I am betting that the guy in the store saw your bunion and decided you would probably keep returning the shoes so he told you all that stuff to purposefully lose you as a customer.
I found a pair at the thrift store. I think they are about a size too big but I have no problems with them, plus I can wear socks with them a little larger. I have EEEE width. It's hard to get them on, but once on they feel fine.
Female, 5'3", 48, Starting weight: 163lbs. Current weight: 135.
Starting squat: 45lbs. Current squat: 145 x 4.