One night, Mr. Burns tells his assistant Waylon Smithers that he is considering selling the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant so he can pursue other interests. Meanwhile, unconfirmed takeover rumors boost the plant's stock, which rises for the first time in ten years. Homer learns he owns stock in the company and sells his 100 shares for 25 cents apiece to a shady stockbroker, netting $25, which he spends on beer. Soon after the sale he learns that the value of the stock has shot up to $52 per share. While Homer misses out on the windfall—he could have made $5,200—other employees make small fortunes. Two German businessmen, Hans and Fritz, learn that the plant might be for sale. They offer Burns $100 million, which he immediately accepts. Burns leaves, seeking adventure, while Smithers remains an employee at the plant.
The new owners immediately begin a thorough evaluation of the plant and its employees, their more friendly demeanor pleasing all the workers save for Homer, who worries his lax work ethic as safety inspector will cost him his job. When they interview Homer, he is unable to intelligently answer their questions and begins slipping into a fantasy about cavorting through "The Land of Chocolate". The owners announce shortly after that Homer will be the only employee fired. A depressed Homer hangs around the Simpsons' house, insisting he is a competent safety-minded worker while the rest of the family makes budget cuts until Homer can find a new job. Meanwhile, Burns is having a good time in retirement and decides to get together with Smithers for a drink. They decide to go to Moe's Tavern, where Homer has been drinking. Homer lashes out at Burns, calling him greedy ole reptile, asking him about his money and saying nobody loves him. The other bar patrons join in and taunt Burns, including Bart who stamps on Mr. Burns' foot and starts singing "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye" where everyone except Smithers joins in. Feeling humiliated, Burns and Smithers walk out of Moe's. Burns realizes that his former employees no longer fear him, concludes that only his ownership of the plant gave him power over ordinary men, and decides to buy the plant back.
The German investors, meanwhile, discover that the plant is in bad need of repairs and decide to sell before they sink too much money into it. Burns, noting their desperation to sell, offers them $50 million for the plant, and they reluctantly accept half of what they paid him. Now back in charge, Burns orders that Homer be rehired. He tells Smithers "I keep my friends close, and my enemies closer" and vows revenge on Homer at some unspecified point in the future for humiliating him at the bar. The episode ends with Homer cheering to his family that he got his job back.