The Green Peas Grocery Store in the remote wealthy enclave of Luxville charges more than the Green Peas Grocery Store in Oak City charges for the same items. Clearly, on any given item, the Green Peas grocery franchise is taking advantage of its location in Luxville to reap higher profits on that item.
In evaluating the argument, it would be most useful to compare
The Green Peas Grocery
The argument contends that Green Peas is taking advantage of its location in a rich neighborhood. Notice the word 'remote' though. One important consideration is transporting costs. If it costs a lot of money to ship to Luxville, then the Green Peas store is justified in charging more there. (B) effectively takes care of that objection. Unless (B) is known, the argument is open to this objection.
(A) is incorrect because the argument relates to all items, not just specialty ones.
(C) The focus of the argument is Green Peas, not other stores. Yet a possible line of reasoning is that if we compare the prices of similar goods at stores in Luxville to the prices of those in Oak City, we can see if Green Peas in Luxville is overcharging. But imagine the stores in Luxville all charge more for the same goods than stores in Oak Town. Does that directly address the conclusion that Green Peas is taking advantage of its location? All stores in Luxville may simply have to pay more for shipping (see (B)); they are not trying to overcharge the wealthy.
(D) is wrong since household income does not relate to the argument.
(E), like (D) and (C), is out of scope.
Frequently Asked questions:
FAQ: The passage uses the word "wealthy" to describe the Luxville enclave. So, why shouldn't we consider the household income? Shouldn't the answer be (D)?
A: It's important to differentiate between the facts and the arguments here.
- The store in Luxville charges more for the same items than the the store in Oak City does. --> This is a fact/premise.
- Clearly, on any given item, the franchise is taking advantage of its location in Luxville to reap higher profits on that item. --> This is the argument/conclusion.
Notice that the argument (#2) is not necessarily true. Just because the Luxville store charges more than the Oak City store doesn't necessarily mean that the Luxville store is getting a higher profit.
The question asks us what information we need in order to evaluate the argument-- that is, in order to decide whether the Luxville store is actually reaping higher profits by charging more.
The information about transport costs in Choice B would help us evaluate whether the Luxville store is getting higher profits, or if they simply have to charge higher prices to adjust for an additional cost. That's why B is the best answer.
Choice D, on the other hand, introduces information that isn't really relevant to the given argument. It talks about the percent of average household income spent on groceries in each city. The spending habits of the customers doesn't directly influence the price of items in the grocery store -- at least not in the same way that transport costs would.
FAQ: I watched the explanation video, and I don't understand why (E) is a poor choice. Could you elaborate on that?
A: The problem states:
"In evaluating the argument, it would be most useful to compare..."
The key to tackling this type of question is to focus on the "most useful". In this type of problem, the correct answer will not be overly comprehensive, but may appear somewhat vague. For example, in this correct answer (i.e., the cost of transporting merchandise to the Oak City location with the comparable cost to the Luxville location), we may say that this answer in unconvincing to evaluate the argument because transporting costs are not the only indirect costs that would affect pricing! They are but one variable. There are a number of other useful variables that should be accounted for, but if an answer choice provided that level of detail or clarity (e.g., listing out all useful variables), the correct answer would jump off the page for every student! So, the test makers don't need you to find a perfect reason, but the "most useful" within the answer choices.
Now, let's see why Choice (E) is not useful at all in properly evaluating the argument. First, we are trying to evaluate the argument that states that the Green Peas grocery franchise is taking advantage of its location in Luxville to reap higher profits on that item based on the fact that it charges more for the same items sold in Luxville than in Oak City.
Now, would the comparison of (1) the costs of these items in Oak City and in Luxville vs. (2) the costs at other Green Peas stores throughout the state give us any more clarity to our argument? No. You're bringing in a new irrelevant variable with all these other stores. Whether the costs of these items at other irrelevant stores from our argument charges tells us nothing about the comparison of Luxville and Oak City. The higher or lower costs at these others stores can still be driven by any reason, which may be unrelated to Luxville and Oak City (our target communities). We want to focus on Luxville and Oak City.
It would be like if we were trying to evaluate whether Edward or Andrew is funnier. Then, to better evaluate this, we decided to compare Edward's and Andrew's humor to Mark's and Bryan's humor. Comparing with Mark and Bryan will not really solve the Edward/Andrew question. Mark and Bryan may have a completely different humor style, and we find Edward and Andrew are funnier than Mark and Bryan. We are no closer to answering our question.
Watch the lessons below for more detailed explanations of the concepts tested in this question. And don't worry, you'll be able to return to this answer from the lesson page.