In the busy communities of South Korea, “can’t botherism” is a common affliction of working men and women. “Can’t botherists” simply cannot find the time in their busy days to take care of the little details of life – whether it’s taking Dad fishing, picking up the dry cleaning, or going to university classes.

Now, “instead men” and women have popped up to professionally fill in those little details of life, so many can’t be bothered with.


Companies employ up to 200 instead men and women to do anything for people who don’t have that extra hour or two to complete a task. The men and women, employed part or full time, are on standby to jump on whatever someone needs done.

Anyman, formerly a delivery service, has seen a tenfold growth since it relaunched as an instead man service in May. Customers often become reliant on the service and use it repeatedly.

“People are saying these days, ‘I want to take care of the important things in life, and give myself rest when I have free time,’” said Yoon Ju-yeol, the head of Anyman.


Professional instead men and women provide a wide range of services, including picking up cosmetics, delivering soup to sick wives, and posing as girlfriends for lonely men to present to their parents.

“I guess you could say I’ve bought almost every single item a woman would at a drug store,” instead man Cho Sang-Hee (pictured above) said. “I was once asked to fish out a dead decomposing cat from between two brick walls, and I politely declined.”

The business grew from a delivery-type service in one of Seoul’s wealthier areas, which delivered food to women in their 20’s and 30’s who didn’t want to leave their apartment. Other similar services delivered specialty foodstuff or drove drunk drivers back to their home.

As consumers became wealthier, they began to look for people to pay to do favors for them, rather than imposing on their friends. Rates start at about $4 per task and can go into the hundreds for more complicated tasks.


Rachel is a writer and tutor living in Virginia. She loves learning about other cultures and thinks we’re all a little wacky.