GMAT Essay Topic 422 - The following appeared as part of a promotional campaign to sell advertising space in the Daily Gazette to grocery stores in the Marston area. "Advertising the reduced price of selected grocery items in the Daily Gazette will help you increase your sales. Consider the results of a study conducted last month. Thirty sale items from a store in downtown Marston were advertised in the Gazette for four days. Each time one or more of the 30 items was purchased, clerks asked whether the shopper had read the ad. Two-thirds of the 200 shoppers asked answered in the affirmative. Furthermore, more than half the customers who answered in the affirmative spent over $100 at the store." Discuss how well reasoned . . . Etc.
The above speaker recommends that grocery stores advertise their price-reduced items on the Daily Gazette. The reason cited is that
The above speaker recommends that grocery stores advertise their price-reduced items on the Daily Gazette. The reason cited is that according to a study, at a downtown store two-third of 200 shoppers who purchased the price-chopped items advertised on the Daily Gazette, said that they had read the ad before going shopping. However as for me, the argument is not convincing because it is oversimplified and suffers several critical flaws.
To begin with, the argument involves a problematic assumption that those people who said that they had read the ads before shopping purchased the low priced items under the influence of the ads. Maybe those people are living in the neighbourhood of the store and are the regular costumers there. If so, it is probable that they purchased the items because of their low prices not because of the ads; even if the store had not advertised on the daily newspaper, they would still have come and purchased the low-priced items. Because some causal explanations like this one is not considered and ruled out, the argument is not strong.
Second, the 200 shoppers asked by the clerks also need further questioning to say whether they can represent the overall customers in the store. We need to ask what a percentage of the total shoppers in the store is the investigated customers and how they are selected. Probably, the 200 people are just a very small portion of the total number of shoppers in the store, say 1% percent; if so, they cannot represent the overall shopping orientation of the customers. Further, how they are chosen is also very important for measuring the influent of ads on the costumers. For example, if they are selected intentionally from the people who are prone to the influence of ads, their opinion is not representative.
In the final analysis, the argument is questionable in that it involves a fallacious assumption and the statistics cited is not representative if no further evidence is given. Therefore I am not convinced by it, unless it provides strong support for its assumption and gives more information about the study.