Petals, you make some very great points. I too was surprised to see the bear. I know that since we are collectors, we are more invested in keeping our collections value. I know over the years the warehouse sales, escaping prototypes, early releases and some stolen goods have been a battle that many corporations have had a battle with. It is in the handbag, perfume, fashion, jewelry and so many other industries. I think that more than likely Estee and Harrods are aware and do have mechanisms in place to monitor what goes in and out of their factories. Maybe it is a Pollyanna view, but I am optimistic that because we are not inside EL we just may not know what measures that they take to prevent their goods from being exploited. That is my best hope. I do admire though that you are willing to be sure to let them know. That cannot hurt anything. A business as large as Harrod's cannot watch every worker, every minute.
But on the flip side of the coin, and I hope I do not fire up everyone, I personally cannot afford the Harrod's bear. I have purchased some empty and more than likely warehouse solids because I could afford them. I appreciate it much more greatly when I am able to get my mint in both boxes, original solids which are mostly from very nice collectors that are so wonderful to let me make payments. (And I love when once in a while I get MIBB solids by ebay luck, in a wrong category!)
I truly love my solids and my hope is that even in the short term if a solid was made in the warehouse and it is an original Estee. I am proud to add it to my collection. The “get rich quick” sellers see the short term buck, but I see a beautiful collectible that I enjoy at this moment and hope later down the road to pass along to other true collectors. The “short” term buck will be long gone, but the solids I hope to continue to be ageless treasures.