Trader-tourism is a massive survival strategy practiced in East European countries, in this case Bulgaria. “Trader-tourists” import Turkish goods that are sold at Bulgarian open-air markets. Profit is made by circumventing customs control through the bribing of officials—a loophole facilitated by widespread corruption and engendered “from above” by the more powerful transitional actors. The picaresque role that former state employees have adopted as present-day tradertourists accentuates a deficit of legitimacy and absence of normative institutional support. Trader-tourists attempt to overcome this deficit of authority through imaginative treatment (poetization) of entrepreneurial materials in order to attain a reinterpreted form of the previous stability, normativeness, and order. [economic anthropology, trader-tourism, Bulgaria, Balkans, transition]