I've always wondered this, but it always slipped my mind to ask. It's not a really big deal, but do the parts counts printed on the packaging or listed in databases and catalogues include extra pieces, such as small 1X1 studs included as "replacement" parts in case the originals are misplaced? I think I might have counted through a small set before as a kid to find out, but I don't remember the result.
Also, a second but related question. LEGO packaging differs depending on the regional markets in which it is sold- in the United States and generally-English speaking markets, the boxes seem to have more text - for example, the name of the set in English and other languages such as French and Spanish, as well as the piece count I've mentioned earlier.
Here in Singapore, the boxes feature a lot less text. I assume this is to ease the language barrier associated with foreign markets. Some information, such as customer service addresses and choking hazard warnings, are printed in a wide variety of languages, as well as some of the text in the instructional booklets enclosed - ultimately, I do prefer owning boxes with piece counts and set names printed on them, or with designs such as the "30th Anniversary of A New Hope", "10th Anniversary Edition" and "30th Anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back" designs.
Why not just print the basic information on every box in every market? Many people buy Japanese toys, even when there is not a shred of English on the packaging, for example - with a product like LEGO, language should be little barrier, but especially with licensed sets, the properties (films such as the Star Wars and Indiana Jones ones, comic books such as the Batman ones) are and were originally available in English. It's like when I buy an imported Japanese snack in a local grocery store, there's a small sticker with the name of the product, ingredients list, name of the import/distribution company etc pasted onto the packaging, which is completely in Japanese otherwise. I've seen done with toys (such as Mattel and Hasbro action figures, in predominantly non-English-language speaking countries such as China) as well.
Also, has LEGO ever put short blurbs or descriptions on its packaging, like Hasbro does with their action figures? I do think it would be nice to include the blurbs that can be read on the Shop At Home website somewhere on the box, or even within the instructional booklet. Hope this can be clarified, and thanks for reading this query.