QUESTION TYPE: Strengthen
CONCLUSION: Unlimited free shipping probably caused the increase in sales.
REASONING: Sales increased 25% around the time we offered unlimited free shipping.
ANALYSIS: The manager is making a causation-correlation error. If two things happen at the same time, that doesn’t mean that one causes the other.
We can strengthen the manager’s argument by eliminating alternate causes for the increase in sales, or by showing evidence that the free shipping did in fact cause the increase.
- CORRECT. This shows that the sales increase is unusual in the industry. It wasn’t industry-wide growth that caused the increase. This makes it more likely that free shipping was in fact the cause.
- This weakens the argument. If customers didn’t know about the free shipping, then it’s unlikely it caused them to buy more.
- That’s nice for the company. Profits are fun. But this doesn’t say that the change in shipping policy caused the profits. Sales went up, so it makes sense that profits went up.
- Timing is irrelevant. If free shipping was important, then it would have had an impact even if the company was late to the game.
- Same as D. If free shipping was important, then it would be expected to have an impact whether the company was early or late.
Further, ‘most companies’ isn’t relevant. We care about the companies which account for most sales, which could be only 1-3 companies. Who cares if 1,000 tiny, irrelevant companies don’t offer free shipping, if amazon.com does?
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Graeme teaches how to break down arguments, quickly