Interesting. Emailing Paul (goes to his assistant I believe) may be the avenue you have to take. I also visited my usual SA in SF yesterday and when I told him what the WC store was telling people about not being able to do shell in the 1943 last he said that he wasn't aware of that and was sure that they could.
I'm with @ace13x. The limitation is probably coming from BB, not AE. They probably don't want to do a custom order for you rather than AE won't do it for BB.
Yes. though it could also be that while he may be speaking to the right person at BB, they are not speaking to the right person at AE. This is the problem with the "shoeaucracy." Its literally like the telephone game. Or like that episode of M*A*S*H were Hawkeye was tired of the lousy food, and wanted ribs from Adams Rib's.