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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). The special items may be anything from a cup of coffee to a tailored suit or a car. Outside business 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".
Example from TV
One early reference to the term gofer as an occupation was made in Season 1 (1976) of the television series The Muppet Show when Scooter was given the 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.
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