60 Summers

60 Summers Throwback: Dan’s Hard Sell – from the June 1966 Montauk Pioneer

A reprinted recollection of Dan Rattiner's sales tactics with contractor Ed Mueller.

For our 60 Summers celebration, we look back at Dan’s Papers founder Dan Rattiner’s June 1966 Montauk Pioneer story describing his “hard sell” ad sales tactics with local contractor Ed Mueller.

Most advertisers take space in this publication because they find the advertising brings them more back in sales than they spent to place the ad. But there is no one, repeat, no one who took an ad in this paper for the reason that Ed Mueller did for his contracting business.

Last spring, when I was driving around town selling space in the paper, I passed a construction crew at one of the new homesites on South Fairview Avenue, There were trucks, tractors, bulldozers, all bright red with the name Mueller in yellow on the side. I hadn’t been looking for Ed Mueller. In fact, I had been going from the golf course, where I’d been selling, to Bill’s Inn where I hoped I sell another ad. But there was Ed Mueller and his crew, Mueller had advertised the year before in the paper, and the old adage reads, “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” I turned the car around, returned to excavation site, pulled over and parked.

At the site, the crew was just completing the digging of the great excavation pit for the basement. There was one fellow manning a bulldozer, about five young men in the bottom of the pit with picks and shovels, and then there was Ed Mueller himself. Ed lay on his side at the precipice at the top of the pit propping his head head up with his elbows. He was smoking a cigar.

“Let’s go, you guys,” he said, looking down at his workmen ten feet below. “ Let’s get to work.”

I walked up quietly behind him, bent over, and placed my hands firmly on his shoulder.

“Are you going to take an ad,” I asked, “or do I roll you into the pit?”

“I’ll take an ad,” he said.

Get your copy of the limited edition Dan’s Papers coffee table book “60 Summers: Celebrating Six Iconic Decades on the East End.” On sale now for $60 at FriendsOfDans.com.

June 1966 Montauk Pioneer cover
June 1966 Montauk Pioneer cover
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