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In both the examples mentioned here I'm sure that type of mistake would make me smile... so maybe there is a rogue joker in the LEGO factory?
For example, here's a set I just happened to have open:
You'll notice that at the bottom of the inventory there is a section for "extra items." Some people have speculated that LEGO includes these because the parts weigh so little, but I don't think that's truly it or everyone wouldn't get the same extras. I think LEGO knows that these are the most easily lost (like 1x1 round plates) or broken (like droid arms).
I've found that these extra always match the list. I use that as a check to make sure I didn't miss a step.
I'd love to know why on earth LEGO deliberately included it in this set....
I recently got a Kingdom set and the little barrel was squashed out of shape. All the other pieces and the box were fine so I don't know what happened there.
I wasn't complaining, it had the white horse in it's own little bag on the top, somebody relised the mistake at the last minute but couldn't be bothered opening the other bag.