Hechinger's Loss

Things are disappearing from Hechinger store shelves, but not for quite the right reasons.

The Largo home improvement chain, which filed for bankruptcy protection from its creditors in June, has been holding going-out-of-business sales at 89 stores, including Hechinger outlets in Gaithersburg and Temple Hills.

But the sales numbers aren't adding up. And that's because the stores being closed have "experienced an unusual rise in inventory shrink due to theft," the retailer complained in court papers filed this month.

The retailer didn't point fingers at employees, customers or others. Yet it added that it wants the court's permission to offer workers at those stores bonuses totaling as much as $414,000. The incentives, the retailer wrote, would help "to instill loyalty in and motivate employees."

-- Stephanie Stoughton

Tele-Tactics

Maybe you've shyed away from a career in cold-calling because you get cold feet before the person on the other end answers. If so, Telemarketing Boot Camp wants you.

Billed as a "no-holds-barred, hands-on lesson in conducting telemarketing campaigns," Columbia based Marketing Partners' five-hour, two-day training blitz is enlisting new recruits.

Day One of Telemarketing Boot Camp has trainees learning tactical skills like developing prospect lists, scripting, and "motivational games to keep up interest and encouragement." Day Two puts recruits "In the Trenches" to learn "role playing, individual coaching, and [yikes!] actual cold calling."

The first Tactics session will be conducted Sept. 15 at "1800 hours" [that's 6 p.m. for all you telemarketing civilians]. All participants must bring a list of 100 prospects.

-- Brian Krebs

DID YOU HEAR? . . .

"They searched the world over for a strategic partner, and it turned out the best-looking girl at the dance was right around the corner."

-- John McDonnell Jr., Transaction Network Services Inc. chief executive, after his Reston company was acquired by neighboring Internet service provider PSINet Inc. of Herndon.

Hiring Forecast

There's no slowdown in hiring expected in the Washington area, according to a fall employment forecast by Manpower Inc., the temporary services firm. One-third of a cross-section of area employers in the survey said they will add workers this fall, while 11 percent plan to cut employment and 47 percent will stand pat. The other 9 percent didn't offer a prediction. Last fall, 30 percent of employers said more help was needed.

BizNet 2000

Zanzibar on the Waterfront (700 Water St. SW) continues to host BizNet2000, a series of Monday night seminars that offer business advice and networking opportunities. Tonight's speaker will be Kojo Nnamdi, host of Howard University Television (Channel 32). Sessions are $15 per person, or $10 if in groups of five or more; hors d'oeuvres are included. For more information, call 202-554-9100.

-- Vanena Ralay