a fool's errand

fool's errand

A task that has little to no chance of being successful or beneficial. Giving the baby a bath before he eats spaghetti is a fool's errand.
See also: errand

a ˌfool’s ˈerrand

a journey, task, etc. that is a waste of time because it was not necessary: Are you sending me on a fool’s errand again? The last time you sent me to get tickets, the play wasn’t even on.
An errand is a job that you do for somebody that involves going somewhere to take a message, to buy something, etc.
See also: errand
References in classic literature ?
Their disappointment, therefore, may easily be conceived, when they learned that their warlike attack upon Astoria had been forestalled by a snug commercial arrangement; that their anticipated booty had become British property in the regular course of traffic, and that all this had been effected by the very Company which had been instrumental in getting them sent on what they now stigmatized as a fool's errand.
I do not know why I had an inkling that it would appeal to Strickland's sense of humour to bring a furious stockbroker over to Paris on a fool's errand to an ill-famed house in a mean street.
But it ended in nothing, and I will not be sent on a fool's errand again.
It struck him at once that Philip had been sent for, and he was amused that he had been brought on a fool's errand.
Take my advice then, and do not go travelling about for long so far from home, nor leave your property with such dangerous people in your house; they will eat up everything you have among them, and you will have been on a fool's errand.
Sorry to bring you out on such a fool's errand, Watson," he said at last.
It was the cheapest shot in the game; the dear ones were sending old Theobald to Southampton on a fool's errand yesterday afternoon, and showing one's own nose down Regent Street in broad daylight while he was gone; but some things are worth paying for, and certain risks one must always take.
The older you get, the more you realise what a fool's errand much of that is.
This journey was often considered to be an old expression of sending someone on a fool's errand, thereby signifying that this could have been the origin of the essence of the April Fool's Day.
Nation-building in a land of tribes and warlords, with no cultural tradition of central authority, was a fool's errand.
When it comes to the shutdown that's going on, I heard just before I came some senator from Arizona, uh, a guy that liked Gaddafi before he wanted to bomb him, a guy that liked Mubarak before he wanted him out, a guy that's been to Syria and supported Al-Qaeda and rebels, but he was saying today the shutdown has been a fool's errand," Gohmert said.
This short-term tinkering is therefore a fool's errand.
The "regeneration" has become a monument to sheer incompetence and I urge Ray Mallon and the Labour councillors who backed this to now pursue an alternative path, one which will no longer leave residents fearful for their futures and herald an end to the complete waste of much-needed public money in a fool's errand which has left the ward desolated.
Predicting political races is a fool's errand - remember "Dewey Defeats Truman"?
Peter Collins reviews Garcon Brasserie 7 Terry Walton is sent on a fool's errand on the allotments.