ARG-063

The following appeared in a memorandum written by the vice president of Health Naturally, a small but expanding chain of stores selling health food and other health-related products.

"Our previous experience has been that our stores are most profitable in areas where residents are highly concerned with leading healthy lives. We should therefore build one of our new stores in Plainsville, which clearly has many such residents. Plainsville merchants report that sales of running shoes and exercise equipment are at all-time highs. The local health club, which nearly closed five years ago due to lack of business, has more members than ever, and the weight-training and aerobics classes are always full. We can even anticipate a new generation of customers: Plainsville's schoolchildren are required to participate in a program called Fitness for Life, which emphasizes the benefits of regular exercise at an early age."


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.


In this argument, the writer explains why they believe that Nature’s Way, a chain store selling health products, will be successful when it opens its next franchise in Plainsville based on three facts:exercise clothing and sales of running shoes are at all-time highs, the local health clubs have lots of members and classes are always full, and children are required to participate in fitness programs, encouraging them to take exercise and health into consideration at a young age. While the writer may be true in the argument, there are a couple of assumptions that should be looked at in more depth.


To begin, the author makes the assumption that Nature’s Way will be able to reap profit after they make their way into Plainsville. As stated in the argument, sales of running shoes and exercise clothing are at all-time highs, but once people have already bought their shoes and clothing from one store, will they need or want to buy similar products from a different store? There is one shaky assumptions made by the writer regarding this issue: there is sufficient demand for more healthy lifestyle/exercise stores and people will be willing to purchase goods from a new store. Perhaps people in Plainsville are already satisfied with the options they already have and there are high levels of customer loyalty. Furthermore, there is also the assumption that high membership at local health clubs is equivalent to future success for Nature’s Way in Plainsville. Within this assumption, the writer is linking high membership rates to increased health awareness in Plainsville and the concept of Plainsville being a lucrative sales environment. However, the reason behind the high memberships and full classes at the health clubs could be due to membership promotion sales and small class sizes; the reason people are signing up for health club memberships may not be due to increased health awareness. If either of the above—insufficient customer demand or high health club membership rates aren't representative of increased health awareness —are found to be true, the writer’s argument would fumble and lose its ground, and the logic supporting it would appear to be slightly askew.


Furthermore,there is another assumption that needs to be given consideration: the writer proclaims that Plainsville’s young schoolchildren are representative of a new generation of potential customers. The writer’s rash guess is supported only by the fact that schoolchildren are mandated to participate in fitness programs, which could encourage and emphasize them to participate in regular exercise and develop healthy lifestyles. While this may be an accurate point, the author seemingly neglects the possibility that these children may move to other cities, and that, at the current time, while they are still living in Plainsville, these children do not have money to purchase products for themselves; the decision of which products to buy and which stores to shop at rests in the hands of their parents. If these schoolchildren were to move away before they could use their own money to purchase goods from Nature’s Way, or by the time these children are able to purchase goods Nature’s way has already gone out of business, then the writer’s assumptions would be falsified, and Nature’s Way would not benefit by opening up a new franchise in Plainsville.


Lastly, even if the three above mentioned points truly reflect the healthy lifestyles of Plainsville, meaning that there is sufficient demand for a new health store chain, club memberships are linked to meliorating life styles, and children are emblematic of a new wave of potential customers, there is still no guarantee that Nature's Way will be able to make profit in Plainsville. The writer holds another assumption that Nature’s Way’s success is solely based on franchise location, a healthy lifestyle one, rather than other factors. For instance, Nature’s way’s excellent products and no competitors in past locations. While these assumptions may hold veracity, if the success of Nature’s Way is not based on location, and is, instead, correlated to other factors, such as urbanization, advertisement, and so on, then the writer’s assumption would be invalidated and Nature’s Way may not be as successful in Plainsville as the writer predicts it will be.


In conclusion, while the writer may be accurate in his/her claims that the Nature’s Way franchise will, based on all-time highs in sales of running shoes and exercise clothing in Plainsville, increased local health club membership, and fitness program requirements for schoolchildren, have successful prospects in Plainsville, there are several assumptions regarding all of these different aspects that need to be weighed and scrutinized. If any of the writer’s assumptions are overturned or invalidated, then there would be no guarantee that the Nature’s Way franchise would profit in Plainsville.

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