I think it is and I have a few arm-chair theories about why, but I value the input of my fellow forumites so here goes. Guesses:
"Yes & Now" Culture. We are inundated by the "Yes" (and inadvertently "Now") message from teachers, from parents, from media, from government that if we want something bad enough, we can have it --if only we try hard enough.
Fast Food Giants. The fast food industry has such a death grip on the American consumer that they are precipitating an avalanche of craptastic emergency calls. When the appetite they encourage is not appeased, righteous anger ensues from the fry-junkies. "What do you mean Ronald McDonald can't whip up that BigMac right here, right now?!
Lack of education. The majority of the callers sound uneducated and likely on the lower rungs of our economic ladder. Perhaps we aren't teaching kids in low-budget schools the PURPOSE of the 911 Emergency Hotline. And is it me, or do we have generations of people mistaking major Corporate Policies with U.S. Law?
Do these three points combined illustrate a meta-problem for our society coincidentally highlighted through our emergency responders; a society that understands, relates to, and better cites customer service policy frequently and more passionately than their own nation's laws because they better serve their day-to-day "needs"? Are we become consumers first, Americans second? Was this always the case? Ladies & gentlemen, I'd like to order (1) Large Input with a side of Curly Fries. I have a web-code coupon, $1 off.
Man arrested for repeatedly calling 911 over McDonald's order 06/28/2009
Stupid 911 Calls montage 06/26/2009
Man calls 911 for free police ride to Lil Wayne concert 06/25/2009
Ex-911 Operator tells radio-show how panicked residents call during the holidays for instructions on how to cook a turkey, pie 06/03/2009
Man calls 911 because 28yo live-in son refuses to clean room 05/18/2009
Woman calls 911 over too few shrimp in her fried rice 04/08/2009
Woman calls 911 three times over McNugget shortage 03/04/2009
Man calls 911 because Burger King is out of lemonade 02/07/2009
Man calls 911 after Subway left sauce off sandwich 08/04/2008
Woman berates 911 Operator after taco stand refuses her a taco 05/13/2008
Drunk man calls 911 to complain about refused entry at a nightclub 02/23/2007
Woman calls 911 for date w/ cute cop following real emergency call 07/14/2006
Mother calls 911 because she can't control angry 12 year old daughter 04/13/2005
Woman calls 911 after Burger King messed up her Western Cheeseburger 03/28/2005
I'd also like to share my personal experience with an irate customer 1+ year ago who called 911 to have the police arrest me for refusing his refund.
[[Details.]] I'm in retail management, and at my place of employ we sell GreenDot VISA cards. (If you're not familiar, it is a temporary credit card that allows people to to place a cash balance on it until they receive the actual credit card in the mail.) The trouble with GreenDot VISA cards is that once the temporary account has been activated (i.e. swiped through the register card reader and sold) they CANNOT be refunded due to "security issues" *cough* (which I will not elaborate on lest I inspire the opportunists). Because of this special circumstance there is warning text on the back of the card stating refunds cannot be handled at store level --but strictly through VISA's 1-800 number, also the information is on the promotional displayer next to the cards, there is also a large bright yellow 11"x7" sign stating the same above the department, as well as 4" signs posted at each register, --on the receipt, --on the activation slip, plus the friendly reminder from the cashier that all sales are final. Apparently all of these things are not enough to warn away the "confused" shopper. Long story short, an off-duty mechanic changed his mind after leaving our store and returned to have his $30 balance refunded. (Where's Pink when I need her???) After explaining repeatedly that the register would not even allow the refund even if I didn't mind violating company & VISA policy, he became explosively angry, questioned my competence, questioned my employer, questioned the durability of our building in the "event of a fire" and stormed out leaving a stream of half-terrified staff in his wake. Approximately 20 minutes later I had to explain the preceding situation to an officer summoned to the store responding to a "theft/fraud" call. The officer was polite and patient. He made the man wait in his car in the parking lot while the discussion took place. He left shaking his head and encouraged the man to call the customer service hotline because this was not a criminal dispute.[[End details.]]