The following appeared as a letter to the editor from a Central Plaza store owner.
“Over the past two years, the number of shoppers in Central Plaza has been steadily decreasing while the popularity of skateboarding has increased dramatically. Many Central Plaza store owners believe that the decrease in their business is due to the number of skateboard users in the plaza. There has also been a dramatic increase in the amount of litter and vandalism throughout the plaza. Thus, we recommend that the city prohibit skateboarding in Central Plaza. If skateboarding is prohibited here, we predict that business in Central Plaza will return to its previously high levels.”
Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be answered in order to decide whether the recommendation is likely to have the predicted result. Be sure to explain how the answers to these questions would help to evaluate the recommendation.
Store owner in the letter writes a plea to the editor to deter skateboarding so that business in Central Plaza can see its lost glory. In the attempt, he lacks precise data and facts to prove his side and it seems he relies more on emotions to reach conclusion. In order to achieve the said goal, he needs to answer few questions; answers to which can help him reach a rational and justified solution.
Author relies on ‘belief’ of the shopkeepers in Central Plaza. He needs to keep emotions at bay and survey shopkeepers, current buyers and past buyers of the Central Plaza, so that he can reach conclusive evidence. In his survey he must include these questions: How much is the actual increase in skateboarding in absolute terms? Is the increase periodic? How many people have actually dropped Central Plaza form their shopping destinations and have selected some other shopping destinations? Are there any other issues for this apathy towards Central Plaza? It may have happened that, the skateboarders have periodically increased in the Central Plaza. Also there are chances that a better and bigger shopping complexes have opened in the vicinity which is preferred to older shopping destinations and increase in skateboarders was just a coincidence.
Furthermore, author claims to observe increased litter and vandalism in the shopping place. He needs to answer few questions in the regard: Whether this hike in litter is just case of lack of maintenance? If yes then what is the contribution of skateboarders in it? He must include these questions in his survey so that real source of vandalism can be established. Equal possibility of negligence from cleaning service exists which may have ruined the area.
Finally, author’s claim is based on hidden assumption that only by restricting skateboarding the Central Plaza will see its past glory and return to the normal business. He must include few more questions on his survey to bolster his evidences further. He must ask: Is enough infrastructure facilities like parking, food places and directions provided to shoppers? Are the shoppers well informed about the new products in the market? What kind of shops does the Central Plaza have? Are shoppers buying products which are available in the Central Plaza from a shopping website? In this era of “Experience Economy”, nobody can deny the need for good experience to the shoppers. Through the answers to these questions he must ensure that shoppers are treated well and assisted throughout their buying experience. He also needs to enlist the products and types of the shops so that he is sure the trend of online shopping is not affecting the business of Central Plaza.
In the end, author needs to establish thorough scientific survey that majority of stakeholders feel that skateboarders are promoting garbage in the building which is affecting the business adversely. He also needs to make sure that threat of bigger and better shopping destination and online shopping are not threatening the business environment in Central Plaza. After working on these questions only he will be able to reach his desired result.