I've had a training partner who eventually had to move away and join a different gym. He has done 5/3/1 for almost 4 months now, made some great gains. I've read the book and Jim Wendler seems to give the trainee a good variety of ways to train using the 5/3/1 program. So yes, you're right it isn't MY experience but rather what I see and hear for myself from other people.
When I was doing SS, the reason why I stopped was my lack of recovery, I wasn't eating enough and drinking the gallon of milk. Not everyone wants to squat heavy 3x's a week, deadlift heavy 1-2x's a week either and drinking a gallon of milk won't exactly give your stomach the best feeling. I agree consistency is key, both your training and your diet. But to be honest I see a lot of people who seem to be doing fine in my gym, they have no clue what Starting Strength, 5x5, or 5/3/1 is, one thing is for sure though, they do their cardio, they have their meals planned out and they come when they're suppose to come.
At the end of the day OP, just pick and go like JFG said, nothing can beat consistency and experience over time.