The following appeared in a letter from a homeowner to a friend.
"Of the two leading real estate firms in our town-Adams Realty and Fitch Realty-Adams Realty is clearly superior. Adams has 40 real estate agents; in contrast, Fitch has 25, many of whom work only part-time. Moreover, Adams' revenue last year was twice as high as that of Fitch and included home sales that averaged $168,000, compared to Fitch's $144,000. Homes listed with Adams sell faster as well: ten years ago I listed my home with Fitch, and it took more than four months to sell; last year, when I sold another home, I listed it with Adams, and it took only one month. Thus, if you want to sell your home quickly and at a good price, you should use Adams Realty."
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.
This argument may lead one to believe that Adams real estate is superior to Finches for reasons ranging from the comparisons between companies annual revenue to the two firms length it took to sell the author's home. Unfortunately the author's blatant assumptions undermine the validity of the entire argument. The author's practice of assuming the markets are the same as ten years ago, Fitch employers would prefer to work full time and the discrepancies in numbers is not by choice, and the homes the two companies sell are identical in value severely weakens his argument.
The author tries to sell us the idea that a major illustration of Fitches incompetence is the fact that it took them longer to sell his house 10 years ago than the it took Adams reality in the previous month. A major problem with this position is the lack of information about the state of markets the author provides us with. He also does not inform us of the selling prices of the 2 houses as a point of reference. Life tells us that it is naïve to assume that something like a housing market can remain constant over ten years. It would be foolish to believe that housing prices don't make a difference in selling time and the author's choice to withhold that piece of information leads one to wonder what the full story is.
The next major assumption that would need to be addressed is the belief that the difference in number of employees and full time employees equates to inferiority. The author does not know if this is by choice on the company's part for reasons beyond lack of income. Many companies chose to limit employers to create a more intimate environment. Fitch may also prefer to keep employees part time to avoid paying benefits. Or it could even be that Fitch is made up of new moms who would prefer to be home with their children for the better part of the day. It could be all of these reasons or none of them. Unfortunately the author didn't do the research needed to substantiate his claim.
Lastly, the theory that the difference in revenues is proof enough to determine superiority deals the final blow. If Fitch sells 20 houses at 100,000 and Adams sells 4 houses at 1,000,000 Adams is going to have the greater revenue but by no means sold more houses. The author's assumptions without going much deeper into the prices of houses being sold along with the accompanying number of houses sold doesn't present one with a fair picture to make an sound decision.
The author may be completely right. Adams reality may be the better company and the right choice for his friend. Unfortunately, the author's decision to make far reaching assumptions without the proper research to support his theories leaves the friend in a position where they may make a very big decision with very little knowledge of the best choice.