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I love these 'free' bonus parts, but Lego seems to have recently changed how they allocate the extra parts. While it used to be one spare of each (expected) element per bag, it has now changed to just one spare per set. This not only reduces the number of freebie pieces you get, but it also makes it harder to use them as a double-check for errors. E.g. if you used 1x1 black tiles in bag one you will still get a spare now. If 1x1 black tiles are also used in bag 10, you now won't get an additional spare. The only problem now is that if you do have an extra 1x1 black tile after finishing bag 10, you will have to be really on the ball to know that this isn't a spare but has actually been missed out somewhere.
So I fear we will never again see the bounty of free pieces we received in Ninjago City and Ninjago Docks - surely the two biggest hauls of 'free' pieces of any Lego set. Pic below is of the bonus pieces from these sets (NC left, ND right).
I definitely remember I had spares with many (but definitely not anywhere near all) of my childhood sets. I had assumed that LEGO had always included spares in their sets. I couldn't confirm that for the early to late 90s though as I only bought one LEGO set #8880 during the years of my higher education and first years at work.
The oddest spare part I've had was a light grey 2x10 plate in the Saturn V. It shouldn't have even been in the set, but I was missing a 2x4 slope brick in the same colour.