At first glance, Cheever's Books is a book lover's dream come true. Almost every category imaginable is covered, from literature to sci-fi to humor to biographies; and in each of those divisions are brand-new books intermixed with older editions, up to and including signed first editions. What's more, some of the books on display are rarities themselves-- some titles out of print, others that were barely ever in print to begin with.
Unfortunately, the experience ends here. Try and actually do business with the owner of Cheever's and you're setting yourself up for disappointment at best and a creepy, potentially scary experience at worst.
The first clue to the owner's mindset is the sign regarding his shoplifting policy. Many small businesses have signs humorously threatening violence against shoplifters or trespassers. Cheever's is the first small business I've encountered that instead has a photo of a bullet-riddled corpse prominently mounted near the door, the dead, wide-open eyes staring blankly into space as a warning against shoplifters. To be fair, the photo is in black and white, and appears to be a newspaper photograph from the days when it wasn't unusual to see a shot-up gangster or outlaw splashed across the front page; but it's still a somewhat disturbing site in a quaint little used bookstore, and serves as a window into the owner's mindset.
Recently my wife and I went to Cheever's and she attempted to make a purchase. When the owner gave her the price she offered him her debit card; he refused to take it, and only offered her what I can only describe as a creepy look, just staring at her with something between a scowl and a leer. When she asked if he didn't accept debit cards, he only sarcastically repeated the price of the book and continued staring at her. It was at this point that we realized the price must be below some minimum debit purchase price. Again, I've shopped at many small businesses, and it isn't unusual for them not to accept debit transactions below a certain dollar amount. I understand this; I'd have understood if the owner had simply informed us of this, or if there'd been a sign by the register saying so. Instead, he tried to get into an argument with a woman some thirty years his junior. When we informed him we didn't have any cash, his manner became even more hostile and he (again sarcastically) repeated, ""Don't have any cash!"" It was at this point we made a quick exit from the store.
I'm sure that Cheevers does fine business with many customers, since they appear to be thriving and have a rotation of new and used books coming in. Just come with cash-in-hand and a readiness to tolerate incredible creepiness at best and outright hostility at worst. Or, you can go to the Half-Price-Books about a black away, which also has a considerable rare book section; they seem to be doing even better business. I can't imagine why.