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A gofer, go-fer or gopher // is an employee who specializes in the delivery of special items to their superior(s). Examples of these special items include a cup of coffee, a tailored suit, and a car. Outside of the business world, the term is used to describe a child or young adult who is learning how to do tasks and is sent to fetch items. A similar job is that of peon in Commonwealth countries.
Gofer is a linguistic simplification of the two words go + for = gofor. Gofor reflects the likelihood of instructions to go for coffee, dry cleaning, or stamps, or to make other straightforward, familiar or unfamiliar procurements. The term gofer originated in North America.
Likewise gofer may refer to a junior member of an organisation who generally receive the most vexing and thankless work. Law firms with a top-heavy management structure, having not enough junior lawyers to take care of menial yet necessary tasks, can be referred to as having "too many loafers and not enough gophers".
In popular cultureEdit
In the first season (1976) of the television series The Muppet Show, Scooter was given the stage manager job because his uncle owned the theater where the Muppets performed. The pun was that a gopher not only is an animal, like the Muppets supposedly are, but is a fast animal, collecting food and delivering it somewhere else. At some point in the Muppets series, Kermit the Frog suggested that he himself was a gofer, but probably didn't last long in the job.
In the Taxi episode "Alex the Gofer", Alex takes a part-time job as an assistant to Broadway producers.
The term gofer is used in the anime Zombie-Loan.