I'm currently writing a small essay for my English class and I'd like to know if this sentence would work as an idiom of improbability

You could never tell me the odds when I noticed that this small coffee shop had a "Now Hiring" sign just outside their window.

I'm trying to find an idiom to express the astonishment I had when I realised a very improbable event. (For context I was looking for a job, I went in a small coffee shop to look for offers on my phone when I realised that said coffee shop was currently hiring, and subsequently got hired.)

I tried to look up if "never tell me the odds" was a common saying, but it doesn't seem like anyone outside of the Star Wars and Reddit universe uses it regularly.

  • My advice is "don't use it". It does not make any sense. Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 16:36
  • "What a coincidence!" is an exclamatory phrase that (roughly) captures what you're going for here. Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 16:37
  • It's not an idiom.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 16:49

1 Answer 1


If you could not find much usage of "You could never tell me the odds..." then it is unlikely to be idiomatic (and it isn't).

I suggest:

What were the chances of there being a "Now Hiring" sign on the coffee shop window?

Google Ngram viewer shows:

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  • Would "Imagine my surpise when I realised..." also work in a similar sense?
    – Tom
    Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 16:45
  • Yes, that would work. Of course, my answer poses the sentence as a rhetorical question. Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 16:46

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