I disagree. Even if it is a natural imperfection of the shell, that imperfect portion should not have been placed front and center on the vamp - I have never seen such a thing on any shell shoe I have purchased, tried on or seen on display. That just reflects shoddy selection of materials, or possibly a post-manufacturing incident. You can easily get another pair of color 8 LWB's with no wait, so I would send them back. There is no reason to accept such a glaring flaw at the price you paid.
This is why SF can be such a bore. If you actually look at shell you will see all kinds of imperfections. It is impossible to get shell that has the same characteristics as calf. Most shell has little pock marks where hairs have been removed--most of the people here probably don't even know that. This dimple in the shoe was part of the character of the shell. If you don't like it, that's fine, send it back, but it isn't a sign of "shoddy selection of materials." That will undoubtedly go down as a classic igent statement. In many ways I am not a big supporter of Alden, I think they don't pay enough attention to true quality control issues--bad stitching, etc. But when you buy a material that comes with actual scar marks on it, you are kidding yourself if you believe that a small dimple is a case of poor quality control. It is the same as purchasing a '60s Jaguar and complaining that it is difficult to start in the rain.
those white soles make the Indys look like Timberlands, which is not a good thing. As for the dimple on the shoes, if you felt the need to post pictures of them asking for advice, it is obvious that you are not happy with them so it makes sense to send them back regardless of what caused it. Good luck getting a proper replacement pair.
I stopped by the Alden trunk show at LSBH today and the rep (or vp) confirmed that the price increase will happen early next year and it will be around $100, maybe more. Now i'm thinking I should grab the natural CXL ptb from the shoemart soon...
On the side note, LSBH had some Alden models on sale. LWB in dark brown suede was $340 (only sz 9) and dark brown indy boots w/ commando sole was $398. They had 11.5 on display and I'm not sure that's the only size they have. Other models may be on sale as well but I only checked out Indy and LWB.