I don't get why you are so fixated on work and professional environments. I am not in any sort of work or non-work contract with the vast majority of the population, and neither are you. Interactions still happen.
Being rude to people sends a clear message that I'm not interested in them, their story, their reasons, and won't waste my time or effort guessing or learning those things. However they imagined this short little situation to go down was probably wrong. They can adapt by changing the way they proceed, or they can start some kind of scene.
If anything, being rude has been around since people live densely enough for it to happen. If it was so ineffective, it would have probably disappeared with the people who do it, but alas, people are still rude.