These are not technologically backward individuals. They are computer and internet savvy, well-educated, busy adults. They travel a lot, are active in their community. How had they managed to exist without the modern convenience of a phone in their pocket? I also selfishly wanted to be able to reach them whenever I desired. (In hindsight, I hadn't considered the reverse would be true also... silly me.)
My mom would say, "Honey, we just can't justify the expense!"
I'd remind her of something her own mother used to say, something that has become somewhat of a family joke. My independent on-the-go comfortably endowed widowed grandmother would say, "I can't afford to eat meat anymore!" It was her state of mind, not necessarily all bad, but there is a point when practicality precludes frugality.
Finally they decided that, yes, cell phones would be useful to them. Then it was like pulling teeth to get them to allow us to absorb the expense. Adding lines to a cell plan these days is, for me right now, such a small thing. We easily spend more than the monthly fee on one meal in a restaurant! I swear I had to beg. I can't count how many times in my younger years they helped us out financially. Surely they could let us do this one little thing for them!
The first month my stepfather made no calls and my mom made six. All of them to me.
During one of those calls she said, borderline whine, "No one ever calls me on my cell phone."
"Well, Mom, have you given your number to anyone?"
"Uh, no. Not yet."
I do so love my mother.