longer than it is today.
(E) The average level of consumer prices overall has increased more than 300 percent over the last forty years.

Please keep in mind that this one is slight different from the post in
http://www.gmatclub.com/phpbb/viewtopic ... hree+cents

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28 Apr 2005, 22:16

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28 Apr 2005, 23:21
The premises are:

1) 40 yrs ago --> 1st class letter delivery cost 3 cents
2) Now --> price is nearly 10 times more, and speed/reliability of service has deproved

Conclusion:
3) Postal service is badly managed.

Each of the following statements, if true, would tend to weaken the argument above EXCEPT:

(A) The volume of mail handled by the postal service has increased dramatically over the last forty years.
- If so, then this might be why the price went up and speed/reliability went down due to increased volume. Out.

(B) Unprecedented increases in the cost of fuel for trucks and planes have put severe upward pressures on postal delivery costs.
- If this is true, then there is a reason for the cost increase. Out.

(C) Private delivery services usually charge more than does the postal service for comparable delivery charges.
- Quite out of scope, and therefore is the answer.

(D) The average delivery time for a first-class letter four decades ago was actually slightly longer than it is today.
- We're told the delivery is slower in the passage, but now we're told the average delivery time 40 yrs back was actually slightly longer. (This has to be true). So D is out.

(E) The average level of consumer prices overall has increased more than 300 percent over the last forty years.
- Then postal service is not actually so bad, it only increased 10 times.

C it is.

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28 Apr 2005, 23:52
I will agree with C....it doesnt relate to the argument completely, hence doesnt weaken it.

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29 Apr 2005, 01:24
agree with ywilfred

C should be it!

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29 Apr 2005, 17:14
ywilfred wrote:
The premises are:

1) 40 yrs ago --> 1st class letter delivery cost 3 cents
2) Now --> price is nearly 10 times more, and speed/reliability of service has deproved

Conclusion:
3) Postal service is badly managed.

Each of the following statements, if true, would tend to weaken the argument above EXCEPT:

(A) The volume of mail handled by the postal service has increased dramatically over the last forty years.
- If so, then this might be why the price went up and speed/reliability went down due to increased volume. Out.

(B) Unprecedented increases in the cost of fuel for trucks and planes have put severe upward pressures on postal delivery costs.
- If this is true, then there is a reason for the cost increase. Out.

(C) Private delivery services usually charge more than does the postal service for comparable delivery charges.
- Quite out of scope, and therefore is the answer.

(D) The average delivery time for a first-class letter four decades ago was actually slightly longer than it is today.
- We're told the delivery is slower in the passage, but now we're told the average delivery time 40 yrs back was actually slightly longer. (This has to be true). So D is out.

(E) The average level of consumer prices overall has increased more than 300 percent over the last forty years.
- Then postal service is not actually so bad, it only increased 10 times.

C it is.

YWilfred,

Some critique of your reasoning - I still don't really know which answer to go with. Am at work - would post a somewhat detailed reasoning later.

You say the volume of mail handled has gone up dramatically.
Therefore
1. Prices have gone up, and
2. Speed/Reliability has decreased.

The first conclusion is obviously wrong. That's because of increasing returns to scale, the price per unit transferred should decrease. Yes, at some point in time decreasing returns to scale should apply too, but its a long shot to assume that we have crossed levels of increasing returns to scale already. Besides, solutions built today are modular and scalar, and consequently falling "out-of-scale" is a rare occurance.

Same applies to speed/reliability. For example, earlier, because of low volumes, Dept of Posts used to hire wagons in trains to transport their stuff, and so the schedules of delivery of mails were dependent on the schedules of the trains. With a huge volume of mail to be transported, Dept of posts can buy and operate its own trains. Result - increased reliability and predictability.

Alright, for C you say is out of scope. C is in scope, and because of this - if Dept of posts is making a service available to the public at a lower cost than private, it is efficient. (Compare your comments on C and E - its interesting to note the parallels).

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02 May 2005, 04:23
OA is E
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02 May 2005, 04:24
OA is E
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02 May 2005, 04:34
Can someone explain how is it E?

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02 May 2005, 16:08
E says the inflation is only 300% (3 folds) while the postal rate has gone up 10 folds !! So not only is postage increase outrageous, it's service is also worse, so this supports the argument that postal service is a rip-off and offers bad service !

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02 May 2005, 16:58
WinWinMBA wrote:
E says the inflation is only 300% (3 folds) while the postal rate has gone up 10 folds !! So not only is postage increase outrageous, it's service is also worse, so this supports the argument that postal service is a rip-off and offers bad service !

Another reminder that we should read the question well ... I got cheated with the 10 times and 300 %
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02 May 2005, 21:58
Indeed it was deceptive.
Thanks for the explanation.

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02 May 2005, 22:55
Thanks for posting the question. Indeed the difference between ten fold and 300% was quite decpetive.

Saurabh Malpani

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05 May 2005, 03:03
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Re: CR GMAT LAST 4 [#permalink]

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05 May 2005, 19:39
wunderbar03 wrote:
The postal service is badly mismanaged. Forty years ago, first-class letter delivery cost only three cents. Since then, the price has increased nearly tenfold, with an actual decrease in the speed and reliability of service.
Each of the following statements, if true, would tend to weaken the argument above EXCEPT:
(A) The volume of mail handled by the postal service has increased dramatically over the last forty years.
(B) Unprecedented increases in the cost of fuel for trucks and planes have put severe upward pressures on postal delivery costs.
(C) Private delivery services usually charge more than does the postal service for comparable delivery charges.
(D) The average delivery time for a first-class letter four decades ago was actually slightly longer than it is today.
(E) The average level of consumer prices overall has increased more than 300 percent over the last forty years.

Please keep in mind that this one is slight different from the post in
http://www.gmatclub.com/phpbb/viewtopic ... hree+cents

Question Type: Except.
Passage Stem: Postal service mismanaged coz of increase in cost and decrease in a) service and b) speed.

My AC is D. Actually i was torn between C and D and eliminated C on what i thought was an iffy reason.

A: Boot out. Weakens Conclusion. Increase in volume could explain why postal service is mismanaged.
B: Boot out. Weakens Conclusion. Explains why cost went up.
C: Not too sure. Will come back to it.
D: Not to sure. Will come back to it.
E: Boot out. Weakens Conclusion. Avg Price of everything has increased by 300% so maybe 10 fold increase aint so bad.

I'm eliminating AC C [iffy reasoning] that private services cost even more so "postal service aint so bad" after all Hence it weakens AC.. My AC is D, although not sure between C and D.

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06 May 2005, 05:50
kapslock wrote:

Some critique of your reasoning - I still don't really know which answer to go with. Am at work - would post a somewhat detailed reasoning later.

You say the volume of mail handled has gone up dramatically.
Therefore
1. Prices have gone up, and
2. Speed/Reliability has decreased.

The first conclusion is obviously wrong.

I dont think YWilfred was saying that 1 and 2 are a part of the conclusion. Its a part of the premise used to reach the conclusion. So to negate the premise isnt going to weaken the conclusion.

kapslock wrote:

That's because of increasing returns to scale, the price per unit transferred should decrease. Yes, at some point in time decreasing returns to scale should apply too, but its a long shot to assume that we have crossed levels of increasing returns to scale already. Besides, solutions built today are modular and scalar, and consequently falling "out-of-scale" is a rare occurance.

I'm not sure i understand your analysis. Why are we saying because of increase in scale, the price per unit should decrease? How did that come into the argument?

kapslock wrote:

Same applies to speed/reliability. For example, earlier, because of low volumes, Dept of Posts used to hire wagons in trains to transport their stuff, and so the schedules of delivery of mails were dependent on the schedules of the trains. With a huge volume of mail to be transported, Dept of posts can buy and operate its own trains. Result - increased reliability and predictability.

Again how is this applicable to the conclusion or argument stem. Please elaborate.

It seems to me [i could be wrong] that you are attacking the premises? No?

kapslock wrote:

Alright, for C you say is out of scope. C is in scope, and because of this - if Dept of posts is making a service available to the public at a lower cost than private, it is efficient. (Compare your comments on C and E - its interesting to note the parallels).

I totally got fooled [just like the most of us about 300% and 10 fold]. But doesnt AC "C" require us to bring outside information? I eliminated AC C based on the same reasoning and I felt it was iffy [see my post above]. The assumption here is that if private charges more than "public" postal service, then "public" postal service aint so bad, correct?

Also anyone care to explain why D is wrong? I cannot comprehend how AC D weakens the conclusion. Any explanations?

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Re: CR GMAT LAST 4 [#permalink]

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08 May 2005, 21:45
Fact: The price has increased. The speed and reliability of service has decreased.
Conclusion: It is mismanaged.

(A) The volume of mail handled by the postal service has increased dramatically over the last forty years.
Increase in volume provide another reason why it is more expensive and slower to get mail, other than mismanagement. Weakens.

(B) Unprecedented increases in the cost of fuel for trucks and planes have put severe upward pressures on postal delivery costs.
Increase in cost offers alternative explaination about why the price is higher. Weakens.

(C) Private delivery services usually charge more than does the postal service for comparable delivery charges.
It says nothing why postal service is worse today then before. NOT weaken.

(D) The average delivery time for a first-class letter four decades ago was actually slightly longer than it is today.
It rebuts the facts upon which the conclusion based, and thus weakens the conclusion.

(E) The average level of consumer prices overall has increased more than 300 percent over the last forty years.
Offers alternative explanation of increase in price other than mismanagement. Weakens.

Therefore C.
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Re: CR GMAT LAST 4 [#permalink]

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10 May 2005, 17:44
HongHu wrote:
Fact: The price has increased. The speed and reliability of service has decreased.
Conclusion: It is mismanaged.

(A) The volume of mail handled by the postal service has increased dramatically over the last forty years.
Increase in volume provide another reason why it is more expensive and slower to get mail, other than mismanagement. Weakens.

(B) Unprecedented increases in the cost of fuel for trucks and planes have put severe upward pressures on postal delivery costs.
Increase in cost offers alternative explaination about why the price is higher. Weakens.

(C) Private delivery services usually charge more than does the postal service for comparable delivery charges.
It says nothing why postal service is worse today then before. NOT weaken.

(D) The average delivery time for a first-class letter four decades ago was actually slightly longer than it is today.
It rebuts the facts upon which the conclusion based, and thus weakens the conclusion.

(E) The average level of consumer prices overall has increased more than 300 percent over the last forty years.
Offers alternative explanation of increase in price other than mismanagement. Weakens.

Therefore C.

HongHu,
The OA is E. This makes sense coz 300% = 3 fold but the postal service costs went up by 10 fold.

But now the question is why does C, D not weaken the argument. I see why/how C weakens the argument [see my explanation].

But why is D wrong. To weaken a conclusion, one shouldnt "refute" the premise upon which the argument is based. You bring outside information that weakens the author's assumption.

Can someone explain why "D" weakens the conclusion. I dont see how.

Last edited by gmataquaguy on 11 May 2005, 09:41, edited 2 times in total.

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11 May 2005, 07:24
Could somebody please explain why D is wrong????

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11 May 2005, 07:46
WinWinMBA wrote:
E says the inflation is only 300% (3 folds) while the postal rate has gone up 10 folds !! So not only is postage increase outrageous, it's service is also worse, so this supports the argument that postal service is a rip-off and offers bad service !

good explanation. the additional 700% increase must be caused by mismanagement.

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Re: Because...   [#permalink] 11 May 2005, 07:46

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