I bought the same shoe and I'm taking mine back. On my pair, I polished them up to wear to church yesterday and found that the leather has a tear just above the welt on the toe.
It isn't something I can see when wearing them and it probably won't ever get worse, but torn leather is just a bit too much.
Nordstrom did a big special order on black strands just for the sale, but they are supposed to be firsts, so we should hold them to that quality.
I ordered the black strands and some black mccalisters to see which I liked best and the Strands came directly from AE. The mccalisters had like 4 holes punched on the medallion but the leather was still in the holes. A needle and fine tweezers were needed.
Since I have some wingtip players, I think I'll keep the cap toe strands.
I called an AE store and asked if I was too nitpicky about the missing holes and they pretty much told me a I was. They told me it takes 4 weeks to make the shoe and it's hand made and blah blah blah blah...
Also, would missing holes be considered firsts?