The episode opens with Quark trying to persuade one of his best waitresses to provide sexual favors for him. Rom rushes in to declare that, while trying to contact their mother, Ishka, he has lost contact with their home planet of Feringinar. When they go and explain the situation to Captain Sisko, sensors pick up an incoming ship which turns out to carry both Grand Nagus Zek and Ishka.
The Nagus explains that by changing the Ferengi Bill of Opportunities to allow women to wear clothes, he has caused planet-wide upheaval and has been replaced by Former Liquidator Brunt who will be officially installed by the commission at its next meeting.
Quark, Rom and Nog contact over 400 of the Ferengi commissioners to come to DS9 to meet and talk about the situation. Only one commissioner agrees. Brunt finds out about the upcoming meeting and arrives on the station to torment Quark and thwart his plans. After standing up to Brunt and throwing him out of the bar, Quark and his mother return to Quark's quarters. They get into a shouting match that causes her to suffer a heart attack, and Dr. Bashir performs a transplant. Without Ishka to stand up and speak for herself at the meeting, Quark has Dr. Bashir perform a sex change operation in order to pose as a female named Lumba to try and fool the commissioner.
Over dinner Quark/Lumba has to fend off the advances of the commissioner while explaining the benefits of the increase in the workforce and consumer base that Ferengi females would bring. Once in the commissioner's room, the commissioner goes into full assault, chasing Quark around the apartment. Finally Brunt bursts in and tries to unmask Lumba as an impostor and a male. This fails when "she" removes her dress, revealing her female anatomy to Brunt and the commissioner. Convinced, the commissioner pledges his support for Zek. Later Quark's sex change is reversed and Zek and Ishka leave the station anticipating Zek's restoration as Grand Nagus. Quark, still experiencing the hormonal fluctuations from the sex change, apologizes to the waitress he harassed at the start of the episode and gives her a raise.