The fella at Bass Pro. . .
That might be your problem right there. Some of the guys at Bass Pro actually know what they're talking about. But a lot of them are just working a part-time minimum wage job, and they got stuck in the ammo aisle. Find a good local gun shop, and give them your money.
Any .38 revolver made in the last 100 years is most likely a .38 Special. You'd have to go a bit out of your way to find one that isn't.