While this seems to be news in the US and Europe, here in the Balkans we're way ahead of you.
Down here, Dell machines have been selling in retail for years, in fact, in some countries there is no mail order at all. I can think of at least a dozen shops and malls in Sarajevo where I could get myself a Latitude notebook right now, over the counter and pay cash.
That, unfortunately, wouldn't be such a great idea, as the prices in most of them are a bit ridiculous even by Bosnian standards, but that's different story.
Dell probably wasn't very interested in setting up its own distribution chain in these relatively small markets and who could blame them? It would be difficult or better yet, next to impossible to make money that way in a bunch of small and impoverished countries.
The bottom line is, they sell their desktops and laptops via their authorized partners in Bosnia and these guys just do whatever they want with them. It's probably pretty much the same in many other countries in the region.