“This is not a feature of a healthy society. Even before the pandemic pushed things to further extremes, the primacy of consumer identity made customer-service interactions particularly conflagratory. Being corrected by a salesperson, forgotten by a bartender, or brushed off by a flight attendant isn’t just an annoyance—for many people, it is an existential threat to their self-understanding.”
I found the history in this article really interesting and also the way in which consuming has become so central to so many identities. I'm not sure it's the only reason people are awful these days, but it's probably part of it.