I have huge sympathy for the foundation, who seem to have been caught between a rock and a hard place.
I understand they had expected to manufacture, and presumably distribute, the device themselves but were limited by their finances to ordering batches of 10,000. They seem to have realised late in the day that that would come nowhere near meeting the demand, hence the search for partners.
In a UKcontext, Farnell and RS would be obvious firms to approach as well known, established businesses, with the necessary purchasing power and international distribution systems already in place.
There was a time when individual customers had no access to distributors such as RS or Farnell, but the Internet has changed that. I have no recent experience of RS, but Farnell in the UK now has a business model that works quite well for individual consumers: no minimum order; fast and reliable; reasonable prices, given that there is no additional delivery charge, with volume discounts. (And no, I don't work for them.)
What is becoming clear from the above posts, however, is that elsewhere in the world many of the old practices persist – business customers only, high minimum order, etc.
I suspect that alternative sources of supply will emerge, probably sooner rather than later. As I understand it the RPi is an open platform, and I seem to remember someone from the Foundation saying "We want as many people to manufacture these as possible". So there will be nothing to stop entrepreneurs in Hong Kong getting them manufactured, probably in the same Chinese factories, and selling direct over eBay, as Skygod has suggested above. Like him I have dealt with such firms, and I have found them cheap and reliable.