Waitrose in Brighton, Asda in Hartlepool and Somerfield in Ilkeston checked in full baskets this week. Technically, Asda had the cheapest basket but it failed to charge for the mushrooms and the cheese was cheaper than the price on the label. Waitrose beat Somerfield in terms of cheapest full basket properly charged, thanks to its £1 off special on Hardys Stamp and 15% off the price of Nescafé. Our Brighton mystery shopper was "blown away" by the knowledge and politeness of Waitrose's staff. This was in contrast to the new Sainsbury concept store in Hazel Grove, Manchester, where staff were described by our shopper as "inexperienced" when questioned about products. However, our Manchester shopper's grandchildren had a great time at Sainsbury's supervised kids' zone in this clean and vibrant new store. But the chilled and fruit and veg areas were clogged with packers and their trolleys, and a rogue orange never bought appeared on the receipt. At Asda in Hartlepool the narrow aisles had shoppers bumping into each other against the flow. The Coatbridge Asda performed well but Stella Artois was out of stock. Staff at Somerfield in Ilkeston were also decribed as very helpful and shelves were well stocked, but help to pack goods was not offered. The Plymco store at Mutley Plain in Plymouth was a small store and did not have a car park nor visible trolleys. The range was also limited. However, our shopper was impressed by the courteous and helpful staff who were quick to find a trolley. Had Tesco in Caister not been out of stock on new potatoes, it would have performed well. It satisfied all our other Storewatch criteria (see overleaf) and was described by our shopper as "a small store but surprisingly good". {{GROCER 33 }}