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GRE Argument Essay; A Memo From The Vice President Of Marketing At Dura-Sock, Inc. - With A Free Essay Review
Prompt: ‘The following appeared in a memo from the vice president of marketing at Dura-Sock, Inc. "A recent study of our customers suggests that our company is wasting the money it spends on its patented Endure manufacturing process, which ensures that our socks are strong enough to last for two years. We have always advertised our use of the Endure process, but the new study shows that despite our socks' durability, our average customer actually purchases new Dura-Socks every three months. Furthermore, our customers surveyed in our largest market, northeastern United States cities, say that they most value Dura-Socks' stylish appearance and availability in many colors. These findings suggest that we can increase our profits by discontinuing use of the Endure manufacturing process." Write a response in which you examine the stated and/or unstated assumptions of the argument. Be sure to explain how the argument depends on these assumptions and what the implications are for the argument if the assumptions prove unwarranted.’
First of all, the vice president implies that the company shoud discontinue the Enudure manufacturing process, since the study shows that the average customer purchases new Dura-Socks’ every three months. Thus, the author necessarily assumes that the result of the study is reliable, and customers wear their socks no longer than three months. It is possible that the study was conducted among customers who change new socks frequently. Then, the study is not representative, thus, it can hardly predict the result of discontinuing the Endure manufacturing process. Even if granted the study is reliable and representative, it is possible that customers still wear their old socks even after they buy new socks after three months. If the author’s assumption is proved unwarranted, customers still wear their old socks after they buy new socks, then, discontinuing the Endure manufacturing process could result in low quality socks that do not last long enough for the majority of the customers and the author’s argument would be weakened.
Moreover, the vice president suggests that the company should discontinue the Endure manufacturing process since the customers in northeastern United States most value style and appearance. This argument only makes sense on the basis of the assumption that the company sells most of their socks to costomers in northeastern United States. However, it is possible that even though northeastern United States is the largest market, the accumulative sales of rest of the nation are much greater than the sales in northeastern United States, and customers in the rest of the country may value durability most. If this is the case, the vice president’s argument is weakened, because the company can potentially lose a large number of customers in other areas who value durability most, and this loss of customers may offset the money saved by discontinuing the Endure manufacturing process; thus, discontinuing the Endure manufaturing process would not be profitable.
To sum up, in order evaluate the suggestion, we need to ensure the following assumptions: the study is reliable, most customers wear their socks no longer than three months, and most of the customers nationwide do not value the durability of their socks.
I would recommend treating statements like "the new study shows X" as factual claims and not bother dealing more than cursorily with the fact that the argument assumes the study is valid. What the study in this case shows, however, is not that customers "wear their socks for no longer than three months" but only that the average customer purchases new socks every three months. The interesting assumption here is the one that you also make: if they are purchasing new socks every three months that means they are only wearing socks for three months; in fact they may be purchasing socks every three months to replace socks that they have been wearing, on average, for up to two years. The rest of the argument is reasonable. Note, however, that discontinuing the use of the Endure process could still, conceivably, result in an increase in profits for the company even if the assumptions of the argument prove unwarranted.