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GRE Argument Essay: The Following Appeared In A Memorandum From The Owner Of Movies Galore - With A Free Essay Review
Prompt: ‘The following appeared in a memorandum from the owner of Movies Galore, a chain of movie-rental stores. "Because of declining profits, we must reduce operating expenses at Movies Galore's ten movie-rental stores. Raising prices is not a good option, since we are famous for our low prices. Instead, we should reduce our operating hours. Last month our store in downtown Marston reduced its hours by closing at 6:00 p.m. rather than 9:00 p.m. and reduced its overall inventory by no longer stocking any DVD released more than five years ago. Since we have received very few customer complaints about these new policies, we should now adopt them at all other Movies Galore stores as our best strategies for improving profits." Write a response in which you discuss what specific evidence is needed to evaluate the argument and explain how the evidence would weaken or strengthen the argument.’
First of all, the author suggests that reducing operating hours can effectively help reduce operating expenses; thus, this can help improve profits. To test the veracity of this suggestion, we need evidence about whether reducing the cost of operating from 6 pm to 9 pm will offset the loss of the revenue from 6 to 9 pm. It is very likely that there are more audiences who go to the movie theater between 6 and 9pm. If the majority of audiences go the Movies Galore at that time period, then, reducing opertating hours from 9 to 6 pm can significantly reduce the revenue during that period, thus the loss of the revenue may offset the reduction of operating expenses by cutting off operating hours, and the improvement in profits is unwarranted. For this reason, the suggestion is weakened.
Secondly, the author claims that in order to reduce the overall inventory, Movies Galore can stop stocking any DVD released more than five years; thus, this can improve profits. In order to test the validity of this suggestion, we need evidence about if there is a significant amount of audiences who like old movies. If there are many audiences who come to Moives Galore because of these old DVDs, then, stop stocking movies which are more than five years ago could potentially drive these audiences who like old movies away. The loss of audiences can result in the decline in the revenue, which may also offset the reduction in reduced inventory costs, and this would not help improve profits, thus, the suggestion is weakened.
Finally, the author mentions that Movies Galore only received a few complaints about these new policies; thus, these new policies are applicable. To test the validity of this claim, we need evidence about if the number of audiences who visit Movies Galore has dropped. It is possible that audiences think it is too troublesome complain. Nor does this necessarily mean that they like these new policies. If audiences do not like these new policies, they would simply stop going to Movies Galore instead of complaining, then, the loss of audiences could significantly reduce the revenue, and this would not contribute to improve profits. For this reason, the author’s claim is weakened.
To sum up, in order to evaluate the author’s argument, we need additional evidence including whether these new policies can result in the significant loss of income due to the loss of audiences.
Obviously you are right to say that in order to evaluate the argument we would need to know both the savings in operating costs and the loss in business that comes from closing at 6PM instead of 9PM at Marston. You are right to note that if the losses exceeded the savings, then the argument that the policies adopted at Marston should be adopted everywhere would be weakened (note that I say "would be" rather than "is weakened," since the claim is conditional upon the outcome at Marston.) You don't note the consequences for the argument if the profit at Marston increased as a result of its new policies. Obviously in that case the argument would be strengthened, but to what extent? At that point, what further evidence would be needed to help you decide whether the success at Marston would be repeated at other locations?
The second paragraph begins poorly, which is to say, imprecisely. The memo doesn't claim that Marston can cut inventory; it states that Marston did cut inventory. The memo also does not claim that cutting inventory can improve profits, although that is arguably an implication of the memo's argument. All you need to say here, in any case, is that the memo suggests cutting inventory in the same way that Marston did. And then to carry out with the identification of the evidence needed to evaluate this aspect of the argument. Your way of identifying that evidence is a bit vague and clumsy, in part because "audiences" is the wrong word (you need "customers") and in part because it doesn't specify very well the evidence that would be helpful (i.e., the revenue generated by older DVDs and the cost of maintaining that inventory). Again, your discussion of how the evidence would help you evaluate the evidence is one-sided; you don't consider the consequences for the argument of discovering that Marston increased its profits by reducing its inventory. (Again, it is not simply the case that success at Marston will translate into success elsewhere; and, again, you could discuss the specific evidence that would help one determine the likelihood of such success).
In your next paragraph, the first sentence is again problematic, here because "applicable" is the wrong word (note also that I replaced the comma splice with a semi-colon; look up "comma splice" in your grammar book). But what is the right word. Presumably, something like "bad for business." But that suggests, doesn't it, that the issue would already have been dealt with by looking at the actual impact on profit of the changes. I'm not sure, then, of the value of this paragraph.