Meddling - I am more than willing to share my results - plus I did not claim to have come up with the results on my own - I just mentioned that it took me a while looking around on forums to find an answer.
You are definitely I nuisance though - so I am glad you mentioned that in your name.
StringJunky - that is a great method as well - however, it will not help techs who get an OEM system with a failed hard drive, and a customer who has no recovery media.
This is the solution I found - and I tested it in tonight - and it worked like a charm:
How to Get Windows 8 to clean install:
Get RWeverything @ rweverything.com
use rweverything to check your ACPI -> MSDM to find out what your key is
Replace or upgrade hard drive.
Clean Install with the SAME version that your OEM machine was installed with.
Once installed and into the OS - load an administrator CMD and use the command: slmgr /ipk [Product Key] to enter in the key you found using rweverything.
Once I did this - windows 8 automatically activated (must have checked the bios using slp3.0?) - there was no need to activate over the internet!
ALSO - You could technically replace the hard drive first, and after the clean install run rweverything (in the case you get a system with a dead hard drive). Just make sure that you install the version that came with the system!