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Check the GS: The True Story of an Eclectic American Family and Their Wacky Family Business

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At an age when most kids are just getting rid of the training wheels on their bicycle, Ray Shasho entered into a crazy world of secret lingo and bullying sales tactics at the Chin Lung Art Gallery, his father's retail store on the corner of Thirteenth and F Street in Washington, DC. Check the Gs is the true story of how this bizarre family business changed his world foreve At an age when most kids are just getting rid of the training wheels on their bicycle, Ray Shasho entered into a crazy world of secret lingo and bullying sales tactics at the Chin Lung Art Gallery, his father's retail store on the corner of Thirteenth and F Street in Washington, DC. Check the Gs is the true story of how this bizarre family business changed his world forever. Raised by a Cuban Catholic mother and Syrian Jewish father, Shasho made his first sale at the age of six and never looked back. Life in the family business (and in the Shasho family) was never boring. From FBI interrogations to angry mobs, each new day at the Chin Lung Art Gallery brought with it new adventures. Check the Gs tells a story for everyone who is proud their family and heritage but not afraid to laugh at its many eccentricities, and for anyone who has ever worked in retail and experienced its humorous situations and misadventures.


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At an age when most kids are just getting rid of the training wheels on their bicycle, Ray Shasho entered into a crazy world of secret lingo and bullying sales tactics at the Chin Lung Art Gallery, his father's retail store on the corner of Thirteenth and F Street in Washington, DC. Check the Gs is the true story of how this bizarre family business changed his world foreve At an age when most kids are just getting rid of the training wheels on their bicycle, Ray Shasho entered into a crazy world of secret lingo and bullying sales tactics at the Chin Lung Art Gallery, his father's retail store on the corner of Thirteenth and F Street in Washington, DC. Check the Gs is the true story of how this bizarre family business changed his world forever. Raised by a Cuban Catholic mother and Syrian Jewish father, Shasho made his first sale at the age of six and never looked back. Life in the family business (and in the Shasho family) was never boring. From FBI interrogations to angry mobs, each new day at the Chin Lung Art Gallery brought with it new adventures. Check the Gs tells a story for everyone who is proud their family and heritage but not afraid to laugh at its many eccentricities, and for anyone who has ever worked in retail and experienced its humorous situations and misadventures.

45 review for Check the GS: The True Story of an Eclectic American Family and Their Wacky Family Business

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ray Shasho

    Ray Shasho has quite a memory, especially when it comes to what songs played on the radio during important times throughout his youth. Combining his nostalgic recant of Billboard’s Top 100, like some infomercial for a Time-Life Oldies CD collector’s set, along with his detailed whimsical recollections while growing up, and you have the “soundtrack ” for a truly enjoyable story called Check the Gs: The True Story of an Eclectic American Family and Their Wacky Family Business. Spiraling like a 33 r Ray Shasho has quite a memory, especially when it comes to what songs played on the radio during important times throughout his youth. Combining his nostalgic recant of Billboard’s Top 100, like some infomercial for a Time-Life Oldies CD collector’s set, along with his detailed whimsical recollections while growing up, and you have the “soundtrack ” for a truly enjoyable story called Check the Gs: The True Story of an Eclectic American Family and Their Wacky Family Business. Spiraling like a 33 rpm vinyl record around his father’s retail gift store in Washington DC, a block away from the White House, Ray began his career at the age of 6 (going on 16), when he put down the Windex and paper towels to sell a pair of shades to his first customer. “Ale-Say,”Pig Latin for “sale,” was said by the guy’s comical and secretive comments hollered around the store owned by his dad and his uncle ~ both identical twins. Between Cuban slang, Spanish, mathematical pricing algorithms, made up words, and yes, “Ig-Pay Atin-Lay,” the atmosphere in the store was as clouded with unrevealed slang to thwart customers’ understanding the pricing of merchandise as the perpetual second-hand smoke laid a fog from the owner’s cigars. What a tumultuous time in this country’s history. The babies were booming, the racial tensions post Kennedy’s and Martin Luther King’s assassinations threw the USA into a riot driven country. However the dollar had value. The store had radios, TVs, cameras, binoculars, rings and jewelry, souvenirs and “you name it” all stocked behind sparkling clean glass cabinets, with shelves higher than can be reached without a ladder and items displayed in the front window precisely as a masterpiece of jigsaw placement. Ray, raised by a Cuban Catholic mother and a Syrian Jewish father was 100% street smart. What impressed me most was when Ray was older, so did his style of writing change into a more mature written voice. For example, his early years, the first third of Check the Gs, had observations as seen through a kid’s perspective. I actually felt a kid was narrating the story in first person! Yet as Ray matured, his storytelling had more to do with his meeting all sorts of people, falling in love, but still selling gadgets, and making a PR (profit). Ray Shasho is a product of the second half of the 20th century, made in the USA from parts around the world, and within him is every trend in music, television, politics and culture contributing to his philosophical and comically analytical reflections collected in his fine book of memories. I found Check the Gs to be pure entertainment, fantastic fun and a catalyst to igniting so many memories of my own life, as I too am within a few years of Ray. So to all, I say if you have a bit of grey hair (or no hair), buy this book! It’s a great gift for your “over-the-hill” friends, or for their kids, if they are the history buffs of younger generations trying to figure out why we are the way we are. ... By Pacific Book Review

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nicole Sorkin

    Ray Shasho has quite a memory, especially when it comes to what songs played on the radio during important times throughout his youth. Combining his nostalgic recant of Billboard’s Top 100, like some infomercial for a Time-Life Oldies CD collector’s set, along with his detailed whimsical recollections while growing up, and you have the “soundtrack ” for a truly enjoyable story called "Check the Gs: The True Story of an Eclectic American Family and Their Wacky Family Business." Spiraling like a 3 Ray Shasho has quite a memory, especially when it comes to what songs played on the radio during important times throughout his youth. Combining his nostalgic recant of Billboard’s Top 100, like some infomercial for a Time-Life Oldies CD collector’s set, along with his detailed whimsical recollections while growing up, and you have the “soundtrack ” for a truly enjoyable story called "Check the Gs: The True Story of an Eclectic American Family and Their Wacky Family Business." Spiraling like a 33 rpm vinyl record around his father’s retail gift store in Washington DC, a block away from the White House, Ray began his career at the age of 6 (going on 16), when he put down the Windex and paper towels to sell a pair of shades to his first customer. “Ale-Say,” Pig Latin for “sale,” was said by the guy’s comical and secretive comments hollered around the store owned by his dad and his uncle ~ both identical twins. Between Cuban slang, Spanish, mathematical pricing algorithms, made up words, and yes, “Ig-Pay Atin-Lay,” the atmosphere in the store was as clouded with unrevealed slang to thwart customers’ understanding the pricing of merchandise as the perpetual second-hand smoke laid a fog from the owner’s cigars. What a tumultuous time in this country’s history. The babies were booming, the racial tensions post Kennedy’s and Martin Luther King’s assassinations threw the USA into a riot driven country. However the dollar had value. The store had radios, TVs, cameras, binoculars, rings and jewelry, souvenirs and “you name it” all stocked behind sparkling clean glass cabinets, with shelves higher than can be reached without a ladder and items displayed in the front window precisely as a masterpiece of jigsaw placement. Ray, raised by a Cuban Catholic mother and a Syrian Jewish father was 100% street smart. What impressed me most was when Ray was older, so did his style of writing change into a more mature written voice. For example, his early years, the first third of "Check the Gs," had observations as seen through a kid’s perspective. I actually felt a kid was narrating the story in first person! Yet as Ray matured, his storytelling had more to do with his meeting all sorts of people, falling in love, but still selling gadgets, and making a PR (profit). Ray Shasho is a product of the second half of the 20th century, made in the USA from parts around the world, and within him is every trend in music, television, politics and culture contributing to his philosophical and comically analytical reflections collected in his fine book of memories. I found "Check the Gs" to be pure entertainment, fantastic fun and a catalyst to igniting so many memories of my own life, as I too am within a few years of Ray. So to all, I say if you have a bit of grey hair (or no hair), buy this book! It’s a great gift for your “over-the-hill” friends, or for their kids, if they are the history buffs of younger generations trying to figure out why we are the way we are.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Reed Smith

    The story is about a kid from Baltimore that got dragged to work at a very early age to his fathers business in Washington DC. You journey through his personal trials and tribulations. The character is confused from being brought up in a Catholic/Jewish/Cuban/Syrian household. And on becoming streetwise at an early age in Washington DC. He has a difficult time adapting to the simple ways of being a kid- because he feels that he has been forced to become an adult at his fathers business. There is The story is about a kid from Baltimore that got dragged to work at a very early age to his fathers business in Washington DC. You journey through his personal trials and tribulations. The character is confused from being brought up in a Catholic/Jewish/Cuban/Syrian household. And on becoming streetwise at an early age in Washington DC. He has a difficult time adapting to the simple ways of being a kid- because he feels that he has been forced to become an adult at his fathers business. There is lots of craziness surrounding his fathers techniques and ideas for operating a retail store. The story is funny,mind-boggling,bizarre and reminiscent to many of our own personal trials and tribulations. I loved the story and especially the way he described the characters. The characters in the book are awesome! I recommend you buy this book, you'll love it! ~~Ilovebooks4ever

  4. 5 out of 5

    Cell

    This book was a really great read. As someone who has a very poor memory and almost no recollection of my childhood, I was impressed that Mr. Shasho could remember things so clearly. What an interesting life Mr. Shasho has led. I think "Wacky Family Business" describes the store his family ran. I'm not sure who I would recommend this book to specifically. I suppose anyone who wants to read a fascinating and funny story. I'm very glad I won this book. It's one I probably would have passed over if This book was a really great read. As someone who has a very poor memory and almost no recollection of my childhood, I was impressed that Mr. Shasho could remember things so clearly. What an interesting life Mr. Shasho has led. I think "Wacky Family Business" describes the store his family ran. I'm not sure who I would recommend this book to specifically. I suppose anyone who wants to read a fascinating and funny story. I'm very glad I won this book. It's one I probably would have passed over if I was just looking for a book, but this is a book that you should not pass up.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jason Jones

    Check the Gs is an enjoyable read about the life of Ray Shasho and his day spent in his family's retail store in Washington DC. Ray has a great memory and includes a lot of details in the book, including songs, conversations, and events that happened during his youth/young adulthood. This was a fun book to read and I really enjoyed it. What an interesting life Mr. Shasho has - now I'm curious about where his life picks up after the book ends

  6. 4 out of 5

    Judy

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I was fortunate enough to receive this book as a first read and found it to be fascinating. How many of us who are in our mid years have memories from our childhood that are as detailed, and how many of us have written them down. Part of the joy of reading "Check the Gs" was in remembering details from my own childhood - the songs, the trials and errors of growing up, the Bs instead of the Gs. I really enjoyed the book and thank you for stirring my memories.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ray Shasho

    Normalcy is a myth and anyone who tells you differently isn't very normal. "Check the Gs" is a memoir from Ray Shasho who tells of his own offbeat upbringing working in the family business art gallery, from a young age. Of Cuban and Syrian descent, he tells a very American story of coming from everything, seeing everything, walking the line of the law and much more. A fun and fast paced memoir, "Check the Gs" is a worthwhile addition to many a memoir collection. ~~ MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Check the Gs was an entertaining book about the life of Ray Shasho and the time he spent working at his family's retail store in downtown Washington DC. Ray has a great memory and includes a lot of details in the book, including songs, conversations, and events that happened during his youth/young adulthood. This was a fun book to read and I really enjoyed it. What an interesting life Mr. Shasho has - now I'm curious about where his life picks up after the book ends.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sammy Keyes

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jim Anderson

  11. 4 out of 5

    Heaven is a bookstore

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ray Shasho

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ray Shasho

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ray

  16. 4 out of 5

    Reed Smith

  17. 5 out of 5

    Drue

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ray Shasho

  19. 5 out of 5

    Barry

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sean

  21. 4 out of 5

    Laurie Bok

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kim Johnston

  23. 4 out of 5

    Stacey

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kim Coomey

  25. 4 out of 5

    Cindy Gates

  26. 4 out of 5

    Diane

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kelly W

  28. 5 out of 5

    Betsy Hover

  29. 5 out of 5

    Emmalee Miller

  30. 4 out of 5

    Cindy Murphy

  31. 4 out of 5

    Max

  32. 5 out of 5

    Emilie Titchen

  33. 5 out of 5

    Kayla Shiplet

  34. 5 out of 5

    Anna Mills

  35. 5 out of 5

    Sidra Cutts-Byrne

  36. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Zitsch

  37. 5 out of 5

    Pam

  38. 5 out of 5

    Tasha Hart

  39. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie

  40. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Rathbun

  41. 4 out of 5

    Cary Mosher

  42. 4 out of 5

    Liz

  43. 4 out of 5

    Carrie

  44. 5 out of 5

    Lanette

  45. 5 out of 5

    Kate Jordan

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