Veterinarians generally derive some of their income

Question

Veterinarians generally derive some of their income from selling several manufacturers’ lines of pet-care products. Knowing that pet owners rarely throw away mail from their pet’s veterinarian unread, one manufacturer of pet-care products offered free promotional materials on its products to veterinarians for mailing to their clients. Very few veterinarians accepted the offer, however, even though the manufacturer’s products are of high quality.

Which of the following, if true, most helps to explain the veterinarian’s reaction to the manufacturer’s promotional scheme?

Option A
Option B
Option C
Option D
Option E

(This question is from Official Guide. Therefore, because of copyrights, the complete question cannot be copied here. The question can be accessed at GMAT Club)

Solution

Understand the Passage

Veterinarians generally derive some of their income from selling several manufacturers’ lines of pet-care products.

Vets derive some income from selling pet-care products.

Knowing that pet owners rarely throw away mail from their pet’s veterinarian unread, one manufacturer of pet-care products offered free promotional materials on its products to veterinarians for mailing to their clients.

The manufacturers (of pet-care products) know that pet owners always read the vets’ mails. So, one manufacturer offered free promotional material to vets to be mailed to the vets’ clients.

Very few veterinarians accepted the offer, however, even though the manufacturer’s products are of high quality.

However, very few vets accepted the offer even though the manufacturer’s products are of high quality. (When you read ‘however’, you should try to understand why it’s there. Given that this statement says very few vets accepted the offer and starts with a ‘however’, the earlier statements must have led to a scenario in which it made sense to expect vets to accept the offer. And that is indeed so. Vets derive some income from selling pet-care products, so it made sense that they would offer promotional pet-care products to their customers because such promotional material might increase their sales of pet-care products.)

Predict an Answer

This question is a paradox question. The passage presents a paradox i.e. a set of situations that seem contradictory. We need to find an option that explain why vets did not accept the manufacturer’s offer even though manufacturer’s products are good and giving such promotional material might have helped vets in increasing their income by selling more pet-care products.

Any option suggesting that providing the manufacturer’s products to the clients may not be in the overall interests of the vets can be an answer. For example: the manufacturer may be providing the lowest profit margins (among all other competitive products) on its products to the vets. In such a case, a boost in the sales of this manufacturer’s products may reduce the overall profits or income of the vets.

Option Analysis

(A) Incorrect. If the vets were already selling the manufacturer’s products, they should rather be willing to distribute the promotional materials of the manufacturer since if more products are sold because of promotions, the vets will be directly benefitted through increase in sales. This option, rather than resolving the paradox, widens the paradox.

(B) Incorrect. This option also widens the paradox to a small extent. If the promotional materials were a replacement of the manufacturer’s usual promotional activities, then we might have some reason (very small though) for the rejection of the promotional materials since the vets may prefer the usual promotional activities over the promotional materials. However, the given option says that promotional materials are just a supplement to the existing promotional activities. In such a case, there is no reason to expect the vets to reject the promotional materials.

(C) Correct. The option provides a reason why it may not be in the economic interests of the vets to offer promotional materials of the manufacturer to their clients. The option says two things:

  1. The manufacturer’s products are available with both vets and stores and supermarkets.
  2. Other equally good competing products are only available with vets.

In such a case, if the customers switch from other equally good competing products to the manufacturer’s products (because of the promotional materials), the income of the vets may go down since the decrease in the sales of other competing products may not be compensated by the increase in sales of the manufacturer’s products. This is because not all clients may buy manufacturer’s products from the vets. Some may go to pet stores or supermarkets. In case of other competing products, the clients had to buy the products from the vets since the products were not available elsewhere.

(D) Incorrect. We are already given that the manufacturer’s products are of high quality. There is no reason to expect that the products do not match the standards people have for pet products. Thus, this option does not help explain why the vets’ reaction to the promotional scheme.

(E) Incorrect. This option talks about a scenario that is completely irrelevant to the given passage. The scenario is when no suitable product specially formulated for animals is available. This scenario is not relevant to the given passage. Thus, what vets do in such a scenario is not going to be relevant to the passage.

If you have any doubts regarding any part of this solution, please feel free to ask in the comments section.

About Chiranjeev Singh

An Alumnus of IIM Ahmedabad and with scores of 780 (2017) and 770 (2013) on GMAT and 99.98%ile on CAT, Chiranjeev is one of the most qualified GMAT tutors in India. Chiranjeev has earlier served as Director of Curriculum at e-GMAT. Chiranjeev has been helping students ace GMAT since 2012. He follows a concept-based methodology to teaching GMAT and is very committed to student success. You may contact him for any private GMAT tutoring needs at CJ@GMATwithCJ.com. He conducts online sessions for students across the world.

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