Why did premiums like turkeys, bottles of whiskey, or travel vouchers play an important role in the United States but not in West Germany? Looking for an answer, this article takes a detailed look at how television sets were traded along the distribution chain in both countries. The use of material incentives was an important competitive strategy of U.S. manufacturers and distributors during the 1950s. At the same time, it held price competitive behavior in check. Premiums were at the center of a “turkey economy” that paid tribute to the demands of traditional radio and television stores. In West Germany, the same objective was achieved by a “television cartel.” The article reconstructs the reasons for emergence and decline of the two systems and provides a detailed account of historical change highlighting the importance of retailing structures, the life cycle of products, and the time-specific culture of markets.