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I think you answered your own question ;-)
If they ever get around to a more hyper-sensitve method of ensuring that all parts are indeed included in the set, we'll probably see those extra pieces go away.
True story: when I opened my UCS Sandcrawler, I was missing one of the large gray panels that are used to make the storage boxes. In its place was an extra black engine piece. As the two pieces probably weigh the same, the detection-by-weight machines gave the bag a pass, so I received an incorrect parts count. One call to LEGO resolved the problem, of course, but it just goes to show that these things can and do happen with the assembly process LEGO uses at the plant.
i new you would ask me that after i just put all the extra pieces away. i pulled them out and i think its based on the piece, the one piece that i can see is similar between the sets (the piece they turn into a gun on the fronts) has a spare in all 3 sets.
thats so true, i had that happen the other day and luckily it was 2 easy pieces that went on without having to remove anything
And there are times where these pieces don't go anywhere and you spends days checking the instructions for them. I've had that happen with Orthanc and the Kiwi-E-Mart. I'm about 99% sure I've not missed anything in Orthanc, but still checking the Kiwi-E-Mart.