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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, go, 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, go, men, mice, of, oft, plan
References in periodicals archive ?
Clive Maxwell, OFT chief executive, said that with auto-enrolment already under way, the measures should be introduced "rapidly".
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.
The agreement follows an investigation into the supermarket sector by the OFT which examined concerns that shoppers could be confused by the way prices are displayed, advertised and promoted.
It is extraordinary that the OFT appears to have dismissed as irrelevant the treatment of tied pub landlords by the large pub companies.
One individual has been arrested and released on bail in connection with the case, the oft confirmed.
Millions of customers were left unable to reclaim money paid out in charges after the ruling, which deemed that the charges did not come under "unfair contract" rules, meaning they were not subject to OFT regulation.
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 said it proposed to refer the bus industry to the Competition Commission after finding evidence it was "not working as well as it should".
As a result, the OFT confirmed the merger will not now be referred to the Competition Commission.
The OFT began its investigation in June 2000 after complaints from Express Dairies--a rival company subsequently sold to the UK arm of Aria Foods in 2003.
The OFT said that personal current accounts are not working well for consumers.
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.