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the best-laid plans of mice and men oft go astray

Said when something ends poorly or differently than expected, despite preparations for success. The phrase is likely an adaptation of a line from 18th-century Scottish poet Robert Burns. I always thought our business would last forever. I guess it's true what they say, though, the best-laid plans of mice and men oft go astray. A: "I've been working on this project for six months, and now, right before it's due, they tell me they want something completely different." B: "That's rough. The best-laid plans of mice and men oft go astray, I suppose."
See also: and, astray, men, mice, of, oft, plan

best-laid plans of mice and men oft(en) go astray,

 and best-laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft a-gley.
Prov. Things often go wrong even though you have carefully planned what you are going to do. (The gang aft a-gley version is Scots dialect, and comes from Robert Burns' poem "To a Mouse.") Jill: I reserved a hotel room for us three weeks ago, but now the clerk says he has no record of our reservation. So much for our fun weekend in the city. Jane: Well, these things happen. The best-laid plans of mice and men oft go astray. I had all the arrangements made for my party, and then the guest of honor got sick and I had to call the whole thing off. The best-laid schemes of mice and men gang aft a-gley. If a little rain can ruin the best-laid plans of mice and men, think what an earthquake might do!
See also: and, astray, men, mice, of, oft, plan
References in periodicals archive ?
For Project Rainbow, the OFT found that, consistent with the original EU state aid agreement, RBS s plan will result in a credible small and medium-sized (SME) bank, especially for businesses with a turnover of between Au1 million and Au25 million.
Speaking in the Commons, Mr Opperman said: "We have concerns that the OFT, despite having had repeated evidence, particularly in rural Northumberland, of a lack of competition, has still failed to act.
But the OFT said its probe into the current account market has already "triggered substantial changes", with banks signing up to a raft of commitments it hopes will lead to improvements.
Ryanair Head of Communications Stephen McNamara said: "What the OFT must realise is that passengers prefer Ryanair's model.
An example given by the OFT is that if a director signing off expense claims suspects that the employee concerned is using the funds to meet competitors for anti-competitive purposes, they should take steps to enquire into that activity and stop it.
The OFT also said there had been complaints alleging "predatory behaviour" by existing bus operators to see off competition from new entrants.
An OFT statement said its had carefully assessed and consulted publicly on the proposed undertakings, as well as on the identity of the buyers in the 24 local areas that were subject to an up-front buyer provision compensation.
On 17 October 2008, Graham's The Family Dairy was advised by the OFT that the case was closed following consultation with the complainant and confirmed its view that there is no merit in continuing with its investigation.
is not made aware of the contacts between bidders, leaving it with a false impression of the level of competition and this may result in it paying inflated prices," the OFT said.
The OFT has awarded an additional GBP80,000 to Citizens Advice to assist in the delivery of the Save Xmas campaign.
The OFT said it had been monitoring the house-building market after recommendations in the government's landmark 2004 Barker housing supply review and had found cause for concern the sector was "not working well for consumers".
The OFT is a government consumer body and one of its main tasks is to make markets work well for the consumer.
The OFT joined forces with government agencies around the world for 48 hours in a coordinated assault upon scammers and spammers.
Those signing up agreed to several initiatives such as "encouraging communication and coordination between agencies to achieve efficient and effective enforcement," according to an OFT statement.