I'm glad you found a way to achieve what you wanted.
Different plugins have different defaults. WordPress Shortcodes allows you to customize heavily in many ways which is why the default styles are kept generic (and minimal) and which is why margins/paddings are not set for columns.
I can assure you that no matter which plugin you choose at some point you'll find something that doesn't look or behave the exact way you want it to.
CSS is just an easy way to customize the look of things, I'm not sure how you could stop using plugins just by using CSS.
It's worth pointing out that leaving a 1 star review to a plugin that fully works just because it didn't do the one specific thing you wanted is probably defying the purpose of having a rating system in the first place. I'll leave it up to you if you think that's a fair representation of the plugin's functionality.