Sorry for the confusion!
Thanks Merry Mrs Martin, I did mean "you" in general and don't see any indication that the OP would have a problem with being less connected. I've edited my original post to clarify that.
I was simply trying to expand on the overall etiquette question and say that while not having a cell phone or not giving out the number is definitely not rude, it would be rude to expect other people to go out of their way to accommodate your (general) choice to be less accessible. That means being okay with playing a lot of phone tag with someone. Or accepting the fact that you (general - throughout this paragraph) may have to take the initiative to call the doctor to get your test results because they can't leave a message (I know some offices aren't even allowed to leave a generic message specifying to call them back). And that of course may lead to having to call them multiple times because the results aren't ready yet, etc. Are any of these things impossible to do? No, of course not! Arguably they aren't even that hard to do, but I do know people who would prefer not to do them. It would be rude of them to refuse to give out their cell and then insist their insurance agent calls them only after 8 pm (unless the agent happens to keep late hours). Or to try to insist that the doctor's office just leave a message with their biopsy results on the voicemail, when it is specifically against policy/regulations.
Giving out/not giving out your cell phone number has positive and negative trade offs. It's a choice you (general) get to make, and neither choice is rude. However, expecting the rest of the world to just eliminate all of the downsides for you would be rude.
As a non-cell owner I'm still not sure I understand. Why is it any harder to leave a message on a home phone versus a cell phone, and why would more phone tag be necessary? Or are you assuming a cell user who answered his/her phone 24/7?
I'm thinking that if I had a cell, I certainly wouldn't have the ringer on at work / on the bus / in the movies / etc., so it would basically have the same # of hours of me answering it as my home phone would. So why is it more difficult and expecting someone to leave you messages considered rude?
I've never heard of doctor's offices that will only leave a message on a cell and not a home phone, though--I'm in Canada and my doctor's office leaves messages with no problems.
Oh, I didn't mean to imply that they could leave them on a cell phone, just that with a cell phone it is more likely that they could call you at a time when you could answer (like you could specify that you were available from 1-2pm because you know thats when you take your lunch, or you can tell its the doctor calling and choose to pick up at work). I've been told its for HIPPA reasons, but my doctor won't leave me messages at all. Maybe its just their office's interpretation of the law? Perhaps its a weird policy, but if I went in demanding they leave a message when its against their policy - I think that would be rude.* If you don't have a cell phone/don't use it/don't believe in answering the phone between 8 am and 8 pm/whatever, I think the onus is on you to figure out how to work around the regulation. You can't demand they change it. Or that someone stays until 9pm to call you.
For me personally, if I left my cell at home all day (equivalent of only giving out a home number since I don't actually have a land line) I would play a lot more phone tag. As in "Hello Clueless, this is Bob from company X about Y. We need to speak to you regarding Z. Please call us back." And then at sometime after 6 or 7 or 9 or later depending on the night (I don't work what one would call regular hours...) I would call and leave Bob a message, "Hello Bob, I got your message. I'm unsure what you mean by Z..." and then Bob would call back the next day, and I would call him back and what could have been taken care of in 5 minutes of talking takes 5 days of phone tag messages. I know for some people, this probably isn't the case, or other people are fine with the phone tag. And so if it's their preference they should go ahead and keep their cell numbers private.
And they are not at all rude. But if they were to call Bob back at 9pm and leave the voicemail, "Sorry, you missed me, but I'm only available from 8 pm to 5 am at this number. Please call me back during those hours." That just seems a little special snowflaky to me.
I remember when I was in high school before I could drive my mom was supposed to pick me up from swim practice. Only practice got canceled
because some college students apparently put Jell-o in the pool? So I use the pay phone to call home. Mom is not home so I just wait patiently until she comes. A teammate also tried to call home and got no answer. When his mom finally pulls up, she asks him why he was dressed, didn't we have practice. He tells her no, it was canceled he tried to call. She yells at him! "You should have called the cell!" He says he tried and left a message, she replies, "Well, I was at Peggy Sue's house and I didn't want to answer my phone. You should have called her!" He replied, "Mom, who is Peggy Sue, I don't even know her! How was I supposed to have her number" And that's about all I heard because he shut the car door then. So his mom apparently wanted to be out of touch (not answering the phone) but still get important real-time updates from him. It just doesn't work that way.
*And it would be rude even if I was demanding they leave a message for a reason other than not wanting to give out my cell number.