My paper analyzes differences in relations between manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers in the United States and the Federal Republic of Germany. Using the case study of the market for television sets it traces their historic development during the 1950s and 1960s. The paper will show how relations and the pricing of products were embedded in a complex web of formal and informal institutions that changed over time. By the late 1950s, material incentives that had accompanied many sales in the United States became less frequent. In Germany, a system of resale price maintenance fell apart. Structural change in the retail sector and new attitudes toward the product affected pricing strategies and relations. I will show how these developments turned a once favorable system for traditional retailers into a disadvantageous strait-jacket.