The so-called transition in Eastern Europe has been, and continues to be, a time of constant change. Researching East European societies and seeking to analyse the changes is like trying to photograph an object that will not stay still. Nowhere is this truer than in Albania. Even recording it is a challenge. This study is a modest piece of ethnography constructed from observations made over several years and systematically checked against one another. It has its origins in data collected in Southern Albania in 1997, when an armed rebellion made it too dangerous for me to go to villages to do fieldwork (see Nicholson, 1999a). Instead I talked to women, and a few men, who came into the town I was staying in, Gjirokastër, to sell their produce. In the course of further fieldwork in several villages in Southern Albania, I have expanded the data, added observations from other towns and data on selling through intermediaries. For some months I participated in the milk trade as a customer.