This story is about a group of yellow bird-like creatures called the Sneetches. Some Sneetches have a star on their bellies and some do not. At the beginning of the story, Sneetches with stars don't want to mix with Sneetches who have no star.
An entrepreneur named Sylvester McMonkey McBean then offers the Sneetches without stars the chance to
get a star with his Star-On machine, if they pay three dollars. This works very well, but it upsets the original star-bellied Sneetches, because they lose their special star-bellied status. So McBean then tells them about his Star-Off machine, which costs ten dollars. So, to remain special, the Sneetches who originally had stars happily pay the money to have the stars removed. However, McBean then allows the recently starred Sneetches through this machine as well. This then causes great confusion, with the Sneetches running from one machine to the next. The confusion continues until the Sneetches are penniless, and McBean leaves with all the money.
Despite McBean's belief that "you can't teach a Sneetch", the Sneetches learn from this experience that neither plain-belly nor star-belly Sneetches are superior, and they can become friends after all.