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GRE Argument: Happy Pancake House Restaurants - With A Free Essay Review
Prompt: “The following memorandum is from the business manager of Happy Pancake House restaurants. ‘Recently, butter has been replaced by margarine in Happy Pancake House restaurants throughout the southwestern United States. This change, however, has had little impact on our customers. In fact, only about 2 percent of customers have complained, indicating that an average of 98 people out of 100 are happy with the change. Furthermore, many servers have reported that a number of customers who ask for butter do not complain when they are given margarine instead. Clearly, either these customers do not distinguish butter from margarine or they use the term 'butter' to refer to either butter or margarine.’ Write a response in which you discuss one or more alternative explanations that could rival the proposed explanation and explain how your explanation(s) can plausibly account for the facts presented in the argument.”
In the argument the author concludes that customer do not distinguish butter from given margarine or they use the term ‘butter’ to refer to either butter or margarine. To support the assertion, the author first points out that only about 2 percent of customers have complained, indicating 98 percent of customers are happy with the change. In addition, the author claims that many customers who ask for butter do not complain when they are given margarine instead. However, the conclusion is flawed.
First of all, in the argument, the author points out that only 2 percent of customers have complained, but the author did not specify whether it is 2 percent of customers who purchased products with margarine replacement or customers who purchased other products that are not margarine related, and complained for various reasons. For instance, if two customers complain about margarine out of the total of 100 customers who complain for various reasons, but there are only 10 customers who purchase margarine made products, then, the 2 percent of customers complain about margarine out of 10 customers who actually purchase margarine can be significant, because the real percentage for customers who complain about margarine should be 20 percent instead of 2 percent.
Further, the author assumes that an average of 98 percent of customers are happy with the change based on that evidence that only 2 percent of customers who have complained about margarine replacement. In addition, one evidence mentions that many customers who ask for butter do not complain when they are given margarine instead. This does not support the conclusion effectively because the fact that customers do not complain about margarine does not necessarily mean customers like margarine. It is very possible that customers do not like margarine products, but they think it is too troublesome to complain. Moreover, it is possible that some customers who do not like margarine, and do not bother to complain, will not come back again.
Finally, the author jumps to the conclusion that customers do not distinguish butter from margarine or they use the term ‘butter’ for ‘butter margarine” . There is a leap between presented evidences and conclusion because given evidences are questionable as discussed previously. To bolster the author’s point, more evidences, which directly address customers like or do not mind having margarine or margarine made products, are needed.
Summarizing the memorandum, as you do in the opening paragraph, is probably an injudicious use of your time; you can demonstrate your having read the memorandum by your answer, and you are not being tested on your ability to summarize. I would suggest beginning with the second paragraph.
The argument of that paragraph is very awkwardly articulated but is in itself sound. All you really need to say here is that we don’t know whether the two percent of customers who complained are two percent of all customers or two percent of consumers of margarine. Now, again, that is a sound argument, but it doesn’t immediately contribute to your accomplishing the task at hand; namely, articulating an alternative explanation. In this respect, your next argument is much more to the point. The fact that customers do not complain, does not mean they are happy with the change. Still, what you need to focus on is an alternative explanation, which you don’t actually get to until the sentence beginning “It is very possible etc.” That and the following sentence are very good sentences for this particular essay; they are exactly the kind of sentences that you ought to write, and that you ought to elaborate. The only problem is that there are so few sentences of that kind.